Author: Molly Roe
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Tribute Books
Buy Link: http://www.tribute-books.com/minicart/products.html#Call
ISBN: 9780981461939 (PB)
Release Date: November 2008
Rating: 4.5 of 5.0
Author Blog: http://conversationsfromthesideporch.blogspot.com/
Blurb: The Civil War Draft Meets Immigrant Coal Miners
Fourteen-year-old Katie McCafferty risks job, family, and eventually her very life to rescue a lifelong friend. Disguised as a draft resister, Katie infiltrates a secret Irish organization to prevent bloodshed. Tragedies challenge her strength and ingenuity, and she faces a crisis of conscience. Can Katie balance her sense of justice with the law?
Call Me Kate is suitable for readers from eleven to adult. The story is dramatic and adventuresome, yet expressive of daily life in the patches of the hard coal region during the Civil War era. This novel will appeal to readers of the Dear America series, as well as more mature readers who will enjoy the story’s rich context and drama.
Review: This is a wonderful and engaging story that taught me much more of the coal miner difficulties during the Civil War than I remember from history classes!
Kate is just as you might imagine a young feisty Irish lass!! She loves her family, is loyal to her friends, hardworking, determined and stubborn! She is the eldest of three girls born to Irish parents who lost their infant son on the passage to America - the land of opportunity.
The story tells you of the hardships that Kate’s family and young friends struggle with in a coal town in Eastern Pennsylvania. It describes the colliery and the close knit "patch" – the small village of company owned homes built near the mines. Kate has to cope with the grief of injury and death consistent with coal mining. After her father is injured and unable to work, Kate accepts domestic employment at the wealthy home of one of the mine owners. There she hears plans to capture the Molly Maguires – one of the groups who are rebelling against the conscription (draft) of the Irish men for the Union army. One of the conspirators at risk is her close childhood friend.
Many of the Irish have not been given citizenship and are looked down upon and ridiculed. They are working in terrible conditions in the coal mines where they are often paid in script that can only be spent in the company owned stores. Now the men are being forced to go to war and risk their lives leaving behind families with no man to support them.
This would be a wonderful book for teens to read for fun learning and it is a very engaging read for adults too! The book comes with Literary Circle Questions for discussion and a glossary of terms that may be unfamiliar – like colliery and patch. The writing is easy and flows with good story telling. I was sorry when the book suddenly ended as I was ready for more of Kate’s story!
I am pleased that this is just the first of a series. The working title of the next book is Sarah’s Story: The Curse on Centralia. This one is also about the Molly Maguires, but this time the story follows Kate’s younger sister, Sarah McCafferty, to the town of Centralia.
Summary: A devastating mine fire that started in the 1860s has reduced Centralia to a mere six residents. Was the fire the result of a curse placed on the Mollies a hundred years earlier? That’s the question that inspired Sarah’s Story.
THANK YOU to Tribute Books for providing this book for review!