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Calling Me Home: A Novel

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  26,584 Ratings  ·  3,972 Reviews
In Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler, 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 Isabelle from her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. With no clear explanation why. Tomorrow.

Curious whether she can unlock th
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published August 20th 2012)
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Anja Great question, I wondered about this myself. Based on what J.Kibler writes in the afterword, I speculate that it's inspired from real life events.
Andi Pandi It is what you might expect for book based in the 30-40's. There is some racially driven profanity, but nothing that I would say was excessive. It is…moreIt is what you might expect for book based in the 30-40's. There is some racially driven profanity, but nothing that I would say was excessive. It is meant to make you feel how the characters felt. (less)
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Community Reviews

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Julie Kibler
Dec 13, 2012 Julie Kibler rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I hope you enjoy Calling Me Home! Thank you for reading and spreading the word if you like it!

5+ Stars

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Calling Me Home is an unforgettable book. It’s tragically beautiful, heart wrenching and devastating to read. Forbidden love at it’s finest.

This was a book that completely flew under my radar. I’m so happy a friend recommended it to me and I picked it up. Even though it wasn’t an easy read, it was worth it. I listened to this book on audio and the narrators did a fantastic job. They captured Isabelle and Dorrie perfectly. I listened to the last little bit on my way to work yesterday mor
Lady Vigilante (Feifei)
5 stars!!!


One of my bookish resolutions for the year was to start reading more books that weren’t just pure romance and seeing a couple of friends who loved this particular book motivated me to finally pick it up. Without a doubt, this is a book that will be on my best books read in 2015 list. The content and sensitive topics explored were extremely thought-provoking, the heartbreaking forbidden romance both shattered my heart and mended it, and the historical backdrop of the book made the story
JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust

For anyone who's ever felt protective of a book, wished they could erase a story from their memory and/ or read the same novel numerous time, I'd just like to say, "I'm sorry for ever judging you. I get it now."

I LOVE this book so much, I'm mad at it. Yes, you read that correctly. I'm angry with the author (in the most playful way possible) for turning me into such an annoying,swoony, sappy girlie- girl. I cried so heavily at one point, I started hyperventilating.
5 Stars!!


“Calling me Home” was one of the best books I’ve read this year and definitely one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s a complex story that will impress you in so many ways. It’s a historical romance and it also is a women’s fiction/civil rights/women’s rights as well. It’s a beautiful, tragic story about love, life, family, loyalty, grief, racial and sexual discrimination, segregation and so much more. It’s also an educational story, a story that will open your eyes and that will ma
Mar 30, 2013 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Update: A good friend is going to read this ... I'm excited.., 'again'!!!! I cried like a baby!!! If this is not an EMOTIONAL book...then I don't know what is. I wish Julie Kibler would write another book.(waiting Julie!!)
Don't even try to guess the ending .. Of 'who' the ladies are traveling to see and why. You'll won't figure it out. I promise.

If a reader does not get teary-eye 'at least' one time while reading this GEM of a STORY... THEN their heart is made of stone!


I'm too emotion
Jul 22, 2014 Suzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, favourites
I had to have a chuckle when I read the subject line of this book, that I only just realised is being made into a movie, on IMBD. 'An elderly lady asks her hairdresser to drive her to a funeral in Texas'. It's so much more than that!

Calling Me Home tells us the heart breaking and wonderful story of Isabelle and Dorrie, and of the tragic forbidden love in the late 1930's. An amazing debut novel by Julie Kibler. It's funny when the book world talks of 'debuts' as so often there is nothing 'debutis
Allison ❤️Will Never Conquer Her TBR❤️
Jan 09, 2015 Allison ❤️Will Never Conquer Her TBR❤️ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Allison ❤️Will Never Conquer Her TBR❤️ by: Lady Vigilante (Feifei)

1/16/15 Kindle Daily deal! I paid $14.00 a week's now $1.99!

4.5 Heart-wrenching, Unfair Stars!

Calling Me Home
was a beautiful, emotionally charged, all-consuming story of love and loss. On my quest for something emotional that would tug at my heart strings (yes, I love a book hangover that leaves a gaping hole in my chest-don't judge), I saw a review from a friend that told me this would deliver in spades. Epically...

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Calling Me Home tells the st
Carla ☺Did I Say That☺
6 **Hands down the best book I've read in 2014** Stars!!!!
I'm sorry but 5 stars doesn't do this book justice!!!
“Words can not describe the level of emotion I'm feeling right now...this book was amazing!!"

**Review to Come**
Jan 10, 2015 Jeanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, br
This story is about a hair stylist in her thirties named Dorrie, who is driving her almost ninety year old good friend and client Isabelle to a mystery funeral several states away. While on this long road trip, Isabelle tells Dorrie about her life in 1939, and her forbidden love story with Robert Prewitt, the black son of her family's housekeeper. The story then alternates between Dorrie's present day pov and Isabelle's past pov.

So, I was fully expecting to love this book, everything about it s
Oct 19, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, arc-egalley
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
Apr 11, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh... My heart still breaks for Isabel and Robert...
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
Lisa *-* GiViNg It To YoU * LoCk StOcK & TwO SmOkiNg BaRrELs
Review posted 5/1/15

....I wanted to climb the highest hill I could find to shout until our world saw it's error....

This story of forbidden love in 1930s Kentucky left me speechless . .....a story that intricately entwines the past with the present.

Heartbreakingly Beautiful, Compelling.....

