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Call Your Daughter Home

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  2,902 ratings  ·  573 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
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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  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,902 ratings  ·  573 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
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 have
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
”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 with
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.

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 host of The Traveling Friends
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
"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 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.
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
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 we
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

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 ...more
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
Sometimes I
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
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
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 women’s fiction at its finest. A story that captures the reader’s 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,
Call Your Daughter Home

All the “I’m 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 narrator’s 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
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
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
ʚϊɞ Shelley ʚϊɞ
Between us we got all the talent in the world, but we got to use every bit to pull ourselves up. We been down but we ain’t down no more. We got to look at this chance like we’re being born all over again.
Call Your Daughter Home definitely has its dark moments, but ultimately it's a story about love, forgiveness and the freedom that truth delivers. All the women were intriguing characters that you'll love. I was impacted chapter after chapter with the life changing events that took little bites
Nancy McFarlane
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Call Your Daughter Home is sure to become a classic in Southern literature. It is a book that I didn’t just read – I lived it and felt it. And even though it was heart wrenching in parts it was also uplifting with a beautiful message of strength, perseverance and the power of women and a mother’s love. It is a beautifully written story of three women whose lives intersect in a small South Carolina town in the 1920s. Gertrude is a poor white woman with 4 daughters who has endured hardships that ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book set in 1924 South Carolina after the boll weevil infestation. Annie, Gertrude and Retta are three women from very different backgrounds who are dealing with heartbreak and constant turmoil trying to keep their families together and day to day existence. This was an intense read that was hard to put down and I became totally involved with these three women. I look forward to Deb Spera's next book.

Thank you Harlequin and Netgalley for a free copy in exchange for an
Susan Crandall
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was totally captivated by this book. I'm a huge fan of deep first person narratives and this one was superb, divine, delightful...I could go on and on. Being a writer, it's a rare book that allows me to forget what I do and purely enjoy a book as nothing but a reader. I thank Deb Spera for giving me such a gift. I felt as if I knew these three women personally by the time I was finished and have missed them every day since. Moving and evocative, I highly recommend this book!
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
3.5 STARS - Call Your Daughter Home is a Historical Fiction novel set in 1920's South Carolina in an area which recently suffered a devastating boll weevil infestation leaving cotton crops decimated. Only 50 years since the Civil War, and still a few years away from The Depression, author Deb Spera shows how these issues influence the lives of three women with vastly different backgrounds.

Reeta, a first-generation freed slave, Annie, a rich business owner and Gertrude, a poor mother of four
Karen Kay
I received this from for a review.

1924 South Carolina. Gertrude, Retta and Annie lead very different lives but each of them find the strength to stand up to terrible injustices that have long plagued their small town.

Great debut, good read. Definitely put this on your reading list.

Debi Hawkes
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Harlequin and NetGalley for the opportunity to enjoy this incredible novel!

The author Deb Spera, accessing family history and stories, combined with in depth research to pre-depression Carolina history, has created a truly excellent novel.

I was mesmerized by the lives these women had to live. The harshness of their very existence, the work and suffering they had to endure just to feed and raise their families. The prejudices, of race, wealth, poverty, male dominated society,
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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, Six-Fold, Wascana Review and Pennsylvania English. I'm a television producer by trade and have produced over a thousand hours of television. I live in Los Angeles with my husband and two of my three children.
“When a woman marries and takes her husband’s name she is forever bound by his action and not her own.” 0 likes
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