Home for Erring and Outcast Girls

Crown. Jul. 2019. 400p. ISBN 9780451499332. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780451499356. F
Framing a historical story with a contemporary one as in her debut, Calling Me Home, Kibler brings to life a little-known part of Texas history—the operation of the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls, which bucked the conventions of the day and helped unwed mothers keep their children, in the early 1900s. A century later, young university librarian Cate Sutton, escaping a past trauma, becomes fascinated by the women of the home through their stories in the library's archives, as does her student assistant, Laurel. While the author's debut dealt with racism, this novel addresses topics of sexuality and women's issues through the portrayal of two female friendships: Lizzie Bates and Mattie McBride in the 1900s, and Cate and Laurel—all of them in need of escaping their histories.
VERDICT While these characters may not be as captivating to readers as Calling Me Home's unlikely pair of friends, this tale of resilient women has the varied story lines and well-researched historical background to make it a popular book club selection. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]

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