Catherine “Katie” McCafferty is an Irish immigrant living in the Patch. Coal mining is a large industry in Pennsylvania, and poor working conditions, being paid in script, and the ever-present danger of working in the mines complicates the lives of those living in the Patch.
Tragedy comes to Katie’s family and she is forced to leave school and take a job as a domestic to help her family survive. The Civil War has burbled along for months, but when the northern draft is enacted in the fall of 1862, new troubles fall on people in the Patch. Now breadwinners are expected to leave the mines and fight in Lincoln’s War, further tightening the noose around their necks.
In order to rescue a lifelong friend from the escalating violence, Katie disguises herself as a draft register and infiltrates a secret Irish organization, hoping to prevent bloodshed. But what will happen if her ruse is discovered? And can Katie balance her sense of justice with the law?
Historical fiction has always been one of my favorite genres. As someone who has studied the Civil War, I had heard of the Molly Maguires, but honestly I never researched this organization fully. Historians are conflicted on their views of the Mollies, with some believing the organization used intimidation and violence against the mining companies; whereas others believe the Mollies were victims of more violence than they ever stirred up.
In Call Me Kate, Katie’s lifelong friend and potential suitor is drawn into the Mollies after a tragic accident. She fears for Con’s life and decides she must infiltrate the organization in order to convince Con to stop what the Mollies are planning. This is a dangerous scheme, as not only must she pose as a man, it’s possible she could be recognized by other residents of the Patch.
Roe has created a superb coming-of-age story with a relatable, likeable, independent-minded heroine who is willing to do whatever it takes to save her family and Con. The author’s attention to detail and knowledge of the region add much to this book.
Young adults will be captivated by Katie’s story and looking forward to the next two books in Roe’s planned trilogy of historical novels based upon her ancestors. After reading Call Me Kate, I know I’m eager to read them.
Molly Roe is the pen name of Mary Garrity Slaby, a veteran language arts & reading teacher at Lake-Lehman Junior Senior High School. Mary holds a Ph.D. in education from Temple University, and Pennsylvania teaching certification in six areas. She has pursued the hobby of genealogy for the past decade. Mary was born in Philadelphia, raised in Schuylkill County, and currently lives in Dallas, Pennsylvania with her husband, John. They are parents of two grown children, Melissa and John Garrett, cover illustrator of Call Me Kate. Digging into the past has given Mary newfound respect for her ancestors and a better understanding of history. Call Me Kate is the first in the author’s trilogy of historical novels loosely based on the lives of the strong women who preceded her.
Is it possible a month has passed since my last From the Family Bookshelf column appeared? I swear it couldn’t have, but the last one is dated September 21st, so I guess time slipped away from me.
All of us have been busy. Swimming lessons and dance lessons have started. Dad has been working like crazy. I have been up to my eyeballs with promoting my first children’s book, Little Shepherd, coordinating book tours, and reading. Not to mention family stuff.
Dad finally finished Vince Flynn’s The Third Option. Now he is reading Prince Caspian, which is part of The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Though I have seen various movie adaptations of this book and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I’ve never read the books. We have the set here, so I’ll have to change that one day.
The Lil Diva is back to reading thanks to school. She read Ginger the Stray Kitten by Holly Webb again. She’s also read a couple of books on Justin Bieber and one on the Jonas Brothers. Just think of what she’ll be like in five years if she’s already into teenage pop stars now. She is currently reading Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. We saw a stage production of Charlotte’s Web while we were in North Carolina. She came home wanting to read the book, but hasn’t gotten around to it until now.
The Lil Princess is reading anything and everything. We’re on our second round of Pink Princess Rules the School by Alyssa Crowne. She has brought home books from her school library every week since it opened. This week she has a nonfiction book about puppies. She’s hoping we buy her Green Princess Saves the Day, also by Crowne. Green is her favorite color.
As for me, little ole Mom, I’ve been reading and reading and reading. I just finished Invisible Path by Marilyn Meredith. This is the latest book in her Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. Marilyn is going on a virtual book tour with this book next month.
I also recently finished A Despicable Profession by John Knoerle, a post-WWII spy thriller, and the legal thriller, Buying Time by Pamela Samuels Young. Both books are excellent and I would highly recommend them. Before those two I read:
The Lil Princess and I also plowed through a box of books from tiger tales. These books are all part of their Fall/Winter collection. You’ll see review coming for them soon. Last night I polished off the award-winning Call Me Kateby Molly Roe. This is a young adult historical. I began reading Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten.
That’s it for this issue of From the Family Bookshelf. Until next time, keep reading!