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Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Calling Me Home

Historical Fiction   Debuts of the Month   Family Drama   Literary Fiction   Reading Groups   eBook Favourites   
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Selected by Sarah Broadhurst

July 2013 Debut of the Month.

A stunning and moving debut of forbidden love. Inspired by the experiences of the author’s grandmother, Calling Me Home sees privileged white 16 year old Isabelle fall for her black housekeeper’s son in racist segregated 1930’s Kentucky. The doomed relationship has consequences that ricochet down the decades. Perfect for reading groups and fans of The Help.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Calling Me Home a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'I didn't so much read Calling Me Home as devour it in less than a day, so powerful was its hold. I'd defy anyone not to be moved to tears by Isabelle's story...a perfect read.' - Linda Hill. Scroll down to read more reviews.

If you like Julie Kibler you might also like to read books by Alice Walker, Kathryn Stockett and Sue Monk Kidd.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Love doesn't play by the rules ...Shalerville, Kentucky, 1939. A world where black maids and handymen are trusted to raise white children and tend to white houses, but from which they are banished after dark. Sixteen-year-old Isabelle McAllister, born into wealth and privilege, finds her ordered life turned upside down when she becomes attracted to Robert, the ambitious black son of her family's housekeeper. Before long Isabelle and Robert are crossing extraordinary, dangerous boundaries and falling deeply in love. Many years later, eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle will travel from her home in Arlington, Texas, to Ohio for a funeral. With Isabelle is her hairstylist and friend, Dorrie Curtis -- a black single mother with her own problems. Along the way, Isabelle will finally reveal to Dorrie the truth of her painful past: a tale of forbidden love, the consequences of which will resound for decades ...'If Julie Kibler's novel Calling Me Home were a young woman, her grandmother would be To Kill a Mockingbird, her sister would be The Help and her cousin would be The Notebook. But even with such iconic relatives, Calling Me Home stands on her own' Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home 'Julie Kibler's writing is so wise and assured. I laughed out loud in places and had tears in my eyes as I turned the last page' Diane Chamberlain


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review Calling Me Home. You can read their reviews below.

Linda Hill - ''Calling Me Home' is a wonderful, wonderful book...I'd defy anyone not to be moved to tears by Isabelle's story...a beautiful book and a perfect read.' Click here to read the full review.

Teresa Majury - Lovely Treez Reads - - 'Calling Me Home is a remarkable debut novel, a story which will draw you in and lead you on an emotionally fraught journey from a racially divided 1930s Kentucky to the "supposedly" more liberal present day.' Click here to read the full review.

Siobhan McDowell -
'Calling Me Home was a tremendous read with lively and engrossing characters...although the themes covered were heart-breaking I came away with a feeling of satisfaction.' Click here to read the full review.

Marie Fitzgerald -
'This novel is a perfect example of how the best writing is that which is done from experience...I loved this book and would highly recommend it as a must read of 2013.' Click here to read the full review.

Catherine Burman - 'I absolutely loved this book. In spite of my efforts to savour it by reading it slowly I couldn't put it down!... A wonderful book, beautifully written, a must read.' Click here to read the full review.

Emma Caddick -
'‘Calling Me Home’ is a story of redemption. A story of segregation, separation, loss, and love in the face of all the’s a summer holiday ‘must read’.' Click here to read the full review.

Suzanne Marsh
– - 'A Splendid novel! Readers must put Calling Me Home on your wish list to read for 2013. Awards are calling out for this page turning novel.' Click here to red the full review.

Lynda DeFreitas
- 'This is an emotionally charged book that features the harsh realities of pre-war USA with undertones that are still evident today.' Click here to read the full review.

Francesca Ashurst
- 'Julie Kibler has written a debut novel which is haunting, tender, funny and heartbreakingly sad...I really loved this novel.' Click here to read the full review.

Sue Broom
- 'Prepare for your heart to be broken. A desperately sad story, made more poignant when you realise it was inspired by events in Julie Kibler’s own grandmother’s life in 1930s Kentucky.' Click here to read the full review.

Joan Hill
- 'Calling Me Home’ is an astoundingly powerful, moving and informative debut novel, based on a true story and introducing an exciting new talent in Julie Kibler...Please read it, it's an absolute stunner and certainly one not to be missed.' Click here to read the full review.

Richard Hamlin
- Calling Me Home will be a huge success and deservedly so...Quite simply this is a stunning literary debut; a flowing well paced narrative with fully rounded characters and an ending that reaches out and touches the reader.' Click here to read the full review.

Julie Bertschin
- 'Calling Me Home is a poignant reminder of the segregation and racial discrimination that blighted American society during the 1930's and how it still has resonance today...The plot slowly unravels yet keeps the reader gripped throughout. I loved this story and would thoroughly recommend it.' Click here to read the full review.

About the Author

Julie Kibler began writing Calling Me Home after learning a bit of family lore: as a young woman, her grandmother fell in love with a young black man in an era and locale that made the relationship impossible. When not writing, she enjoys travel, independent films, music, photography, and corralling her teenagers and rescue dogs. She lives in Arlington, Texas. Calling Me Home is her debut novel.

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Book Info

Publication date

20th June 2013


Julie Kibler

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Pan Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan


336 pages
Interest Age: From 18 years


Historical Fiction
Debuts of the Month
Family Drama
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites




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