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Call Your Daughter Home

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  4,838 ratings  ·  841 reviews
A stunning tour de force following three fierce, unforgettable Southern women in the years leading up to the Great Depression

It's 1924 South Carolina and the region is still recovering from the infamous boll weevil infestation that devastated the land and the economy. Gertrude, a mother of four, must make an unconscionable decision to save her daughters from starvation or
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Park Row (first published September 3rd 2018)
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Deb Spera Thank you so much for reading! I learned the song as a child. Go tell Aunt Rhody is how I remembered the song and what I researched it as. It does…moreThank you so much for reading! I learned the song as a child. Go tell Aunt Rhody is how I remembered the song and what I researched it as. It does seem everyone has a variation of this song from their youth. Thanks again for reading and I'll be at the Last Bookstore downtown on September 30!(less)
Deb Spera I found the feather as means to extract phlegm in a stack of research I had about old medicine remedies. Some Indian tribes also used thistle for the…moreI found the feather as means to extract phlegm in a stack of research I had about old medicine remedies. Some Indian tribes also used thistle for the same purpose. I love finding these old remedies. (less)

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Average rating 4.32  · 
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 ·  4,838 ratings  ·  841 reviews

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Angela M
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Once in a while the opening sentence of a story is enough for me to know that Ill be taken with it. Its easier to kill a man than a gator, but it takes the same kind of wait. What a fantastic line and what an amazing debut novel. I dont use the word atmospheric very often, but its hard to not describe this book in that way. This is rural South Carolina in 1924, devastated by boll weevils, hurricanes, the depressive economic time that the South experienced even before the Great
Lindsay - Traveling Sister
5 outstanding stars for this brilliant debut novel!

This book has earned top spot on my 2019 Favourites List - I loved every single thing about it!

Gertrude, Retta and Annie are three women from very different backgrounds. Their lives' intertwine and connect throughout this mesmerizing story set on a plantation in South Carolina in 1924. Each woman has a background filled with family tradition, expectations and secrets. Told in alternating perspectives, the novel shifts seamlessly between each
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader by: Chrissie
Southern storytelling at its finest. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

A big thanks to my friend, Chrissie, for first putting this book on my radar when she read it several months ago. I never would want to miss a book like this!

This book! Wow. I recently drove through the Lowcountry of South Carolina, and I am pretty certain I saw tiny Branchville on the way. I am looking forward to my next drive through the area now that I feel a little more connected to that particular place, even if in a different time.

First, I
Diane S ☔
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
4.5 A impressive debut novel. Three women, different positions in life, find their Fates entwined with each other. Gertrude, who commits an act out of desperation, must find a way forward for her and her children. Annie, is the Matriarch of the leading family, there are things she needs to know but is unwilling to recognize. This unknowing has caused an estrangement between herself and her daughter, and the life of a son. Retta, has sorrows in her past, but she is the strongest, refuses to give ...more
Susanne  Strong
5 Stars

Beautiful and Emotional!

The year is 1924, the place is South Carolina. Three womens lives intertwine on a plantation where times are tough and where, relying on each other and connecting, are what will carry them through the most difficult of times.

Gertrudes life has never been easy. Unfortunately, after what happens, she just made things a whole lot harder on herself and her four kids. Now, she has some decisions to make, decisions that no one but herself can possibly understand.

Its easier to kill a man than a gator, but it takes the same kind of wait.

Set in the 1924, in Branchville, South Carolina, the voices of three women share their stories, their struggles, and their pain, while at the same time holding their own secrets close.

Sometimes the years go by so fast its like flipping pages in a book, but a day can take so long a whole lifes gone by before the sun sets down.

Gertrude Pardee, a young white woman who is escaping her abusive husband, leaving with her
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 for this one
A story of three very strong and memorable women in rural 1924 South Carolina. The book is narrated by the three who are a plantation owners wife, a freed slave woman who still works on that plantation, and a poor white woman with four daughters and an abusive husband.
We are told of their pain, despair and struggle to survive, they are mothers and will do what they must to protect their children.
I really enjoyed this book!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC
Brenda -Traveling Sister
I almost missed reading Call Your Daughter Home in my book chaos and if it wasnt for Lindsay I just might have. Set in 1924 South Carolina after infamous boll weevil infestation that devastated the land and the economy Debra Spera brings us an unforgettable story that is not to missed by historical fiction lover. I sure am glad I didnt.

