Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

From the Back Cover

An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband, inspired by the letters of a remarkable female soldier who fought in the Civil War. 

Rosetta doesn't want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they'll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she's always worked by her father’s side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she's told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier.

With the army desperate for recruits, Rosetta has no trouble volunteering, although she faces an incredulous husband. She drills with the men, proves she can be as good a soldier as anyone, and deals with the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Rosetta's strong will clashes with Jeremiah's while their marraige is tested by broken conventions, constant danger, and war, and she fears discovery of her secret even as they fight for their future, and for their lives. 

Inspired by more than 250 documented accounts of the women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story, in Rosetta’s powerful and gorgeous voice, of the drama of marriage, one woman’s amazing exploits, and the tender love story that can unfold when two partners face life’s challenges side by side.

Book Review

This impressive novel, is the story of one woman’s bravery and gumption as she fights alongside men in one of the hardest fought civil wars in history. Author Erin Lindsay McCabe spent years researching the phenomenon of women disguised as men in order to fight a war.

The novel begins with Sarah Rosetta Wakefield's early family life and her motivation to leave her family to join the army. The duties she was assigned and the battles she fought are based on her own story, and that of other women, who secretly enlisted in the army.

In a poignant, authentic first person narrative, I could not help but to be drawn into the struggles and challenges Sarah so stoically faced. From first page to last, this was a gripping tale demonstrating the guts and glory and indescribably courage the few exemplary women demonstrated in order to be near their husbands or simply to seek to improve their circumstances for later in their lives.

"I Shall Be Near To You" is based on factual events, and is full of vibrancy and emotion. It is definitely a must read! Buy it for your mothers, wives, or daughters!

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