Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Set in both 1939-1943 and the present day, Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler tells the story of an ill-fated love between teenagers Isabelle, who was white, and Robert, who was black, when such relationships were not only taboo, but often illegal, and the story of a love between Isabelle, now nearly 90, and Dorrie, a 30-something black hairstylist (in the salon is where their relationship began) trying to sort out her life and raise her children. It all starts when Isabelle asks Dorrie to take her on a long road trip to a funeral. Along the way, in alternating chapters, Isabelle tells her story from 70 years ago, while Dorrie tries to deal long distance with her own issues.

The Isabelle chapters were heartbreaking. Part of the end is known from the beginning. Isabelle’s late husband and son were both white so even though I was rooting – hard – for Isabelle and Robert’s relationship to work out somehow, I knew it wouldn’t. The racism that kept Isabelle and Robert apart despite their feelings for each other was painful. The Dorrie chapters were much more light-hearted for the most part, though there were deep issues touched on in those as well, some also painful to read. The funeral scene and the scenes just prior and after are gripping. But as intense as those scenes were, the last couple pages were so painful and real and beautiful. I loved this book. The storytelling between past and present is flawless. The emotions are extremely well portrayed. Absolutely nothing is predictable. I would give Calling Me Home more than 5 stars if I could.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 72
Pages Read in 2014: 14,607
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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