Call Your Daughter Home
Coming June 11, 2019
A stunning tour de force following three fierce, unforgettable Southern women in the years leading up to the Great Depression
It’s 1924 South Carolina and the region is still recovering from the infamous boll weevil infestation that devastated the land and the economy. Gertrude, a mother of four, must make an unconscionable decision to save her daughters from starvation or die at the hands of an abusive husband. Retta is navigating a harsh world as a first-generation freed slave, still employed by the Coles, influential plantation proprietors who once owned her family. Annie is the matriarch of the Coles family and must come to terms with the terrible truth that has torn her family apart.
These three women seemingly have nothing in common, yet as they unite to stand up to the terrible 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 audacious, timeless story about the power of family, deep-buried secrets and the ferocity of motherhood.
“From the moment I was crouching alongside Gertrude in the heat of an alligator infested swamp, I was hooked by her story, just as I would be upon being introduced to the other two main narrators - big hearted Retta still mourning the death of her little girl, and Annie, isolated by her tyrannical wealthy husband. Together, they tell of their rural lives in a southern town, just after the Civil War, where race and gender are a mighty burden, and where women, despite their station or class, reach out to nurture, keep vigil, and rescue one another. This is a very fine novel with great depth, terrific writing and characters whose faces I will never forget.”
—Nancy Scheemaker, Northshire Books
"Call Your Daughter Home is a bold and mesmerizing debut set in a time and place lost to history; a world rescued now by Deb Spera, a talented storyteller. With lush language, Spera illuminates a powerful story of women, of motherhood and survival."
—Natashia Deón, Author of Grace
"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 Bestselling author of Before We Were Yours
“Deb Spera is an amazing talent, and a powerful female voice. She channels the women in this gripping novel—Gertrude, Oretta, and Annie—like someone who has lived inside them. I cannot recommend it strongly enough.”
—Mark Bowden, New York Times and international bestselling author of Black Hawk Down
“Call Your Daughter Home is a stunning and welcome addition to Southern Literature. Set in South Carolina during the 20s, it tells a powerful story of women, family, class, and race.”
—Chris Offutt, author of Country Dark
“A ferociously moving story of motherhood and justice, relayed through a trio of radiantly unforgettable voices. Deb Spera is a conjurer of the first rank.”
—Jonathan Miles, New York Times bestselling author of Dear American Airlines and Want Not
“Fans of Mudbound and The Secret Life of Bees are going to embrace Call Your Daughter Home.”
—Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books
“Sit back and enjoy. This southern novel of family, secrets, and redemption should be at the top of your reading stack. Gertrude, Annie, and Retta narrate this absorbing tale set among the secrets of a small town. These women are fierce. They are ready to sacrifice all for their families."
—Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop
“Deb Spera is a master of voice, a master of deep-diving access to the roiling depths of human identity. These three women, in their fierce struggle for values and self, speak to those struggles in all of us, men and women both. Call Your Daughter Home is an exhilarating and important book.”
—Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize winning author of, A Good Scent From A Strange Mountain.