Calling me home
By Julie Kibler

A soaring debut interweaving the story of a heartbreaking, forbidden love in 1930s Kentucky with an unlikely modern-day friendship


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 near Cincinnati. With no clear explanation why. Tomorrow.

Curious whether she can unlock the secrets of Isabelle's guarded past, Dorrie 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 thoughts

Last year, December 2015, I got this book as a gift from my neighbor and I am so very happy she got this for me. Almost everyone gives me vouchers for books which is perfect but my neighbor thought to just give me a book instead. This book is truly amazing. I am lending it out to her as we speak cause she needs to read it as well!

First of all, I read it in Dutch, my native language (which you probably already guessed because of the way I write English). Anyways, I read it in Dutch and it was a good translation, as far as I can tell. As you may have seen on my instagram account, I just got this amazing journal specifically made for book lovers! It's a book review book if you will. My first entry is about this book, Calling me home by Julie Kibler.

I thought the book was well written, it's easy to read and after a view pages it is hard to stop reading. I read the entire thing in a few hours and it is still haunting me (in a good way!). It's a beautiful love story, a true love love story, about an impossible love! It's written very sensitive if you know what I mean. Nice details. Very delicate somehow.

I really liked the flashbacks and the short chapters. This way you keep wanting to know more about both stories, Dorrie's and Isabbele's. I think because the chapters are very short, it's easier to read, especially for the ones who don't like to read that much! The book really leaves an impression, not only about racism but also about the unconditional love and the strength and bravery of individuals everywhere. It's also a big eye opener, especially if you have never dealt with racism in your life. You may have read about it, know what it is and you may even have seen it in your environment. But this book gives you an insight in what it must have been like, and maybe still is, for people to deal with racism on a daily basis. Even having to adjust your life and ways to other people's judgment. It's in sain that some have to.

But it's definitely not all about racism, in my opinion the main focus is about love. Racism is a part of their story, but the focus is definitely on love. And that is what I liked about it. It gives you hope in love, especially when you may have given up on it.

To sum up, this book sends a message, about love that despite of everything still lives on. About the view of colored persons in a racist world and time. The ending, I thought, was really shocking, but good. I feel this is a feel good book, even though it made me cry. I felt good after reading it. I recommend this book to everyone!

About Julie Kibler

Julie Kibler began writing Calling Me Home after learning a bit of family lore: As a teen, her paternal grandmother fell in love with a young black man, but their families tore them apart. Then, while digging into the past, she discovered her father’s hometown had signs at the city limits warning blacks to be gone by sundown.

Julie grew up in various towns in Kentucky, New Mexico, and Colorado, then moved to Texas to attend college and stayed because even the strangers were friendly. Aside from writing, she is a freelance editor and tries to keep up with her family and a couple of shelter dogs who don't always appreciate their rescue. She enjoys reading, indie films, folk music, photography and splitting chocolatey desserts with her husband, an engineer who doesn't understand writers, but understands chocolate.

She is currently writing her next novel. Her short memoir, "Final Sale on tires," a true story about her relationship with her other grandmother, appeared in Perigee (Issue 21, July 2008).