'Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires'
By: Molly Roe
Published: Tribute Books; Nov. 2008
Synopsis: 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 challenge Katie's strength and ingenuity, and she faces a crisis of conscience. Can she 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.
My Take: The synopsis of this book intrigued me. I've been offered a lot of young adult books to read, even though that's not my forte but they've all been set in modern times. Yet, as a young adult once, the books I preferred to read were always set in the past. That's how I became the historical fiction addict you see glimpses of today. So when this book popped up I thought it might be a good one. The Civil War era was one of my favorites to read about and I haven't read much set in coal mining towns.
Our heroine is Kate McCafferty who, when the book opens, is 14 and is living a life that while sitting on my couch while I was under a warm blankie sipping some tea I was not envious of. She lives in a coal mining town in Pennsylvania. Her family is poor, heck the whole town is poor. However the family does love each other fiercely but when Kate's dad gets in the inevitable mining accident and can no longer go to work Kate must stop going to school and must start working, and it seems like really hard work at that. First she is a maid for a nearby widow but eventually she has to leave her family and move to the big city. Her life was not unusual for those of her time, and coming from her perspective it was told well if however predictable the storyline might have been.
Once in the big city Kate becomes a lot more aware of the goings on with War, the unrest of miners and what may come of these two things. See you could get out of fighting if you could find a replacement or $300 but obviously if you were poor these were not an option so the people fighting the war at first were all poor and clearly this was unbalanced and there was unrest. Hence in the Irish communities organizations formed to fight back and one such group was named the Molly Maguires. Without giving away the plot, Kate does some bold moves because our heroine is plucky.
Young girls might be envious of her and her pluck or they might, like me, know exactly where the story was going. However Mom's thought enough of this one to make it a Silver Recipient of the Moms Choice Awards so that probably counts for something!
(Thank you to Tribute Books for sending me this book)