Saturday, July 30, 2011

Call Me Kate by Molly Roe: A Book Review (Historical Fiction)

When you think back to what you learned in history class, what comes to mind?
Are strings of people, places and dates running through your brain?
Or, do you recall particular figures who’s story was so interesting that it captivated you?

I know that for me and many others, it is far more interesting to read about people who walked before us.  Even historical fiction, which takes historical events and people and embellishes to bring intriguing stories presents a more palatable way to expand our knowledge and appreciation of history.  Call Me Kate by Molly Roe meets the criteria of bringing historical events to life beyond a dry retelling in the history books.  I would even wager that many of us have little background or knowledge of the unrest among mining communities of Pennsylvania during the Civil War.
Call Me Kate illustrates the harsh living conditions many immigrant workers faced as well as the unsafe working environment for the boys and men who worked in the coal mines.  Kate is a young girl who finds her dreams of completing school thwarted after her father is in a mine accident.  While he does not meet the same fatal end as others, he is no longer able to work.  So, Kate begins her life as a servant to help the family survive.
At first, she works for a local man while he awaits the arrival of a female relative to tend to his needs around the house.  She misses the simplicity of life before employment, yet finds a balance between work and play as she becomes friends with sisters that live near her employers house.  And, she begins to transition into adulthood with feelings towards one neighborhood boy moving from friend to something else.

When that short term job ends, she is then faced with moving away from her family and all she knows.  Seeing anger in her one friend after his brother is seriously injured in the mine, she also brings her worries about what he might do and how he might be involved with the Molly Maguires.  Under the employment of a rich and powerful businessman’s vacation home, she makes the decision to take action to protect those she loves back home.  There’s plenty of action and tension as Ms. Roe weaves her tail of Kate infiltrating the Molly Maguires in an attempt to save her friend and ultimately save lives.

Throughout the story are references to faith, specifically Catholicism.  You can get a sense of the prejudices faced by the Irish Catholic immigrants in that area, especially when Kate is informed that ALL servants of her new employer must attend services with the employing family.  To her relief, the local priest provides counsel that she follow her employers wishes and come to Mass as frequently as she can attend.

Call Me Kate
is inspired by the stories Ms. Roe’s aunt shared of the family members who came before them, yet pulls in facts from a variety of references to ensure authenticity with regard to events mentioned in the story.  Published by Tribute Books, Call Me Kate is available in hardback, paperback, or electronic format through the publisher or on Amazon

Enjoy the book trailer…

Read an excerpt of Call Me Kate

And find out more about the author…
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.  You can find Molly Roe on Facebook or the Molly Roe blog.

Disclaimer ~ I was provided with a pdf copy of Call Me Kate for the purpose of completing this review.  No other compensation was provided and the opinions expressed are my own.

Guest Blogger, Laura O'Neill , is a Catholic Homeschooling mom that blogs at Day by Day in Our World
"A Catholic homeschool family with four boys sharing from their lives in Alaska as well as product reviews and giveaways."

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