Sunday, May 29, 2016

I Shall be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

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 incredubous 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. "From the Hardcover edition."




My heart hurts and my stomach aches. This book wrecked me, but in the best way possible. When an Author can write a story that is based around a tragic historical time and make it beautiful I am held captive by ink. This book made me feel like few others have. It pulled me in and swallowed me up. My whole heart was filled with hope and compassion and towards the end the words slowly broke me. Tears filled my eyes and butterflies eased their way to my stomach. Each page led to an intense inner battle that not only affected the fictional world, but also my reality. My mood fell somber and I had to let the words carry me through the final pages.

To say Rosetta is a fierce heroine is an understatement... For the pains that she experienced and things she willingly gave up for love made her not only strong on the inside, but also on the outside. She took on a new role and did everything she could to protect the one she loved. She served her country and fought like few other women could. The relationship between her and Jeremiah is one of devotion, sacrifice, friendship, and compassion. Things weren't always simple, but together they faced it with unity. It was a classic timeless romance they shared, but also a tragic gut wrenching love. It brought commitment into focus and showed us that it's not about the time together, but how we spend that time...

The book seemed to wrap around me like a ribbon... With each page, I turned in another circle. And another. And another until finally my arms were bound at my sides with nowhere to go. It took self identity and strength to cut the ties and get the freedom I searched for. I picture that is how Rosetta felt... Wrapped up in secrets, lies, and love. Completely and utterly lost until the point of being found. I imagine that she always felt safe in the shadow of Jeremiah, but desperately needed to find herself in order to let go completely. Love grounded her, but fight is what pushed her to live.

I obviously was overwhelmed and have all kinds of personal feelings I could spill, but I will stop and leave you with this. If you love an epic love story with historical roots and inspirational ties, BUY THIS BOOK. It shall be near to your heart forever. That I can promise you.

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