Cover Image: Call Your Daughter Home

Call Your Daughter Home

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Member Reviews

I got through this book really quickly. The story was good, but the ending was kind of blah for me. I would recommend it to someone who wants a quick read.
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Three women in a small southern town dominate this historical novel. There is a lot of strong life lessons here that involve motherhood, standing up for injustice and family.
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Call Your Dauighter Home takes place in 1924 in South Carolina. Three female main characters in a story of strong resilient women ,friendship, family and survival. A wonderful historical fiction read. Looking forward to more books by this author.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Content warning: off-screen child molestation, on-screen grooming

A little way into this, I was very close to DNF'ing it because of the religious content. But I figured it isn't a religious story; the characters are religious, which would be fitting for the time period and setting.

I'm glad I stuck with it. More character-driven than plot-driven, Call Your Daughter Home introduces us to a wonderful cast of characters. I listened to the audiobook, which was well narrated.

A scene that I will never forget (and may reread the book for) is the birthing scene. I listened to it while driving and nearly had to pull over because I cried so hard.

There is something here ... something about the different relationships that women can have with one another (mother/daughter, friends, employer/employee, etc.) ... I can't name the feeling, but it's something.

Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for a copy of the ARC.
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I can't believe this is a debut novel. It is so well written with characters that feel so real. I adored this book so much. The writing is beautiful, characters are so well done. I absolutely recommend.
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A big thanks to my friend, Chrissie, on Goodreads, for first putting this book on my radar when she read it several months ago. I never would want to miss a book like this! 

This book! Wow. I recently drove through the Lowcountry of South Carolina, and I am pretty certain I saw tiny Branchville on the way. I am looking forward to my next drive through the area now that I feel a little more connected to that particular place, even if in a different time. 

First, I have to mention; the author, Deb Spera, is a writer and producer for shows like Criminal Minds. She has a natural gift for storytelling. I was out-of-this-world impressed with how she told this story. Also of note: her great grandmother and grandmother were from tiny Branchville, South Carolina. Her author’s note at the end left me in tears and feeling even more connected to the story; thinking of my own grandmother and her tiny hometown (in coastal North Carolina). Our grandmothers also shared a distinctive first name. 

Everyone knows what the Depression did to our country, but did you know what the boll weevils did to the south starting in 1918, prior to the Depression? Entire cotton crops were decimated for years, and many, many people starved to death. Call Your Daughter Home is set during this time. 

Told in three women’s voices: the first, a battered wife and mom to four daughters; the wife of a plantation owner; and the head cook and servant of the plantation. Wow, do these women ever offer differing perspectives on this place and time. 

There’s so much goodness here, I don’t even know where to start. There’s also darkness, secrets, and times of trouble. This was not an easy read, though the prose absolutely was. There’s tension and angst, love for family, love for friends who become family, drama, family dynamics; all on a stunning backdrop of this tiny little dot on the map. 

I only wish I could write a tribute to my grandmother and her harsh upbringing, the dire times when she didn’t know whether she would eat as the oldest of nine siblings. Just as Deb Spera said about her grandmother, mine was the matriarch of our family. She was a force. A huge thank you to the author, Deb Spera, for writing a beautiful, powerful novel I found an easy connection, which as readers, we all know is the best kind of reading experience. 

I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
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I loved this book - from the first chapter to the last. The story of three women, who each discovered their own strength to stand up for their families and friends despite the color of their skin or the circumstances that life had given them. This book intertwines their individual paths into a beautiful story of women who recognized a little of themselves in each other, and in the end stood together when it really mattered.
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Call Your Daughter Home is the story of three women from different walks of life in 1924 Branchville, South Carolina.  Deb Spera's debut novel  is a must read!
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WOW!! I cannot get enough of a well told historical fiction story. I loved the perspective from each woman we follow. Open your heart for a story you will not soon forget.
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5 outstanding stars for this brilliant debut novel!

This book has earned top spot on my 2019 Favourites List - I loved every single thing about it!

Gertrude, Retta and Annie are three women from very different backgrounds. Their lives' intertwine and connect throughout this mesmerizing story set on a plantation in South Carolina in 1924. Each woman has a background filled with family tradition, expectations and secrets. Told in alternating perspectives, the novel shifts seamlessly between each character adding layers of detail and intrigue. Racism, poverty, hunger, sexual assault are just a few of the heavy topics covered within this unforgettable tale. It packs a heavy punch and is executed with the force of exceptional, spellbinding writing.

The characters were so well developed and undeniably endearing that I actually miss them now that I have finished the novel. They stole my heart. They were charming, determined, vulnerable, strong and flawed females who each faced their own struggles and challenges. During a time when women were not respected as worthy or independent, these three face their challenges head on.

