Saturday, 21 April 2012

"Julie" by Catherine Marshall

Julie by Catherine Marshall

 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof."

 (Psalm 46:1-3 KJV)

Oft times when an author has become very famous for one book or novel, their other titles are forgotten and ignored.

Unfortunately, I believe this to be the case in regards to the authoress Catherine Marshall.  Most famous, and deservedly so, for Christy, Catherine Marshall also authored eighteen additional books; including, a second novel entitled Julie.  While Christy was written about Catherine’s mother Lenora, Julie was written about her own life during the years of 1934-1935.

In January of 1984, Leonard LeSourd, Catherine’s second husband and editor, wrote the forward to Julie and said this about his late wife, “In many ways Julie is Catherine’s own story, because the passion for causes, the quest for faith and the courageous spirit in Julie Wallace were also in Catherine.”

This is the story of Catherine’s life…

“…In September 1934, when my family and I stopped for a glimpse of the town that was to be our new home.  The sky was fresh-washed that afternoon, the storm clouds lifting.  How soon those clouds were to return, and with what devastation, none of us in the fall of 1934 could have dreamed…” (Julie 2).

And it is a heart-wrenching story.  One of love, loss, yearning, growth, faith, and friendship.  A story of tragedy and triumph.  The story of a girl coming of age in a new town during the Depression years.

The Family

Julie Paige Wallace is a fighter.  She fights for her family, her faith, the truth, and equality in the world. 

The fall of 1934, the Wallace family receives the first glimpse of their new hometown, Alderton, Pennsylvania.  The move, a new start, after a year of hardship and a decision made by Julie’s father, to leave the pastorate, and his church in the town of Timmeton, Alabama.  Leaving your life behind to start-over in a new town is a always a difficult decision; leaving your life behind to start-over in a new town, in a new career, and during the Great Depression is akin to madness or desperation.  In the Wallace’s case, it is desperation.

Julie’s Father: Kenneth Timothy Wallace (David Grantland of Christy)
Julie’s Mother: Louise Wallace (Christy Huddleston of Christy-True name Lenora Wood)
Julie Paige Wallace: 17 years
Julie’s Brother: Timothy “Tim” Wallace-11 Years
Julie’s Sister: Anne-Marie Wallace-9 Years

The depression year; 1934, the new town; Alderton, Pennsylvania, the new career; publisher of a small-town newspaper, The Alderton Sentinel. 

The Preparer

The family’s first friend in their new town, is a man by the name of Dean Fleming.  The description at the beginning of the novel for Dean is, “Retired railroad machinist, and repairer of equipment at The Sentinel.”  Although this description is accurate for him, Dean Fleming is much more than just a repair man.  Dean was blessed the gift of being able to understand people to their very core and know just what they needed.  A man of great faith, who is willing to share and teach what was taught to him by a man named John Hammond.  {John Hammond’s character was based on Frank(Francis Edmund) Higgins (1865-1915)}.  Regrettably, I have not taken the time to research this seemingly great man and so cannot give any information on him.}

I admire, trust, respect, and would have loved to have met Dean Fleming.  He not only helped the family with the running of their newspaper, but he guided and encouraged them emotionally and more importantly, spiritually.   Through him, the family increased, strengthened, and restored their faith. 

Dean’s section is entitled The Preparer because of the group he lead in the book, a group passed down to him from John Hammond.  The Preparers is a men’s group which has as its foundation a commitment to serving Christ.  A secretive group based on the scripture of ‘tell no man,’ they meet regularly and decide which projects to take on.  In one case, they took on repairing the faith of this family.  Their reason, “Ken has been hurt by fellow Christians [those belonging to his church back in Timmeton].  Therefore fellow Christians should be the ones to help him get back on his feet” (Julie 362).

The Tragedy

It is beyond my ability to try and condense the tragedy of Julie into a blog posting.  What I can say, is that it is based on the Johnstown flood; an event that Catherine Marshall was very intrigued by.  Nineteen minutes are encapsulated in five chapters of the novel.  Nineteen terrifying and tragic minutes in which hundreds of lives are changed; all because of the greed of one man and those who did not have the strength of mind and spirit to stand up for what was true and correct.


Although, at its beginning, Julie seems to be about a girl struggling to grow up in small depression town, but it is so much more than that.  Correct, the book occurs during a time when Julie graduates from high school, falls in love, and enjoys working at the newspaper, but that is not the main aspect.  It is about Julie becoming a woman a faith.

The Julie who was Catherine Marshall.


I ask that you read Julie.  You will cry; but you will also laugh, and learn, and grow.  


1 comment:

  1. I have read Christy 'umpteen' times - it is by my bedside; so I was intrigued to see what her second "girls" book would be about. I did enjoy Julie - not in the same ways, but it was equally well-written. It is definitely a girl's book. Both books encourage young women to have values, to look beyond the obvious, and to stand by their convictions.



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