Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Call Your Daughter Home

Title:  Call Your Daughter Home
Author:  Deb Spera
Publication Information:  Park Row. 2019. 352 pages.
ISBN:  0778307743 / 978-0778307747

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "It's easier to kill a man than a gator, but it takes the same kind of wait."

Favorite Quote:  "Listen to what I tell you ... If you reach a point in life where it feels there is only dark around you, that's 'cause there is. You got to find the light. A hole can be a haven, but you can't stay in a hole forever. What's dark must come to light. Every person needs the sun."

The 1920s in Brancheville, South Carolina was a time of racial and economic divisions. Those differences and divisions permeate this book but are not the story of this book. This is a book about women and about mothers. It is about mothers' love that transcends race, religion, and culture.

This is the story of three very different women and the heartaches they bear and the choices they make to protect the ones they love.

Annie is the lady to the manor born. She is the matriarch to the Coles family. She is mother to four grown children - two men and two women. She is a successful business woman in her own right and, at the same time, the Southern belle at the side of her husband. She has seen much in her life, and yet much that should have been evident escaped her notice until now. The question is what will she do now that she knows?

Gertrude is white and poor, married to an abusive drunk. She too is a mother to four children - four young children. Her single sole purpose is to survive and to protect her children from that which she has suffered. She is willing to do whatever she has to save her children.

Retta is a first-generation, freed slave. She works for Annie and is a friend to both Annie and Gertrude. She is in a strong, loving marriage made perhaps even stronger by the losses of their past.

Seemingly, these women have nothing in common, and yet, they are united. That is the theme of this book. What unites these women is their combined strength in standing up for and in protecting their children. "Can't always stand to the side... Sometimes you got to try to change what you don't like."

The story is told through the alternating voices of these three women. It is slow paced and character driven until towards the end. The ending is one I do not see coming but which connects the dots and seems clear when the revelation does arrive. Reader warning: This book does go into issues of abuse against women and children.

"Sheriff said to me, before he left, that maybe people get what they deserve. But I don't believe that's true. My mama didn't deserve to forget the family who loved her, any more than we deserved to see her suffer, any more than Retta and the Missus deserved their heartache. People get what they get." These women get what they get and yet manage to create a life and a family. It is the characters and voices of these women that make the book come to life and create the emotional connection that make this a memorable read. "Men can't bear what women must. They jump to cry insanity as cause for a woman's unhappiness; the utterance of the unutterable must be dementia. It's just too much to consider otherwise."

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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