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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Calling Me Home

calling me home

​​By Julie Kibler

ISBN-13: 9781250020437

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication date: 1/7/2014

My Rating: 5 Stars

Top Books of 2014 In the debut novel, eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a favor to ask her hairdresser Dorrie Curtis. It's a big one. Isabelle wants Dorrie, a black single mom in her thirties, to drop everything to drive Isabelle from her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. With no clear explanation why. Tomorrow.

Curious whether she can unlock the secrets of Isabelle's guarded past, she agrees, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives.Over the years, Dorrie and Isabelle have developed more than just a business relationship. They are friends. But Dorrie, fretting over the new man in her life and her teenage son’s irresponsible choices, still wonders why Isabelle chose her.

Isabelle confesses that, as a willful teen in 1930s Kentucky, she fell deeply in love with Robert Prewitt, a would-be doctor and the black son of her family's housekeeper—in a town where blacks weren’t allowed after dark. The tale of their forbidden relationship and its tragic consequences makes it clear Dorrie and Isabelle are headed for a gathering of the utmost importance and that the history of Isabelle's first and greatest love just might help Dorrie find her own way.

My Review

A poignant, debut novel – a winner out of the gate, filled with careful description and skillfully woven!

A vivid, engaging first book with strong characters, dramatic storytelling, which should establish Julie Kibler as a strong novelist. She most definitely possesses a gift of telling a tragic story, in an entertaining way with an inspiring takeaway of friendship and love. (She has just been added to my favorite author list, and so look forward to following this author)!

A complex and compelling portrait of the painful intricacies of love, loyalty, discrimination, and racial tensions. An insightful story of two women caught between their hearts, families, and their future.

Calling Me Home is no ordinary love story; however, a book of astonishing precision from past to present, from one younger black woman and an older white woman; raw, painful, beautiful feelings told in honesty, unfolding precisely and eloquently, during this long road trip between friends of two different eras and color.

The real magic of the book was the subject matter of two families (black/white) trying to survive in an era in which men and women found themselves bound by strict constraints, dictated by society and ignorance. A heart felt story and forbidden love of two people –fighting for a life they so deserve – a fearless, heart wrenching story about the power of true love and friendship.

There was much depth and power to this relationship between Robert/Isabelle; a timeless love derailed by others, secrets, and an era which did not accept this sort of relationship between a man and woman. A complex tapestry of lives intertwined, a compassionate story of those who are destroyed by love by secrets and betrayal.

There is warmth and love, even with such painful subjects, as the bond these two women share, not bound by blood, but by a friendship which changes Dottie’s life and her future, is remarkable – a portrait of resilience told with clarity and painful precision, probing the dark history of Isabelle’s past with a few surprises readers will love before it ends, making you smile.

An emotionally charged, absorbing novel about friends, lovers, secrets, and families. Kibler’s sensitive and gripping examination of a family’s past is engaging from the beginning and gets better with every chapter, with unforgettable characters.

Eloquently told and making it more special, the author’s insight into the subject matter from her family’s history. A powerful and memorable story you will not soon forget. Ideal for book clubs and discussions - A winner!!

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About the Author

Julie Kibler is the bestselling author of Home for Erring and Outcast Girls and Calling Me Home, which was an IndieNext List pick, Target Club Pick, and Ladies’ Home Journal Book Club Pick, published in fifteen languages. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism and a master’s degree in library science and lives with her family, including four rescued dogs and cats, in Texas. Website






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