JULIE by Catherine Marshall


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Like Christy (1967), this second novel by inspirational author Marshall is message-heavy, modestly sentimental, tidily contrived, with difficulties overcome by both grit and faith. The Wallace family--Father, mother Louise, 18-year-old Julie, pre-teeners Timmy and Anne-Marie--arrive in the 1934 steel town of Alderton, Pa., in their rattling Willys-Knight. Father, affectionately dubbed ""the Editor"" by Julie, has left his post as preacher in an Alabama church after unsuccessfully trying to integrate it--and now the family money is sunk in a struggling weekly, the Alderton Sentinel. But Alderton is a company town; the McKeever family, owners of Yoder Steel, rule with an iron hand--low wages, a feeble Yoder-supervised ""union,"" decaying worker houses in the illness-ridden ""Lowland"" section. And the Editor, who left his faith somewhere in Alabama, is no crusader. So the local voice for change will come from Spencer Meloy, new preacher at the Baker Memorial Church, dominated by the McKeevers and allies--who are displeased to learn that Meloy is committed to righting social wrongs. (He'd even invite Lowlanders and Negroes to the church!) Meanwhile, Julie discovers that a local dam, which holds back a Noah's flood of water, looks suspiciously infirm. She also discovers disturbing new acquaintances: limping, bear-like Dean Fleming, a bewildering fellow who repairs presses, free, and seems to exert a strong influence on the Editor; handsome Englishman Randolph Wilkinson, strangely attractive manager of an Élite club near the dam; attentive classmate Graham. So with Julie as investigative reporter, the Editor finally rallies to the good cause--thanks to a secret Christian brotherhood: the Sentinel manages to survive McKeever boycotts and threats (break-ins, smashed machinery, a poisoned dog); and finally, after a major Wallace family tragedy and a giant town catastrophe, Aldertonians pull together. Irresistible fare for Marshall followers--with Christian activism, convincing views of steel mill workings, seeping dams, and a whale of a flood.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1984
Publisher: McGraw-Hill