Since its hardcover release, it was also selected as an Indie Next and SIBA Okra pick.
Original Dew Review Below:
Calling Me Home
Author: Julie Kibler
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (February 12, 2013)
Sixteen-year-old Isabelle McAllister longs to escape the confines of her northern Kentucky hometown, but after her family's housekeeper's son rescues her from a Newport drunk, the boundaries seem smaller than ever.
Falling for a black boy in late 1930s Kentucky isn't just illegal, it's dangerous. Signs at the city limits warn Negroes, “Don’t let the sun set on you here.” Despite repeated warnings, Isabelle and Robert disregard the racial divide, starting a chain of events that threatens jobs, lives, and generations to come.
Decades later, black hairstylist Dorrie Curtis agrees to drive her elderly white client cross-country to a funeral. Over the years, Miss Isabelle has become more than just a customer, but the timing couldn't be worse. First, Dorrie's seeing a man she's afraid she could fall for, but one thing is more obvious than ever: Trust is not her strong suit. Second, she knows her teenager's in big trouble; he just hasn’t told her yet.
When a phone call from home confirms Dorrie's fears, Miss Isabelle's tale of forbidden love illuminates Dorrie’s dilemma, merging the past and present in a journey with unexpected detours and a bittersweet destination.
This is a heartwrenching story of love, loss, misunderstandings and straight out lies that combine to form a young girl's entire life. I want to be careful to not to give away any great secrets that pop out during the telling of the story, surprising and causing sorrow to the reader. As you saw from the description, it's also a story of strong racial prejudice and outright hatred.
Dorrie and Isabelle take a road trip of a 1,000 miles or so. Along the way the story of Isabelle's young life and the choices that she made come out into the open. Dorrie, who has been struggling with her own issues, comes to realize that perhaps hers aren't quite as horrible as she first thought, when compared to what others have dealt with.
At the end of the book, when so many hidden secrets and lies come pouring out, it makes one realize how a cover should never be the judgement of a book and also, perhaps things should just be let to fall as they will, without everyone trying to do their best to "guide things in the proper way."
This is a debut novel and I have to say that I am impressed and definitely recommend it.