Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

I have been wanting to read this book for so long. I first heard about it through Julie's facebook page and of course the American edition was published first. Now at last book lovers in the UK and Ireland will be able to get their hands on a copy as it is published by Pan on 20th June 2012. Calling Me Home is being compared to The Help and while there are similarities I feel that if anything Calling Me Home is a better book dealing as it does with the harsh realities of the racial divide in 1930s America. The plot of the novel was inspired by real events in the life of Julie's grandmother; who fell in love with a black man when she was a teenager only to have their families separate them. Julie also discovered that her father's home town had a sign warning black people to be gone before sundown. The novel features two strong female characters Dorrie Curtis a feisty black hairdresser raising a family alone and afraid to let the new man in her life get too close and Miss Isabelle her rather cantankerous client a ninety year old lady living alone, They make unlikely friends but over the years that is what they have become, so when Miss Isabelle needs someone to drive her from Texas back to Kentucky for a funeral it is to Dorrie that she turns. Over the course of their journey Isabelle reveals the story of her youth, her passionate love for a young black man and how dangerous it was it that time of bigotry, hatred and fear. I don't want to give away too much of Isabelle's story suffice to say there is love, there is heartbreak and there is finally peace. This fantastic story is told in such an elegant and talented writing style, Julie Kibler is a born storyteller. Don't let this one pass you by.
Thanks to Sophie Orme from Mantle Books at Pan Macmillan for sending me a proof copy of the book

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