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Calling Me Home

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4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  9,798 ratings  ·  1,888 reviews
A National Best Seller!

Calling Me Homeby Julie Kibler is asoaring debut interweavingthe story of a heartbreaking, forbidden love in 1930s Kentucky with an unlikely modern-day friendship

Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllisterhas 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 dri...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by St. Martin's Press (first published August 20th 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Julie Kibler
Dec 18, 2012 Julie Kibler rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I hope you enjoy Calling Me Home! Thank you for reading and spreading the word if you like it!
Jessica Jeffers
What a pleasant surprise this book was. It's the kind of book that makes me miss working in a bookstore because it would be such an easy recommendation to make to customers. It's good, engaging and well-written, and it's got a clear audience who will eat it up.

One part The Help, one part Water for Elephants, this compelling debut novel is the story of two women travelling from Arlington to Cincinnati for a funeral. Isabelle is 89 and unable to make the trip alone so she asks Dorrie, her African...more
Kellie Gilbert
Extraordinary story of forbidden love that will tear your heart in bits, then skillfully weave the pieces back together. One of the best novels I've read in a long while!
Lisa B.
My Thoughts

Not many stories make me cry, but the ending of this one sure did. The relationship between Dorrie and Isabelle was special because they simply liked each other for who they were, without concern for skin color or age.. What a bond between these two women!

I loved the way the author unfolded the story of Isabelle’s past in between chapters of Dorrie’s current life challenges. My heart ached for Isabelle’s lost love. I rooted for Dorrie to find peace with her struggles and worries. And...more
Pamela
You might read reviews of Julie Kibler's debut novel that compare it to The Help or even To Kill a Mockingbird. And while Kibler's story certainly contains a healthy dose of racism and conflict, the heart of the book is a love story--a tragic tale of forbidden love and the consequences that love carries with it throughout generations. While it seems redundant to summarize the book here, I will say that Isabelle's story is one that grasps you from the first chapter and won't let you go.

Kibler we...more
Dem
3.5 Stars

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler is a beautiful debut Novel telling the story of a forbidden love in 1930s Kentucky with a modern-day friendship.

Eighty nine year old Isabelle McAllister has a favour 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 and they must leave the following day. Dorrie is plagu...more
Candida Pugh
The best adjective to describe Kibler's effort is "soapy". One improbable moment follows another in a failed attempt to keep you imagining these cardboard sticks are people. If you imagine that in the late 1930's and early 1940's, a 16 year old white girl living in Kentucky could be oblivious to the peril in which her flirtation with a black man would place him, maybe you can swing with this plot. My own take is that "Miss Isabelle" (if she were a credible character) would be either crazy, incre...more
Cynthia
World War II Love Story

I was anxious to read this book because of all the glowing Amazon reviews. I was somewhat disappointed however. The writing is competent, the theme of racial equality vs. intolerance is important, the World War II setting is enticing but the underlying ‘romance’ novel quality of the book isn’t something I enjoy.

The action swings between the present and the past, specifically 1939 and the early 1940’s. Central to the book is a friendship between an almost 90 year old white...more
Jennifer
As I write this I have to admit I still have tears rolling down my face. This was not only the best book I have ever read but the most touching as well. The story of Robert and Isabelle is so romantic and tragic all at the same time. Impossible love between two people who are soul mates and meant to be together. Reading their story makes me wonder at all the different families that went through the same things back then. Now we just take things for granted and as normal even. But back then their...more
Debbie
I wanted a lot of things. I wanted eloquent, sophisticated language. I wanted fleshy characters. I wanted witty or wise dialogue. I wanted cool sentences to highlight. I wanted to be wowed. Lower my expectations, I tell myself.

This is a story about a young black hairdresser, Dorrie, who is driving an old white woman, Isabelle, to a mysterious funeral far away. There’s a chapter for each of them, back and forth. Dorrie talks about what’s happening in her life now; Isabelle tells about her past, a...more
Lissa
I will definitely be hand-selling this book to customers at my library.
So many ways to relate to the story, and the characters are so memorable!
I started reading this the same day I heard about it, I stayed up all night reading it, and I still can't stop thinking about it. For a story told through flashbacks to the late 1930s and early 1940s, it's tied perfectly to today. A historical romance, a contemporary romance, women's fiction and civil rights and women's rights all tied up in an emotion...more
Yasmin
Calling Me Home was well-written...but, I think maybe I've read enough books about interracial relationships and biracial children to last me a lifetime...so this book didn't wow me or make me cry like it did for others. Good storytelling and I liked that the storyline alternated between the early 1900s (Miss Isabelle's story) and present (Dorrie's story). I also liked that Kibler didn't write patronizing or condescending black characters. But, OMG, the younger Miss Isabelle, seriously could any...more
Dale Harcombe
Dinner was delayed in our house last night, as I simply had to finish this book before I could think about anything else. That tells you how emotionally invested I was in it. Fortunately I have a husband who understands these things.
This book partly set in Shalerville, Kentucky in the late 1930es and 1940s tells the story of two people who fall in love, but their love it seems is doomed from the start. Isabelle is a sixteen year old white woman born into a wealthy family while Robert is the Negr...more
Louise
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erika Robuck
Set in the present day and in the 1930s and 40s, CALLING ME HOME is the tragic story of a young woman from a white Kentucky family who falls in love with the black son of her family housekeeper. Raised almost side by side with Robert, Isabelle can’t help her feelings for this young man who saves her from a terrible situation, engages her intellectually, and stirs her heart. As much as he cautions her, he too falls in love, and they risk everything to be together.

