Sneak Peek: Calling Me Home, by Julie Kibler

I’m thrilled to present Julie Kibler as my January featured author! Julie’s novel, Calling Me Home, tells the story of Isabelle, a young white woman, who falls in love with Robert, a young black man, in 1930s Kentucky. In addition, we follow Isabelle at 89 years old, who requests her hairdresser, Dorrie, to accompany her to a funeral several states away. Calling Me Home, in addition to simply telling a good story, explores racial tension both in the early twentieth-century South–a time in history known for the civil rights–and now.

To give you a little taste of Kibler’s novel, I want to share with you a portion from Chapter 2. The story alternates between Isabelle’s childhood and Dorrie’s present-day, though both are told from the first-person perspective. This part is in Dorrie’s voice:

When I met Miss Isabelle, she acted more like Miss Miserabelle, and that’s a fact. But I didn’t think she was a racist. God’s honest truth, it was the furthest thing from my mind. I may look young, thank you very much, but I’ve had this gig a while. Oh, the stories they tell, the lines around my customer’s closed eyes, the tension in her scalp when I massage it with shampoo, the condition of the hair I wind around a curler. I knew almost right away Miss Isabelle carried troubles more significant than worrying about the color of my skin. As pretty as she was for an eighty-year-old woman, there was something dark below her surface, and it kept her from being soft. But I was never one to press for all the details–could be that was part of the beauty of the thing. I learned that people talk when they’re ready. Over the years, she became much more than just a customer. She was good to me. I hadn’t ever said so out loud, but in ways, she was more like a mother than the one God gave me. When I thought it, I ducked, waiting for the lightning to strike.

Calling Me Home is available in paperback.

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About katepadilla

I write for the Spencer Daily Reporter in Spencer, Iowa. I keep blogs lifebythebooks, Save Me, San Francisco, and Beauty and Beast Buy a House. I'm also hard at work writing a short story collection inspired by the music of Train.

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