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Calling Me Home: A Novel Paperback – January 7, 2014
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"You'd never guess that "Calling Me Home" is a debut novel, Julie Kibler's writing is so wise and assured. Although the two strong women she's created come from completely different backgrounds, the bond that grows between them is extraordinary, touching and believable. I laughed out loud in places and had tears in my eyes as I turned the last page. I can't wait to watch Julie Kibler's star rise!" -"New York Times" bestselling author Diane Chamberlain
"Clear your schedule before you open up this thoroughly engaging book. CALLING ME HOME is a story about love in its many incarnations--in romance, friendships, and families; loves lost, and love regained. Kibler illuminates racial tensions many of us don't realize still exist in this country, and shows how small acts of faith can make big inroads to acceptance. I closed the final page with a smile and a tear, humbled and eager to embrace life." - Margaret Dilloway, author of "How to Be an American Housewife"
"Pop some corn and grab a hankie before you start CALLING ME HOME because you won't want to put it down until you come to the end of this true journey of the heart." - Carleen Brice, author of "Orange Mint and Honey"
""Calling Me Home" is a tenderly wrought story of love and secrets, heartbreak and healing, and the remarkable power of friendship to heal two women who find each other across the lines of time, generation, and race. Julie Kibler has written an original and moving debut novel that will linger with you for a long, long time." --Barbara O'Neal, "The Garden of Happy Endings"
"Julie Kibler grabbed me on the very first page and didn't let go...What a marvel of a debut novel. Black and white, young and old, searching and missing and finding in each other a special understanding, companionship, and love, these characters are real and addictive. "Calling Me Home" was keenly conceived, impeccably plotted, and beautifully written." -Barbara Delinsky, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Escape and
About the Author
JULIE KIBLER began writing Calling Me Home after learning a bit of family lore: as a young woman, her grandmother fell in love with a young black man in an era and locale that made the relationship impossible. When not writing, she enjoys travel, independent films, music, photography, and corralling her teenagers and rescue dogs. She lives in Arlington, Texas. Calling Me Home is her debut.
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Of course, not every book that tackles interracial romance and segregation will make a profound impact on me. It all depends on the author’s delivery of said premise, and in this case, I couldn’t be more impressed with the way the author presented her story and characters. The tale follows a road trip where an 80 year old Isabelle is heading to a funeral with Dorrie, her 30 something year old hairdresser. Over the years, Dorrie and Isabelle’s relationship has gone from employer/employee to dear friends, yet there’s always this cloak of mystery that surrounds Isabelle that Dorrie can’t figure out.
And even with Dorrie experiencing her own troubles with her boyfriend and children, she still embarks on this road trip with Isabelle, realizing that her old friend will need her for support. Along the way, it warmed my heart to witness the friendship dynamic between the two, from arguing about the pettiest things to confessing hidden secrets, the biggest one being Isabelle’s romance with Robert, the black son of her family’s housekeeper and her one true love, and the consequences that arose because such an interracial relationship was forbidden.
From there, the author alternates between past/present scenes, with Isabelle being the narrator in the past and Dorrie in the present. This way, both women are given an equal voice and keeps the story balanced and me invested. As Isabelle’s tale is unveiled chapter by chapter, I got stomach butterflies while I read about her sweet and tender romance with Robert but also felt the unbearable heartbreak when the inevitable happened. The fact that the story is set during World War II also heightens the pure desperation, the longing and love these two experience.
One word can’t really describe the range of emotions I felt while reading this story. From the beginning and little by little, I could sense my heart splintering in pieces while outwardly maintaining a calm appearance. Gradually, my throat was painfully clogged up, eyes welled with unshed tears, and mouth slightly quivering. It seemed like with each new obstacle uncovered in the story, a heavy weight would be dropped onto my heart until it completely crushed three quarters into the story and I could not stop sobbing after that point. And when I got to the very end, I closed the book feeling three distinct emotions: sadness, contentment, and determination. Immense sadness for all the injustice the characters suffered and their jagged pain. Content because the story came full circle and left me with a teary smile on my face. And determination to not let the mistakes in the story be repeated in the present, at least not by me, and to bring more awareness to the topics explored in the book because sadly, they still permeate society today.
Everyone needs to read this book. Love is love, regardless of race, gender, age, and background.
Calling Me Home is a part women’s fiction, part romance, part historical fiction standalone.
Isabelle to return home. A painful reminder of our ugly racial history, that Julie Kibler tells, with honesty.
I will take this story with me.
Ms. Kibler's characters were so clearly portrayed, I felt a closeness to them right from the beginning. This is a story about relationships, heartache, and the effects of intolerance on those who are simply trying to live a life filled with happiness, fulfilling love, and satisfying family relationships.
So many of us take those characteristics for granted. You will no longer do so once you've met Calling Me Home's extraordinary people.
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