As I read this story, I continually felt a sense of astonishment that this is a debut novel. The writing is stunning and exquisite. The words flowed off the page effortlessly and landed snuggly inside my heart. The author, Deb Spera, has set the bar high for a spectacular debut novel.

I feel I should give warning that there are some highly disturbing topics covered throughout this book that deal with child abuse. Though these scenes are uncomfortable to read, they are handled in a very mature and respectful manner without getting into extreme detail which I appreciated.

This was a Traveling Sister read with Brenda. We both adored this Southern tale and HIGHLY recommend it. 

Thank you to HarperCollins for sending me a physical ARC to read and review!
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I started reading this book, but was not drawn in  to the story after a few chapters, so I had to put the book down.
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Fantastic and complex. Gritty and doesn’t shy away from the realities of women’s place in society, as well as briefly touching on the ever present racism after the end of slavery in the south.
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Wanting to open another book I recently read (to refer to as I wrote its review) I spotted this title. Knowing both that I'd read it, and that it wasn't in my review drafts, I checked Goodreads and found it was still listed in my TBR as unread. Mystery solved, I decided to go ahead and knock this review out, lest I forget about it all over again.

Call Your Daughter Home take place in the small rural community of Branchville, South Carolina. The year is 1924, and times are hard for everyone following multiple years of boll weevil infestations that destroyed both the cotton crops and the local economy. The story focuses on three women who take turns narrating the story: Gertrude Pardee (impoverished mother of four, is driven to an act of desperation to get away from her violent husband), Annie Coles (matriarch of a prominent family, she mourns her son and is estranged from her daughters), and Retta Bootles (first-generation freed slave and housekeeper for the Coles family, who still grieves for her long-dead daughter). Despite being vastly different in personality (and their places within the community), a bond is formed between when the unthinkable happens.

If I had to pick a favorite character in this novel, it would definitely be Retta. She is the rock that holds everything together when things go bad. She was a steadying presence throughout, and there were many times that I doubted Gertrude or Annie would make it through a difficult situation, were it not for Retta being there. Not to mention, she was easily the most likable character of the three. That's not to say the others were distinctly unlikable, just that I liked her the most.

There were times when I caught myself viewing their reactions to problems with a 21st century mindset, feeling incredulous that that was the way they chose to deal with it. I had to remind myself that things were very different for women in 1924, and even wealthy women like Annie were often powerless when it came to certain difficulties in life. (Something I shouldn't have had to remind myself, considering how much history and historical fiction I read. I'm going to put it down to lack of focus in those moments.)

There was one major event in this story that took center stage. As this event played out, there were moments when I was uncertain of where things were headed. Little did I know it was headed to an explosive resolution that was as shocking as it was heartbreaking—and satisfying.

I enjoyed this novel very much. I only wish I hadn't waited so long to read it.

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of Park Row via Netgalley.
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Call Your Daughter Home #NetGalley

I am not sure I completely understood Call Your Daughter Home.  It took me a very long time to read it as I kept putting it off due to the lack of interest.
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3.5 stars Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for allowing me to read and review this book.

The lives of three southern women in the early 1920's. Unalike in class and standings, but with so many similar hardships. There was Anne, a wealthy aristocrat, blessed with all that money could buy. There was Rhetta, a black maid, a first generation free slave, still working for a white family. Then there was Gertrude, poor, white and beaten by her husband. This story is about how all three came to be connected, friends and in the end caregivers to each other.

Spera, a well known television producer, has now published her first, her debut novel. She admits to using many family stories and basing some of her characters off her own family members and also using some real life places and instances. This novel was developed from a short story that she wrote called 'Alligator'. We can only hope that she takes the rest of those short stories and make novels of each and every one.
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As with most books on NetGalley, this book is a great read. Captivating and intriguing. Thematically beautiful. Gorgeous writing.
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The 1920s in Branchville, South Carolina was a time of racial and economic divisions. Those differences and divisions permeate Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera but are not the story of this book. This book is about about mothers' love that transcends race, religion, and culture. It is the characters and voices of the women that make the book come to life and create the emotional connection that make this a memorable read. 

Read my complete review at 

Reviewed for NetGalley.
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I did not finish Call Your Daughter Home. I thought the synopsis and setting sounded great, but I struggled to feel attached or interested in the characters. I don't love women's fiction, and it felt very women's fiction instead of historical fiction. I think others may enjoy it, but I DNF at 21%
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i really enjoyed this book. it was a great southern lit book. i felt invested in these women's lives and just thoroughly enjoyed it.
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This books was tough to read. Plus it was not what I was expecting. However, it is well written and will make a great library selection.
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