Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Review of Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires

Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires

Author: Molly Roe
Illustrator: John Garrett Slaby

Tribute Books

YA Historical Fiction
168 pages

ISBN: 978-0-9814619-3-9 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-9814619-5-3 (hardcover)
                                                         Also available in Ebook, Kindle, iPad, and Nook

Coming of age amidst the seething unrest of the Civil War era, feisty fourteen-year-old Katie McCafferty infiltrates the Molly Maguires, a secret Irish organization, to rescue a lifelong friend.  Under the guise of Dominick, a draft resister, Katie volunteers for a dangerous mission in hopes of preventing bloodshed.  Katie risks job, family, and ultimately her very life to intervene.  A series of tragedies challenges Katie's strength and ingenuity, and she faces a crisis of conscience.  Can she balance her sense of justice with the law?

Through 14-year-old Catharine (Katie) Agnes McCafferty, we learn about the everyday life and struggles of Irish immigrant families living in a Pennsylvania coalmine town called "The Patch."  This is at the beginning of the Civil War in 1861.  We learn how dangerous it was to be a coalminer and about the unsafe work practices that went on in the mines.  We learn that boys, as young as 7 or 8, took jobs as nippers, butties, or breaker boys to work in or around the coalmines.  We also learn about the early drafts of the Civil War and how the slogan "rich man's war, poor man's fight" became popular.

When Katie's dad is injured in a cave-in, she leaves school to work as a domestic to help her family pay the rent and other household expenses.  Eventually she takes another job working for Mr. Pardee, the wealthy owner of the mine in "The Patch."  When she learns how a lifelong friend is mixed up with the Molly Maguires, she decides she must do whatever she can to make sure he is safe. 

Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires took me back in time to learn what life was like in a coalmine town during the Civil War.  The author did a wonderful job of drawing me into the story and the lives of Katie, her family, friends and neighbors.  I wanted to learn more about them and their everyday struggles to survive.  This book is not only for YA readers, but also for adults of any age who want to learn more about this time in American history. 


Tribute Books said...

Suzanne - thanks for sharing 'Call Me Kate' with your blog readers. We appreciate your support of the book.

I'm so glad that you enjoyed it. Molly really brings to the forefront the issues of the Civil War time period for coal mining towns in the North. It is heartbreaking the conditions they had to endure - especially the young boys toiling in the mines.

For those who love young adult historical fiction - this is a must read.

Best wishes,
Tribute Books

Mason Canyon said...

Enjoyed your review. This sounds like a very interesting and intriguing book. I'm adding it to my wish list. Thanks for letting me know about it.

Thoughts in Progress

Angela Ackerman said...

I am always amazed at how hard Historical writers must work to both draw us into the world of the story and maintain historical accuracy. Sounds like this author did a great job. :)

Angela @ the Bookshelf Muse

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Nice review, Susanne. I just read the book and even though I have a whole library of Civil War books, I'd never read about the coal mines and workers. Interesting take on the war.

Stephen Tremp said...

Writing historical fiction is difficult so props to Molly Roe and the research she performed. I write in the present because its so challenging to write about another era as the setting. Best wishes for your success.

Stephen Tremp

Susan Hornbach said...

A wonderful review Susanne! This story sounds like it is packed with emotion, as well as being entertaining and educational. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments about the book review. I enjoy learning about Civil War history, but I didn't remember ever hearing about the Molly Maguires until I read this book. I found it very interesting.

I hope you'll all get a chance to stop by on Monday when I share a ten question interview with the author.

Have a great weekend!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Call Me Kate sounds wonderful! I adore hf! Thanks, Susanne...


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