Call Your Daughter Home is an impressive, compelling and engaging story that explores the lives of three equally unforgettable, strong southern women who come
Diane Barnes
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: motley-crew
Books depicting strong women are always a favorite, and when the first chapter has an abused wife and mother shooting her husband in the head and watching him topple into an alligator pit, well, suffice it to say you have my attention. It only gets better from there, as we watch three strong women do what it takes to survive in 1924 South Carolina. Gertie kills her husband to save her daughters, Annie finds out at the age of 70 that her wealthy planter husband is not what she thought and is the ...more
"He was used to my ways by then. We was so happy. I was too young to know there is no such thing as any one thing. Everything, even great happiness, has another side. Turn over a leaf and see how the front and back differ."

Call Your Daughter Home invites us to experience the rugged path that crosses every culture and every community. All women, no matter where their source has birthed them, have ties to the great daughterhood originating since the beginning of time. Tiny threads hold them intact
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A high 4 stars!

Call Your Daughter Home is a fabulously intense novel. Set in North Carolina in the 1920s, the story is told from the point of view of three very different women whos lives intersect at pretty terrible times in their lives. Gertrude is a very poor white women, caught in a violent marriage, trying to figure out how to protect and feed her four daughters. Annie is part of the local gentry, married to a landowner with four living adult children, her two daughter being estranged.
Wow! 4.5 Awesome Debut Stars!

"Times is desperate hard, any fool will kill you on the road for a nickel. That much is fact."

1924 rural Branchville, South Carolina is where we meet three women with three distinct alternating voices to tell the story of CALL YOUR DAUGHTER HOME.

Gertrude - Oh the desperation to feed four starving children (OMG baby Mary) while fending off an evil good-for-nothing husband, and can you imagine trying to kill a mama gator in the swamp while she's eyeing you to

Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What a gem! The Pee Dee of South Carolina is one of those places that hasnt changed much over the past 100 years. Its a rural area still littered with farms and old tobacco barns. My husbands roots run deep in this area of SC and most were tobacco farmers. I know these roads well so the setting really resonated with me.

The author intergrated her own grand/great-grandmothers personalities into her characters. The dedication to them, at the end of the novel, really makes the story all the more
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
4.5 stars

Do you ever read a book and absolutely love everything about it but when you're ready to review/recommend it, all you can do is gush, "It's soooo good!"
That's me right now, highly recommending this historical Southern fiction novel to you.

South Carolina, 1924.  The South is recovering from a massive boll weevil infestation that has devastated the local economy.  The lives of three women are about to intersect in unexpected ways.

"None of us get what we deserve. We make the best of what
This books got a lot of heat in it. People are caught up in their lives and actions of the past are bringing forth consequences. The heat comes from the friction of the main characters relationships with their family and friends and the birthing of those consequences. There are three strong female characters, all with their own distinct voice. Gertrude is living in the swamp with an abusive husband and their four daughters. Theres more than heat here; its an explosive situation. When Gertrude ...more
Aga Durka
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book just pulled my heart out of my chest and stomped all over it! Such a beautiful story about strong, resilient, and ferocious women. Story of friendship, motherhood, family, love, and survival. The writing style is superb and the characters were believable and likable. Gertrude, Annie,and Retta touched my heart and I was left emotional over what they had to endure and overcome. A must read for every women out there.
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
A long ways from home
A long ways from home
True believer
A long ways from home
A long ways from home
Sometimes I feel like Im almos gone
Sometimes I feel like Im almos gone
Sometimes I feel like Im almos gone
Way up in de heabnly land
Way up in de heabnly land
True believer
Way up in de heabnly land
Way up in de heabnly land
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like
Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, arc
Historical Fiction fans: if this one is not on your radar - please pay attention! Call Your Daughter Home is mesmerizing, engrossing, masterful storytelling. It's much more than the title lets on - although it is about mothers, and daughters - it's a lyrical love story, a gripping web of woven struggles and sadness, and also a gorgeous tale of mystery, maybe a bit of murder, and a little dash of magic.

The story follows three women, Gertrude, Retta and Annie, in 1920's South Carolina, and they
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 stars!

Thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

The setting of this book is 1924 South Carolina. The region is still recovering from the devastating boll weevil infestation that decimated the cotton crop and left a lot of wealthy plantation owners (and those that depend on them for work) in a lot of trouble. We meet Annie Coles, the matriarch of a well to do family where her husband and oldest son run the tobacco plantation (since
Because Call Your Daughter Home was set in a time period I love and am intrigued with, I wanted to enjoy it far more than I actually did. While the book had an intriguing premise, I found the writing a bit too dry to be a thoroughly enjoyable tale. The characters were interesting but not fully engaging. Overall, it was a satisfactory tale but not a book I would necessarily recommend for others.
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.25 stars
Heartbreaking yet inspiring southern womens fiction at its finest. A story that captures the readers heart and senses. The story is told from three perspectives - Gertrude, Retta and Annie. All three women come from disparate backgrounds and have faced hardships. Gertrude is dirt poor with 4 young daughters. She has suffered physically, emotionally and spiritually at the hands of her abusive husband. Retta comes from a family of slaves in former generations. She works as the
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-publisher
Please do not let the title of this book make you stroll on by. I think the chosen title is a big miss for this wonderful book. (Glad to see they changed the title - previously was Alligator). I was sucked into this book from the very beginning! I just could not set it down without continually thinking about it. Readers who enjoy historical fiction in southern settings will want to add this to their list.

