Call Your Daughter Home Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Featured on Oprah's Summer Reading List
For readers and listeners of Delia Owens' Where the Crawdads Sing and Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, this extraordinary historical debut novel follows three fierce Southern women in an unforgettable story of motherhood and womanhood.
It's 1924 in Branchville, South Carolina, and three women have come to a crossroads. Gertrude, a mother of four, must make an unconscionable decision to save her daughters. Retta, a first-generation freed slave, comes to Gertrude's aid by watching her children, despite the gossip it causes in her community. Annie, the matriarch of the influential Coles family, offers Gertrude employment at her sewing circle, while facing problems of her own at home. These three women seemingly have nothing in common, yet as they unite to stand up to injustices that have long plagued the small town, they find strength in the bond that ties women together. Told in the pitch-perfect voices of Gertrude, Retta, and Annie, Call Your Daughter Home is an emotional, timeless story about the power of family, community, and ferocity of motherhood.
"Like Jill McCorkle and Sue Monk Kidd, Spera probes the comfort and strength women find in their own company." (O, The Oprah Magazine)
"A mesmerizing Southern tale.... Authentic, gripping, a page-turner, yet also a novel filled with language that begs to be savored." (Lisa Wingate, New York Times best-selling author of Before We Were Yours)
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|Listening Length||11 hours and 7 minutes|
|Narrator||Robin Miles, Adenrele Ojo, Brittany Pressley|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||June 11, 2019|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #1,700 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#58 in Family Life Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#110 in Women's Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#115 in Literary Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
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Top reviews from the United States
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It was one of those unexpected pleasures that had me say: “Was this is as good as I thought?” So I had to ponder; think of the story; remember particular parts that grabbed; look again at the words I’ve underlined; consider how the story touched and grew in me; reflect on how I was affected by the good, the abhorrent and the evil; marvel at the turning of phrases; recall crying for some losses, delighting in some victories, and generally caring for the heroines. All of this became my perspective, and I can now answer the question resoundingly and honestly: Yes, this is a magnificent book.
So, let me express my highest regard and respect for Deb Spera’s extraordinary work. And I’ll jump around a bit, as I reflect on the book.
When reading, I realized that there were some phrases I simply loved. So, I began to write a few of them down. The language was of the time and place – rural South Carolina in the 20’s. A sample:
• Old man, you’ve got nothing to say that I want to hear.
• It’s an old song, which I was born knowing
• To love is not God’s hope, but Satan’s need
• If one blinks, the other is blind
• Everyone gets fed when the preacher arrives. He feeds our soul, and we feed his belly.
• A man’s thoughts are a stranger to me.
• Yes, Sir, Preacher changed Odell’s life like only a good friend can.
I was writing these down because I was enchanted by the voice. The language was real and insightful, and genuinely touched me.
I was particularly impressed by Spera’s skill in developing the three protagonists, Retta, Annie and Gertrude. Moving them along, in different settings, circumstances and conflicts, and then bringing them together at the end was a marvelous feat. They were of disparate, incongruous backgrounds and circumstances, with seemingly nothing that would bind them except the writer’s creativity. And while the first two had an elemental humanity from the beginning, I initially disliked Gertrude: selfish, thoughtless, ungrateful. But slowly, her humanity, then her character, and finally, her heroism emerged, and voila, I love the girl. That is magic.
And since I am thinking of scenes and events, one last thought. The telephone call to the daughter’s home in Charleston is an extraordinary piece of writing. Those seven or eight pages embraced character, events, emotions and different plots that simply left me blown away. I was trying to imagine Spera’s own emotions as she crafted the scene, for as a reader, it was powerful indeed.
More than anything, the book is a profile of compassion and hope. Each of the three characters and their derivative daughters, friends and others were bound by some notion that there could be a better day. And by virtue of friendship, caring and humanity, it might be achieved. Even as I write these words, I worry about the banality of my observations. It is presumptuous to tell what an author means, but it is correct to share what the reader feels. That’s the compact between author and reader. Spera’s book is a profile of how people can be compassionate and how they can make a difference.
In my youth, I was consumed by Thomas Wolfe, who these days is much underrated as one of the great Southern writers. He spoke to me as a young man who was yearning – but barely knew it. He’s rightly in the pantheon with Welty, Warren and Faulkner, for each provided magic by capturing the voice and mood of a situation, a place, an era. Deb Spera can stand with all of them.
Get this book. It’s a gem.
All the characters are given attention so the world of this novel is full and interesting.
The voices of the three primary characters are so distinct and their experiences so different yet, as it often is the case when women begin to communicate with one another, there is an understanding that, at heart, can transcend their differences.
This does not discount the specific hardships they had to endure due to poverty and race and just the fact of being strong women. I just wished that things had changed more since 1924.
That is why, despite the time period, their stories are important and reflective of our own 2019.
Set against the backdrop of South Carolina in the 1920s, just prior to the Great Depression, three women from vastly different backgrounds and social standings see their lives insect, and their fortunes shift, as they each struggle to rise above their respective adversities and maintain their core humanity. This auspicious debut from the highly talented Deb Spera, has it all -- authentic characters (male and female) with distinctly powerful voices, a well-researched and compelling historical setting (following the real life boll weevil infestation that devastated the area), a character-driven mystery that propels the plot, and a powerful, unexpected ending that makes stirs the heart and lingers in the soul far after you've closed the cover.
This is a debut not to be missed. Couldn't recommend it more highly.
Top reviews from other countries
The reader finds herself falling in love with some of the characters, cheering them on as they endure pain and shame and fear each and every day of their lives.
We feel the injustice of "the south" . A person's
Sin colour dictates their whole lives, there is no protection for themselves from the law, from neighbours, from family members and learn early in life to always look behind you and only trust "your Momma"but not always !!!
Strong women prevail.