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. Call Your Daughter Home is an emotional, timeless story about the power of family, community, and ferocity of motherhood.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
It’s easier to kill a man than a gator, but it takes the same kind of wait.
I won’t lie, I originally picked this book because of the cover and the promise of a Crawdads-like story, but I’m so glad I did! I really loved this story! The first line (above) hooked me from the from the start and I knew it was going to be a great book, and it absolutely lived up to its promise. I finished this book weeks ago, only now sitting to write the review, and even this long after finishing it, I can’t stop thinking about these characters and this story. I’m already thinking of a second listen.
But seriously, how beautiful is that cover? I felt inspired to create a granny square that was all moody sunset, but my scrap yarn selection was unhelpful. Still I love how it turned out! That center is actually the lightest peachy-pink and the final round isn’t purple but dark blue. I couldn’t get my lighting to represent the colors very well. Sigh. Still, it’s a whole vibe and I love it.
This is a story of three women doing what it takes to take care of their families and their community. Each woman offers a different viewpoint, but all are equally well-thought out and depicted. Gertrude suffers the fist of her drunk husband and, after she and her daughters nearly starve to death, she takes matters into her own hands, moving back to her hometown, securing work and a house to rent. Retta, who is probably my favorite character of the story for her no-nonsense manner and her kind heart, is the daughter of a former enslaved woman, still working for the same family as housekeeper and cook. Annie, the wife of the most prominent man in town, is Retta’s employer and owner of the sewing circle business where Gertrude comes to work.
As events unfold and past sins are discovered, these women will stand their ground together, for their children, for each other, and for their community.
I listened to the audiobook version, which was so well done and I highly recommend. Three different women have been cast for each of our main characters and they really bring the story to life.
This is a binge-worthy read/listen that is both haunting and heartening. If you loved Where the Crawdads Sing and have been looking for another book with the same slow burn Southern vibes, strong female characters, and swamp justice, then Deb Spera’s Call Your Daughter Home should definitely be added to your TBR.
Until next time, happy reading!
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