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
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
Dec 13, 2014 Ingela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ingela by: Lisa *-* GiViNg It To YoU * LoCk StOcK & TwO SmOkiNg BaRrELs
Written January 27, 2015

5 Stars - An epic heart wrenching beautiful novel. -
A without questions fantastic “I'll never forget it” story.

I need time to put myself together. — That was a week ago and it has been a struggle to go back on the memory-line about this book. I don't think I have become so emotionally moved by a book since I read Jojo Moyes' novel, Me Before You.

All tissues were used and I'm still, a week later, easily moved to tears thinking about this story. This will be quite "short
Kellie Gilbert
Sep 27, 2012 Kellie Gilbert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
♡ Kim ♡
What a beautifully heartbreaking story! I have had this one on my to-read shelf for awhile. I actually started it and gave up, thinking I have a pile of books I'd most likely enjoy much more than this one. Then as I pushed it aside, I received a little nudge from a Goodreads friend to read it now (demanding, I know!). But I have to admit, she was right, and I did, indeed, love it. In fact, I am pleasantly surprised and pleased how much emotion I felt for the characters and their stories. I highl ...more
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
Jan 14, 2013 Pamela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 22, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler
I loved this book, it was such a great story. When I had to put it down I could not wait to get back to it. You know, when you are reading something that you wish the book would not end. when you have only a quarter of the book left. The time period shifts back and forth from the 1930's to the present day. Isabelle who is white asks her African american hair stylist named Dorrie to drive her to a funereal from Kentucky to Ohio.

Isabelle is in her nineties and Dorrie
Feb 18, 2013 Dem rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Judy Collins
Julie Kibler's CALLING ME HOME, a poignant, debut novel; a winner out of the gate, filled with careful description and woven skillfully!

A vivid, engaging first book with strong characters, dramatic storytelling, which should establish Julie Kibler as a strong novelist. She most definitely possesses a gift of telling a tragic story, in an entertaining way with an inspiring takeaway of friendship and love. (She has just been added to my favorite author list, and so look forward to following this
Jan 27, 2013 Carole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! Julie Kibler is an amazing first time novelist! I hope she is busy writing her next book, because I can't wait to read it! I hesitated to spend $12 on a kindle book, but it was so worth it! I have to say the first third of the book was a little slow, but midway through, I couldn't put it down. I felt attached to Dorrie, & especially Isabelle. I was drawn to this book, after being in an interracial relationship myself, years ago. I had a taste of how hurtful people can be t ...more
Diane S ☔
3.5 This was a heartfelt, poignant story about a love across the color divide in the 1930's, when this was not something that was accepted. Really loved the relationships in this novel, Isie being so much older but a good friend to Dorrie all the same. Together they brought closure and a new way of looking at the problems they needed to solve. These are the two characters with a few more that I will remember from this story. Racial affairs, relationships, and friendship were all explored in this ...more
Jan 19, 2015 Beverly marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Very exciting to be starting this audiobook!
"It's an irony that young people mostly see things as black and white . . . All or nothing. Sometimes, in spite of their enthusiasm for embracing change, it takes years of experience before they truly see the whole picture."

And sometimes it takes a lifetime to find the right person (a kindred spirit, a true and rare friend) in which to share the secrets never before spoken.

Two women. One relatively young, the other considerably aged. One with ebony hair and skin, the other whitish-blue. Both s
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Jun 26, 2013 Shelby *trains flying monkeys* marked it as kindle  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shelby *trains flying monkeys* by: JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust
All the cool kids have been reading this one and guess what?? It's on sale for 1.99 today! Jan. 16th.
Jan 12, 2015 Sofia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical

I never purposely choose books that make be cry. Crying is not a kink of mine. This one snuck up on me with stealth via my friend Ingela. Oh I knew from the blurb that there was a possibility but I decided to join in the read anyway.

Did I cry? – OH YES LOTS. Am I angry? – OH YES at the bigotry, racism dealt with in the story. Angrier, more and more, that we still have to deal with this even in our day and age both within us and in the world live in. I liked that Kibler did not shy away from expl
Ena Hasečić
Nov 19, 2016 Ena Hasečić rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kada devedesetogodišnja Isabelle zamoli svoju frizerku Dorrie da je odvede na pogreb u Cincinnati, niti jedna od njih ne sluti da će im to dugo putovanje promijeniti živote. Roman je koncipiran tako da u jednom poglavlju pratimo priču iz 30ih godina XX stoljeća, priču o Isabellinoj mladosti i životu, dok u narednom poglavlju pratimo sadašnjost - njihovo putovanje i probleme sa kojima se Dorrie suočava daleko od kuće. Roman tako slikovito opisuje te 30e godine kada je rasna diskriminacija bila ve ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler 1 20 Oct 27, 2015 01:32AM  
  • Necessary Lies (Necessary Lies, #1)
  • Whistling Past the Graveyard
  • The Secrets of Mary Bowser
  • The Funeral Dress
  • A Place at the Table
  • The Healing
  • The Third Son
  • The Promise of Stardust
  • Rush Home Road
  • I'll Be Seeing You
  • Freeman
  • The Pieces We Keep
  • Morning Glory
  • Looking for Me
  • The Plum Tree
  • A Fall of Marigolds
  • Freshwater Road
  • The Secret Life of Violet Grant
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.
More about Julie Kibler...

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“The heart is a demanding tenant; it frequently makes a strong argument against common sense.” 26 likes
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