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RFM Bookshelf: “Calling Me Home” is a Delightful Road Trip through History

RFM team members share a book they’ve enjoyed. Maybe you will, too!

The last time I recommended a beach read to a friend, she texted me and said she was very, very confused.

Everyone deserves a second chance, so this summer, I submit Calling Me Home for her consideration – and yours. Julie Kibler’s debut novel is a cross-generational buddy story that unites unlikely friends: nearly ninety Isabelle, a white widow, and thirty-something Dorrie, a black single mother. Together, they road-trip from Texas to Cincinnati at the elderly woman’s request on a mysterious personal mission.

Along the way, Isabelle shares stories of life in a 1930s Kentucky town where blacks were forbidden after dark and tales of time spent with Robert Prewett, her first and only true love, a would-be doctor and the son of her family’s African American housekeeper. Logging miles and memories, Isabelle reveals the real reason she has asked Dorrie to accompany her, along with a multitude of other secrets.

Whether you feel yourself identifying more with Isabelle or Dorrie, Kibler’s well-developed and extremely likable main characters, the popular literary device of alternating between present day and long ago is perfectly executed in Calling Me Home.

This was a true page-tuner, and although I did not have it with me on vacation, I took it with me everywhere in Richmond so I could work in a chapter here and there and look smart reading, instead of scrolling through my phone. Also, like many of today’s popular books, its film rights have been acquired already, which means you might want to put Calling Me Home on your to-read list before it hits theatres.


Karen Schwartzkopf has her dream job as managing editor of RFM. Wife, mother, arts and sports lover, she lives and works in the West End with her family, including husband Scott, who not coincidentally is RFM’s creative director. You can read Karen’s take on parenting her three daughters – Sam, Robin, and Lindsey, also known as the women-children – in the Editor’s Voice.

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