Search This Blog

2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

2024 Challenge Sign-Up Post

January Reviews Link-Up

February Reviews Link-Up

March Reviews Link-Up

April Reviews Link-Up

May Reviews Link-Up

June Reviews Link-Up

July Reviews Link-Up

August Reviews Link-Up

September Reviews Link-Up

October Reviews Link-Up

November Reviews Link-Up

December Reviews Link-Up

My Progress:

9 / 30 books. 30% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona
- Arkansas
- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia
- Hawaii
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan
- Minnesota
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska
- Nevada
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (2)
- North Carolina (2)
- North Dakota
- Ohio
- Oklahoma
- Oregon (2)
- Pennsylvania
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (1)
- Utah
- Vermont (1)
- Virginia (1)
- Washington
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.*

- Australia (1)
- Canada (1)
- England (6)
- France (1)
- Ireland (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

14 / 51 states. 27% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

13 / 50 books. 26% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

18 / 50 books. 36% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

37 / 50 books. 74% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

29 / 52 books. 56% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

22 / 40 books. 55% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

13 / 40 books. 33% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

5 / 25 books. 20% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

22 / 26.2 miles. 84% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

18 / 100 books. 18% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

43 / 104 books. 41% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

35 / 52 books. 67% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

39 / 165 books. 24% done!
Thursday, January 07, 2010

Unique Coal Mining Story Deserves Better

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Life in The Patch is not easy - not for the men and boys who spend their days mining coal, not for the wives and mothers who pray constantly for their safety, and not for the children who swallow toxic coal dust with their every breath. For the McCaffertys and the other immigrant families, ekeing out a living in northeastern Pennsylvania beats starving in their native Ireland. But only just. Not only are the patch families barely scraping by, but the miners' jobs are becoming more and more dangerous as wealthy mine owners scrimp on safety precautions in order to fill coal carts more quickly. The shriek of the breaker whistle comes too often - "accidents" maim, kill, and orphan.

Call Me Kate, Molly Roe's debut novel and the first book in a projected trilogy, starts with the siren's wail. When her best friend charges into the schoolroom one morning, 14-year-old Katie McCafferty knows it can mean only one thing - her father has become the mine's newest victim. Although he survives, his injuries leave him bedridden. Although she loves school, Katie has no choice but to leave the classroom and find work as a servant. When she lands a coveted position in the household of Ario Pardee, a rich mine owner, Katie must prove herself to the demanding houskeeper. Any missteps could mean termination, which will equal no income for her family back in The Patch.

Although Katie works in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, her thoughts are never far from The Patch. With the enactment of the Northern draft (October 1862), tensions are running high between the immigrant miners and the nativists. Rumors of her best friend's involvement in the resistance movement alarms Katie enough to risk her job - not to mention her life - to save him. Can a young lass like her really make a difference in the increasingly dangerous conflict? Can she rescue her friend from his own hard-headedness? Does she have the strength, the courage, to carry out the subterfuge necessary to accomplish the impossible task?

Call Me Kate brings this tumultuous period of history to life, blending period detail with the fictional (but historically accurate) adventures of Katie McCafferty. It's a fascinating glimpse into the stark realities of life as a miner in the late 19th Century. The story's compelling in and of itself, which is a very good thing since Roe's characters leave much to be desired. With little personality; stiff, unnatural conversations; and no real depth, Roe's story people might as well be cardboard cutouts. It doesn't help that the author spends most of the novel telling rather than showing. The tale is rich, exciting, compelling - the characters and storytelling need to be equally so. Flat characters and lackluster prose weigh down what could otherwise be an excellent novel. Molly Roe has a unique story to tell - let's hope the next two novels imbue it with the richness it deserves.

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for some violence

To the FTC, with love: Tribute Books send me a complimentary copy of Call Me Kate for my review. The "price" of the book didn't influence my opinion in any way.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to review "Call Me Kate."


Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Swimming in a Sea of Stars by Julie Wright


The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myer

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive