Monday, June 03, 2013

It Made Me Laugh, It Made Me Think, It Made Me Curse, It Made Me Cry ...

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Isabelle McAllister and Dorrie Curtis aren't family, nor are they exactly bosom buddies.  But, when the 89-year-old widow finds herself in need of a favor—a very big favor—Dorrie's the only person she can think of to ask.  Despite their differences, the two women have grown close over the years and yet, there's plenty they don't know about each other.  Isabelle's not sure she's ready to spill all her secrets; still, she knows she can't do what she needs to do without Dorrie by her side.  

Dorrie's grown fond of Isabelle during the years she's been styling the old woman's hair.  Still, Dorrie's  dumbfounded by her client's strange request.  She knows Isabelle's too elderly to drive herself from their home in Texas all the way to Cincinatti.  She also knows she'd do anything for Miss Isabelle, even if the woman won't divulge the reason for the trip.  What Dorrie doesn't know is why Isabelle chose her for this task, or what awaits them in Ohio.  Truth is, it doesn't matter.  Dorrie could use a little vacay—all that time on the road will give her time to ponder her own troubles, while learning more about the enigmatic Isabelle McAllister.

The women make a strange pair—Isabelle's an elderly white widow, Dorrie's a black, single mom in her 30s.  But, as the pair drive across the country, they discover they have more in common than not.  And, as Dorrie hears the story of Isabelle's forbidden romance with the son of her family's black housekeeper during the early 1940s in a Kentucky town African-Americans weren't even allowed to step foot in after dark, she realizes that a little of Isabelle's courage might be just the thing she needs to conquer her own fears.  

One glance at the cover of Calling Me Home, a debut novel by Julie Kibler, is all it took to convince me I needed to read this book.  The plot summary just intrigued me more.  It was the author's bio, though, that really sealed the deal.  Why?  Because, it explains that Isabelle's story grew out of a bit of Kibler family lore.  How irresistible is that?  Very.  Even better, Calling Me Home lives up to its gorgeous cover and beguiling premise.  It's warm, tender, vibrant, heart-breaking—everything a great story should be.  Some of the plot "surprises" weren't all that surprising but still, this novel made me laugh, made me think, made me curse, made me cry.  I loved it.    

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a little of The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Jericho Walls by Kristi Collier)

Grade:  A-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG-13 for language (no F-bombs), racial epithets, violence, and mild sexual content 

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

1 comment:

  1. I just finished the audio version. Excellent!

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