Hey guys! I’ve just added a brand new feature on my blog and hopefully it’ll be somewhat of use to you. Have you ever seen a book boyfriend’s name called out and everyone seems to know who it is and what book he’s from but you? Yup, I’ve been there and ever since then I’ve been meaning to make a catalog of all these heroes’ names as a quick reference. The list I’ve compiled below is based on what names I’ve seen tossed around the most. But if you have one you want me to add, let me know in the comments below! Happy reading and you can always access the most updated list at the top of my headbar HERE.
BOOK REVIEW ~ CALLING ME HOME BY JULIE KIBLER
Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler is a soaring debut interweaving the story of a heartbreaking, forbidden love in 1930s Kentucky with an unlikely modern-day friendship.
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 her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. With no clear explanation why. Tomorrow.
Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own and curious whether she can unlock the secrets of Isabelle’s guarded past, scarcely hesitates before agreeing, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives.
Over the years, Dorrie and Isabelle have developed more than just a business relationship. They are friends. But Dorrie, fretting over the new man in her life and her teenage son’s irresponsible choices, still wonders why Isabelle chose her.
Isabelle confesses that, as a willful teen in 1930s Kentucky, she fell deeply in love with Robert Prewitt, a would-be doctor and the black son of her family’s housekeeper—in a town where blacks weren’t allowed after dark. The tale of their forbidden relationship and its tragic consequences makes it clear Dorrie and Isabelle are headed for a gathering of the utmost importance and that the history of Isabelle’s first and greatest love just might help Dorrie find her own way.
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 feel so real, like I was transported in the world the author created and was a silent bystander who experienced everything the characters did. This was one of the hardest books for me to read, not because I didn’t enjoy it or wasn’t invested, but because of how powerful the author’s words are. They leaped off the pages and seeped deep into my heart, crippling me with the stark truth behind the ugly reality presented in the story. And even though all of this is fictional, the impression left afterwards is sure to impact minds and hearts alike, invigorating readers to not let the tragedies and ostracism in the story reoccur in reality.
Of course, not every book that tackles interracial romance and segregation will make a profound impact on me. It all depends on the author’s delivery of said premise, and in this case, I couldn’t be more impressed with the way the author presented her story and characters. The tale follows a road trip where an 80 year old Isabelle is heading to a funeral with Dorrie, her 30 something year old hairdresser. Over the years, Dorrie and Isabelle’s relationship has gone from employer/employee to dear friends, yet there’s always this cloak of mystery that surrounds Isabelle that Dorrie can’t figure out.
And even with Dorrie experiencing her own troubles with her boyfriend and children, she still embarks on this road trip with Isabelle, realizing that her old friend will need her for support. Along the way, it warmed my heart to witness the friendship dynamic between the two, from arguing about the pettiest things to confessing hidden secrets, the biggest one being Isabelle’s romance with Robert, the black son of her family’s housekeeper and her one true love, and the consequences that arose because such an interracial relationship was forbidden.
From there, the author alternates between past/present scenes, with Isabelle being the narrator in the past and Dorrie in the present. This way, both women are given an equal voice and keeps the story balanced and me invested. As Isabelle’s tale is unveiled chapter by chapter, I got stomach butterflies while I read about her sweet and tender romance with Robert but also felt the unbearable heartbreak when the inevitable happened. The fact that the story is set during World War II also heightens the pure desperation, the longing and love these two experience.
One word can’t really describe the range of emotions I felt while reading this story. From the beginning and little by little, I could sense my heart splintering in pieces while outwardly maintaining a calm appearance. Gradually, my throat was painfully clogged up, eyes welled with unshed tears, and mouth slightly quivering. It seemed like with each new obstacle uncovered in the story, a heavy weight would be dropped onto my heart until it completely crushed three quarters into the story and I could not stop sobbing after that point. And when I got to the very end, I closed the book feeling three distinct emotions: sadness, contentment, and determination. Immense sadness for all the injustice the characters suffered and their jagged pain. Content because the story came full circle and left me with a teary smile on my face. And determination to not let the mistakes in the story be repeated in the present, at least not by me, and to bring more awareness to the topics explored in the book because sadly, they still permeate society today.
Everyone needs to read this book. Love is love, regardless of race, gender, age, and background.
Calling Me Home is a part women’s fiction, part romance, part historical fiction standalone.
Rating: 5 stars!!!