Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires
by Molly Roe


Tribute Books, 2009. ISBN 978-0-981-46195-3.
Reviewed by Becca Taylor
Posted on 11/02/2010

Teen/Girls; Fiction: Historical

Katie McCafferty lives during a time when there are very specific expectations for young girls, common prejudices run rampant, and hardship is a part of everyday life. But Katie, fourteen-year old daughter of an Irish coal miner, has a spirit that is determined to overcome hardship and prejudice. Katie's intensity and ingenuity often help her navigate her difficulties, but they sometimes get her into trouble, too.

From the first page, the reader is swept into the turbulence of Katie's Civil War era life in a coal-mining town. Katie's father is critically injured in a mining accident, and with him out of work her family is immediately thrust into dire circumstances. To keep food on the table, Katie quits school and becomes a housemaid for a local company man. Soon Katie is offered another job in another town as part of the house staff of a wealthy family. While there, Katie learns that one of her oldest childhood friends, Con Gallagher, has become involved in protests against the wartime draft. Katie knows that Con's involvement in the movement will not end well, and in trying to save him she becomes unwittingly involved in the group. As Katie and Con try to extricate themselves from their troubles, they both grow in ways they never anticipated.

Call Me Kate gives the reader a powerful look into the politics and emotions of the Civil War in coal country. Suitable for young teens and adults alike, Call Me Kate also provides an eye-opening look into the many ways young women's lives have changed in 150 years, yet in so many ways have stayed the same. Katie's story is testament to the power of hope and persistence.


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. Mary lives in Dallas, Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and two children. 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.

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