This is a story about three women in the south in 1924. Annie Cole who is an elderly,
Deb Spera's debut novel Call Your Daughter Home is captivating from the first line. It's easier to kill a man than a gator but it takes the same kind of time." Gertie knows her way around the swampland and her father has taught her how to hunt and survive. She knows above all else that a skilled hunter must exercise patience. Before her is a 10 foot mama gator protecting her nest. For both the stakes are high. The tension in this moment for the reader is wondering which mother will endure. ...more
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story takes place in South Carolina in 1924 after the boll weevil infestation devastated the land and the economy. We follow the lives of three incredible and very different women with very different challenges; Gertrude, Oretta and Annie.

I was completely engrossed in this story and I now have a new hero by the name of Mrs Oretta Bootles. I just adored her. She was such an amazing woman. There was a scene in the book where Oretta assisted with a birth and, let me tell you, it was so well
Call Your Daughter Home

All the Im speechless reviews about Call Your Daughter Home are spot on! This one is right up there for me. Where the Crawdads Sing moved books over on my All-Time Favorites shelf and this one does, too.

This story is quite like Crawdads in its southern-ness, its narrators voice of a girl growing up in her kind of South (which is not the same all over), and its harsh environment with no apparent ready saviors to come and fight her fight or at least help her or encourage her
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
South Carolina -1924 - post boll weevil infestation of the cotton fields. This event alone is enough to send both the economy and the future of the crop lands and jobs into turmoil. The Great Depression is looming. This is a story of survival. It is both powerful and timeless. I was hooked after the first chapter and read this in one sitting.

Three very strong women highlight this story - Gertrude, Oretta, Annie. These three spirited women come from three different walks of life. They come from
Kathryn in FL
5 Well Earned Shining Stars!

This story had all the elements that I most enjoy in a good story: dynamic characters; challenging relationships that cause fissures; nature that tends to overwhelm; and strength to face adversity. Sadly, I had to close the back cover and recall the passages within with a longing to know what happened to these people beyond the story's end. Perhaps, Ms. Spera can take us into the future with one or some of these characters in another story?

Set in the deep South in the
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Quite a dramatic and emotional novel set into deep texture of 1920's rural South Carolina. It's traumatic. Also real as intestinal worms and diphtheria.

Absolutely able to see the film/ dramatic producer background experience held by this author in the various climax sequences while reading this book. It's almost like a heavy subject cable series within sequential episodes of cliff hanger endings and sequence plot lines. Long and gamey but sodden with faith. It's told in the "eyes" by narrator
Julie Christine
The worst hard time had befallen South Carolina long before the Depression sank the rest of the nation. In the years following a boll weevil infestation which decimated the cotton industry, the town of Branchville is barely hanging on, even as its secrets rise like the eyes of an alligator surfacing from the depths of a murky swamp.

Deb Spera paints a vivid picture of the rural South in the early 1920's - the bleak existence, Jim Crow segregation and racism, the plight of women controlled by
♥ Sandi ❣
3.5 stars Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for allowing me to read and review this book.

The lives of three southern women in the early 1920's. Unalike in class and standings, but with so many similar hardships. There was Anne, a wealthy aristocrat, blessed with all that money could buy. There was Rhetta, a black maid, a first generation free slave, still working for a white family. Then there was Gertrude, poor, white and beaten by her husband. This story is about how all three came to be
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Call Your Daughter Home is my first novel. I've also been published in Garden and Gun, L.A. Yoga Journal and Six-Fold. A television producer by trade, I have produced many television shows including Criminal Minds and Army Wives. I was born and raised in Kentucky and currently reside in Los Angeles with a couple of kids, a very cool husband and two rescue mutts.

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“Children are such a wave, the birthing and caring and rearing. When you’re in the throes it all seems interminable. Then, whoosh, it’s over. I don’t know why I was surprised when the children grew up, but I was. I thought, in their youth, it would last forever. Now I see that it was my youth, not theirs that was speaking. The past is now and now and now.” 2 likes
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