In the present day and without mu...more
Michelle (tinyturtle88)


Amazing. I can't believe this is her debut novel. This was a love story at its purist. Tender and haunting, serendipitous yet forbidden.

I was so sucked into this story, I loved the short alternating chapters. I was entranced by Isabelle's story but also felt that Dorrie's story was very realistic. I felt like I was there, witnessing these journeys alongside these women.

Julie Kibler's writing style is straight forward and reaches right into your heart strings. I recommend this to anyone and every...more
Therese Walsh
A beautifully orchestrated novel, weaving together a painful past with a hopeful present. This one will get to you--even if you think you know what's coming, and even if you think you're prepared. I highly recommend this book.
Stephaine
I have no words to express how much I loved this book. My heart broke towards the end and I cried as if I had lost someone as well. Calling me Home has just been added to one of my all time favorite books list.
Michael
Jan 23, 2014 Michael rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Love story readers
3.5 Stars.

While I would not call this an original read it certainly was an enjoyable one. As a reader of crime, espionage, science-fiction, horror or dumb violence I had to add this story to be Unnormal list. I believe I just needed a break from the body count and wanted to enjoy a novel with a little more Real life in the mix.

So Calling Me Home it is and naturally I see that it has reader comparisons to The Help. Understandable but the two novels certainly stand on their own.

There's a bit more...more
Naomi
Read my full review: http://bit.ly/16yjtwp

My opinion: I had the opportunity to review this book through St. Martin's Press early reviewer program and I turned it down. I didn't know at that point, but it was an incredibly smart decision. When I noticed that a friend of mine gave it 5 stars and stated that she cried at the ending and it was nominated for STB's Book of the Month, I decided to grab the book, but opted for the audiobook version. Another smart decision!

This book sucked me in at the...more
Michele Whitecotton
It took me a few days to write this review because I had to let it sink in. I can't believe this is a debut novel, apparently the author was just born to write. It was THAT good. I was hooked from the first chapter and couldn't put it down. The unlikely friendship of Isabelle and Dorrie was so precious and sacred. I loved the alternating chapters between their present day journey and Isabelle's story because you got to know Dorries thoughts along the way. Isabelle's story was the most beautifull...more
Leeann
My heart is still caught up in the story of Isabelle and Robert, the love they share, and the consequences of that forbidden love. I could not put this book down. I gave up sleep and facebook to read it. This story will stay with me for a long time. It's magnificent.
Erika B. (Snogging on Sunday Books)
I'm not going to lie to you. I think my heart might be a bit broken by this book! It was amazing and tragic. Did I mention that I read it all in one setting because I was so taken with the story line? O well now you know! ;) I was instantly captured by the story of Isabelle-a teenager in the 1930's who finds herself falling in love with an African American boy. The love story was so brilliant and at the same time you have this awful feeling of this can't end well. Another thing I loved is how re...more
Nona
“Calling Me Home is an extraordinary story, but I am so afraid that people compare it to “The Help” (another extraordinary story) in trying to interest readers. This is NOT “The Help”, but instead a beautiful love story, told in a time period when things were different that they are today, we hope. Written from the perspective of two women traveling together to a funeral, you see the joy, pain and closeness they begin to share. The characters are beautifully fleshed out and their stories kept me...more
Ann
I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of Julie's debut novel. I read the book in one afternoon simply because I couln't put it down after I started it. It is a wonderful read and I hope there will be more novels to follow. The story grabs you from the first and takes you on a wonderful journey as you follow the characters as they tell their stories. The novel will be debuting in Feb. 2013 and I recommend it be added to every reader's must read list.
Janet
This debut novel was wonderful! I laughed and cried, but mostly I wanted to be par for their lives.

Told in past and present, we learn the deepest secrets of two women who seem to be different in every single way. A lovely novel, I thought of it for days after.
Margaret Dilloway
Loved this book!
TamElaine
This book had everything I look for in a book – first and foremost it had phenomenal characters – strong characters....and not just the characters themselves, but the way in which the author developed them....to me, these characters were very real people that I will think about for a very long time after I finished this book.

And the story was the most heartbreaking story. Yes, I cried. And when the book was done I laid there with the kobo resting on my chest thinking about their story, those ti...more
Glenda
Calling Me Home is a compelling and heartbreaking novel of forbidden love in 1930s Kentucky with an unlikely modern-day friendship.
Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has asked her hairdresser Dorrie Curtis, 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 and Isabelle have developed more than just a business relationship. They are friends. But Dorrie, fretting ov...more
Books
I can’t recall where I read it, but someone compared this book to Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. That comparison is what got me interested in reading Calling Me Home. That, and of course the picture on the cover that already spoke a thousand words to me. At first, other than the time in which the story plays out of a young Isabelle falling in love with her soulmate who – according to her family and the laws of that time – is the wrong color, I couldn’t see how this book could be compared to the ma...more
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Mansfield Public ...: The"Calling Me Home" review by Winky Gordon 1 6 Aug 05, 2014 12:00PM  
The Book Club: Calling Me Home 6 10 Jun 20, 2014 08:07AM  
Southern Lit Lovers: Calling Me Home~Group read May 2013~*SPOILERS POSSIBLE* 43 56 Jul 04, 2013 07:40AM  
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My debut novel, Calling Me Home, was published by St. Martin's Press February 12, 2013. It will be published by Pan Macmillan in New Zealand/Australia in March 2013, and in the UK in June 2013. Translation rights have been sold in 14 additional foreign territories.

I only post recommendations and reviews on Goodreads for books I liked, so my ratings are all five stars.
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“The heart is a demanding tenant” 11 likes
“The heart is a demanding tenant; it frequently makes a strong argument against common sense.” 7 likes
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