Monday, February 18, 2013

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

5 Star

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 her from her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. With no clear explanation why. Tomorrow.

Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own and curious whether she can unlock the secrets of Isabelle's guarded past, scarcely hesitates before agreeing, 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.

Lydia - 5 Star

I loved this book. A novel about friendship, love and acceptance, Calling Me Home is a riveting read that took me just a few sittings to devour. Interweaving a present day road trip between an unlikely pair, and a love story that from decades ago, Calling Me Home blends a forbidden love story, social commentary and unique friendships during an unusual and intriguing road trip.

Calling Me Home tugged at my heart strings. I loved the relationship between Isabelle and her hairdresser, now friend, Dorrie. I appreciated how much Dorrie learns from Isabelle on the sudden and unusual road trip Isabelle requested. I loved that their relationship was so unique and thought it made for a fabulous read. Friendship, like love, can transcend boundaries and limits imposed by society. We all have commonalities and can learn something from one another regardless of race, gender, or generation gaps, and Calling Me Home portrays this magnificently.

I loved how Isabelle gradually opens up and confides her story of love, heartbreak and tragedy during their road trip in bits and pieces. I thought the weaving of Isabelle’s story and the present day was executed perfectly and the gradual reveal over the course of the novel kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering what exactly had happened to Isabelle.  At no time could I figure it out. The ending even took me by surprise.  Dorrie’s present day story also had me wondering the entire time. I loved the relationship Dorrie had with her kids, particularly her son and how she handles a crisis came across as real and relatable to me. As did the entire story. I felt like I was sitting in the backseat of the Cadillac as these two women barreled down the highway and memory lane.

Calling Me Home will definitely stay with me. I laughed, I cried, I thought how fortunate I have been in my life, and wondered what I would do in both Izzie and Dorrie’s circumstances. Pick this one up if you’re looking for a fantastic read about friendship and love. This would make a fantastic book club pick!

Thank you to St Martin's Press for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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