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Arlington writer Julie Kibler’s debut book, Calling Me Home, was released a few months back, so call us nuts for just now noticing how assuredly written--and impressively readable--it is.

The story treads familiar Help-esque ground (it’s about the friendship between an elderly white woman and her black hairdresser), but it stands tall on its own, thanks to feel-like-you-know-them characters and a compulsive plot that jumps back and forth between eras.

The story starts in Arlington with 89-year-old Isabelle McAllister asking her stylist, Dorrie, to drive her to Ohio for mysterious reasons. Dorrie agrees, hopeful she can better understand her guarded friend.

From there, intriguing details of Isabelle’s past begin to unravel--her untenable romance in the ‘40s and its tragic consequences--and we found ourselves unable to stop reading until we hit the very last page.

It’s hard to believe this is Kibler’s first book, but we’re happy to claim this fierce emerging talent as North Texas’s very own.

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