Finally "Calling Me Home" by Julie Kibler is out in paperback, and those who didn't chose to buy the hardcover book should immediately order one. It's a wonderful story of two women, of two different generations, and two different races.
My original (5 star) review:
Debut author Julie Kibler's "Calling Me Home" grabs the reader from the first page. The characters are so compelling and beautifully created, one wants to keep on reading and reading and reading. But before picking it up, be sure to keep the tissue box handy.
It begins innocently enough. Octogenarian Isabelle McAllister asks Dorrie, her black hairdresser, to drive her to Cincinnati for a funeral. They live in Texas. It's a bit of a trip, and Dorrie is a single mom with her own business. But she senses that "Miss Isabelle" needs her, so she agrees.
But the trip and the stories that emerge from both women make up a novel that will truly touch the hearts of those who read it. It's heartbreaking, it's uplifting, and it's thought-provoking. It's a story about how love can truly transcend color -- for some.
It's also a story about the dark side of our country's history. And the author delicately -- yet powerfully -- points out that in some places, not much has changed since the 1940s.
The story is, above all, about love. One powerful love from the past and another love that is in the first budding stage of spring. One is a love that is forbidden and destined for misery; the other a love that has a bright future.
There is also the love that grows between the two women who take the journey together. Each learns about the other's life, secrets, mistakes and sorrows.
Isabelle remembers her long-ago past and the love she never forgot. As the novel unfolds, her story of the past alternates with Dorrie's of the present, as the latter relates her own immediate problems with a teenage son whose girlfriend is pregnant.
Read the story slowly, for when it's over, almost every reader will feel a bit bereft. As if two good friends are gone. And that's what a really good book does -- it captures the reader and holds him or her captive for the length of time it takes to dive into someone else's life and experience it.
And you will feel sad that it's over. We can only hope that Julie Kibler has another wonderful story to tell us next time. And Warner Brothers bought the movie rights to "Calling Me Home," so perhaps we'll get to visit our friends again in the movie theater.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by St. Martin's Press for review purposes.
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