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Call Your Daughter Home

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  19,158 ratings  ·  2,389 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 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)
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 see…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)

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Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,158 ratings  ·  2,389 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 I’ll be taken with it. “It’s 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 don’t use the word atmospheric very often, but it’s 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 Dep
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
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 ch
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.

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
Elyse  Walters
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“It’s not the physical suffering that troubles; it’s the wrestling with what I leave behind and how I’ve left it—that’s the real torture”.

Cotton was the primary crop in the southern region - of South Carolina - before the boll weevil infestation decimated its economy from 1918 until the mid 1920’s.
The suffering, poverty, starvation, and death was rampant.

In “Call Your Daughter Home”, ( historical fiction), we follow the lives of
three women from very different background.
....Gertrude, is mar
Susanne  Strong
5 Stars

Beautiful and Emotional!

The year is 1924, the place is South Carolina. Three women’s 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.

Gertrude’s 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.

”It’s 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 it’s like flipping pages in a book, but a day can take so long a whole life’s gone by before the sun sets down.”

Gertrude Pardee, a young white woman who is escaping her abusive husband, leaving w
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
May 04, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

A well written and thought provoking tale of motherhood, womanhood and justice, set in South Caroline and the just before the Great American Depression

I really enjoy southern literature, this is the type of novel where you can smell the heat and feel the dust in your hair as you get drawn in by the family relationships and hardships of the time.

Set in South Carolina around 1924, we come to know three very different women, Gertrude a mother of four, who must make an unconscionable deci
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
I almost missed reading Call Your Daughter Home in my book chaos and if it wasn’t 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 didn’t.

Call Your Daughter Home is an impressive, compelling and engaging story that explores the lives of three equally unforgettable, strong southern women who come t
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
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
What an exquisitely written book! Talk about a group of intrepid courageous women who go forth burdened as they were, to become women of courage and strength.

The setting is the South before the Great Depression took hold of our country. The women, Gertrude grasping to save her children from an abusive husband, Retta, a woman whose parents were slaves, and Annie Cole, who comes to terms with a terrible secret that has divided her from her daughters are depicted with determination and fortitude.

Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
Set in the rural region of Branchville, South Carolina, in the year of  1924.  Threats are almost a way of life here, with an infestation of boll weevils, abject poverty, and the highly infectious and deadly diphtheria.  Three women with mettle doing what they must to protect their own.  With age comes perspective.  Pretense is unnecessary.  This story touches the pulse points of life.  Excellent.
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 who’s 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. Ore
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 prot

As soon as I started living with the expectation of having a friend by my side through old age, I found her dead on the kitchen floor. Now the whole world is upside down in thought and action, and my days are filled with worry about what I can’t see that’s waitin’ around the corner.

It is what is waiting around the corner for three women living in 1924 South Carolina that makes up the bulk of this captivating debut novel by Deb Spera. What a debut it is! Anne is a wealthy woman, mistress of a lar
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. It’s 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 s
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 w
This book’s 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 character’s 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. There’s more than heat here; it’s an explosive situation. When Gertrud ...more
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
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 I’m almos’ gone
Sometimes I feel like I’m almos’ gone
Sometimes I feel like I’m almos’ gone
Way up in de heab’nly land
Way up in de heab’nly land
True believer
Way up in de heab’nly land
Way up in de heab’nly land
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, favorites
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 co
Cheryl James
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
*Sometimes people do get what they deserve*

Omg, this is the best book that i have listened to on audio this year. This author nailed it on every aspect of the story. The characters, the plot, and the story dynamics are all Awesone. This book kept my attention from the beginning to the end. The wtiting was so detailed and exciting. I felt as though i was a part of the story and could reach out and touch the characters. I felt every emotion of each character run through my veins.

I highly recomend
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.
Sallie Dunn
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I know where to start on this debut novel by Deb Spera — with five giant ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️s! It’s a southern story set in 1924 about three women who all live in Branchville, SC. It covers a lot of themes: being poor white, poor black, and also being white privileged. Being hungry, being abused, figuring out how to move forward despite terrible circumstances. How these three women’s lives intersect made for a fascinating read. I am usually reading 5 or 6 books at a time, and this was the one I cared abo ...more
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, stubbo
Kerrin P
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Call Your Daughter Home is Deb Spera’s debut novel. It is a dramatic story about three women whose lives are intertwined in South Carolina in 1924. First, there is Gertrude the mother of four daughters. They are living in a house in a swamp, nearly starving to death. Gertrude is able to get a job as a seamstress for Annie. Annie is the wife of the wealthiest man in the community. She and one of her sons own a sewing factory. There was a rift in the family fifteen years earlier, and Annie has not ...more
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. Gert ...more
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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. ...more

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Many of today's historical fiction novels are set during World War II. To help you broaden your reading list beyond those war years, we looked...
106 likes · 47 comments
“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.” 5 likes
“It’s easier to kill a man than a gator, but it takes the same kind of wait. You got to watch for the weakness, and take your shot to the back of the head.” 5 likes
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