Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires by Molly Roe
Publisher: Tribute Books
Release date: November 24, 2008
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. 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.
Call Me Kate was an intriguing and unique read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I hate to say this, but I probably would never have picked this up if I hadn't been contacted to review it. I'm so glad I excepted the query because this was a fascinating novel.
I've read a lot about the Civil War, but this is the first time I've ever read about how it impacted the Irish immigrants and other people living in the North. Katie's life was difficult from the start. Her family was already struggling to make ends meet and when her father gets into a near fatal mining accident, Katie must leave home to find work. Reading about the coal mining industry was especially interesting. I've never really heard much about it, and it was especially interesting to read about the opinions of the miners and their family on the War. The Irish played a big part in the Civil War and one of my favorite aspects of the story was the Molly Maguires and Katie's involvement with them. The Molly Maguires, or Mollies, were another aspect of the Civil War I'd never heard of. Katie was a supremely brave character and for some reason I love novels where the main female character disguises herself as boy (think Bloody Jack). It proved how strong and independent Katie was and how much she wanted to make a difference. Females didn't have a lot of rights during the Civil War era, so Katie did what she could to help out her friends and family.
I really grew attached to Katie by the end of the story. Even though the novel was short, under 200 pages, I got to know Katie quite well. Although some of the other characters weren't as well developed, I did like them. Especially Patrick, Wynnie, and Con. There are a variety of characters introduced and mentioned in this novel (both fictional and not). The plot was very fast paced and even though at some points I felt it got a little too text bookey, Call Me Kate was very well written and I had a hard time putting it down. I just had to find out what was going to happen in the end.
Historical fiction has always been one of my favorite genres. I love reading about my favorite time periods and historical figures, but I always get excited to read about a time in history I don't know much about. Molly Roe wrote a fabulous novel that opened my eyes to some of the things that occurred during the Civil War not mentioned in history classes.
Overall, Call Me Kate was an exciting and original debut that I definitely recommend picking up.
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars