Calling Me Home, Julie Kibler's debut novel, is guaranteed to be a hit with book clubs. Alternating between the present day and the late 1930's, Dorrie and Miss Isabelle also alternate narrating this book.
Present day: Dorrie and Miss Isabelle embark on a car trip together. Dorrie is driving Miss Isabelle to a funeral. The two seem an odd pair at first - one black, one white, and generations apart in age. But, Dorrie has been doing Miss Isabelle's hair for quite a while and Miss Isabelle treats her as though she were her own daughter. Dorrie is trying out a new relationship, not sure how much she can trust this new man. She is also upset with her son, Stevie, Jr., who has made some bad decisions lately.
Miss Isabelle opens up and begins to tell her story as the two make this journey.
1939: Miss Isabelle is just a teenager who falls in love with their maid's son, Robert. An interracial couple isn't approved of in many places, especially in Isabelle's hometown. Although the two are committed to each other, there are many things conspiring against them. As Miss Isabelle shares her story it is easy to see what a remarkable relationship she and Robert shared, yet Dorrie knows from seeing the pictures in Isabelle's house that everyone in Isabelle's life is white. What happened to Robert and the love they shared?
Although not marked as a romance, I would classify it as having a bit of romance in this story. I couldn't help but get my hopes up that true love would prevail.
Book clubs will find plenty to discuss in Kibler's story- relationships, racism, the norms of the time this story took place, and friendship are just a few of the topics I can't wait to discuss with other readers.