“The heart is a demanding tenant; it frequently makes a strong argument against common sense.”
Julie Kibler, CALLING ME HOME
CALLING ME HOME by Julie Kibler was published in February and is 336 pages. I purchased a copy because I am drawn to historical novels that explore cross-cultural relationships, and because Julie Kibler is a dear person. I can’t adequately tell you how much this book moved me.
Set in the present day and in the 1930s and 40s, CALLING ME HOME is the tragic story of a young woman from a white Kentucky family who falls in love with the black son of her family housekeeper. Raised almost side by side with Robert, Isabelle can’t help her feelings for this young man who saves her from a terrible situation, engages her intellectually, and stirs her heart. As much as he cautions her, he too falls in love, and they risk everything to be together.
In the present day and without much explanation, Isabelle asks her young black hairdresser to accompany her to a funeral in Cincinnati. Dorrie agrees, in spite of her own family troubles, and along the way Isabelle tells her ill-fated love story. At the funeral, secrets from the past are unearthed and affect all involved.
I thought I knew what happened in Isabelle’s past, and I was shaken and moved when all I’d predicted was not as it seemed. The family relationships in this novel run wider and deeper than blood, and themes of regret and loss are prevalent. In spite of the pain the reader will experience with these memorable characters, every step of the journey is well worth taking, and the messages of redemption resonate.
Fans of THE HELP will absolutely love this novel, and it would make a great book club selection. I wanted to talk to someone about character choices as soon as I finished, and this cast will linger with me long after I’ve closed the pages. I highly recommend CALLING ME HOME.