Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I Shall By Near You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Crown
Pages: 320

An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband in the Civil War, inspired by a real female soldier's letters home
   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.
   Rosetta drills with the men, prepares herself for battle, and faces the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Fearing discovery of her secret, Rosetta’s strong will clashes with Jeremiah’s as their marriage is tested by war. Inspired by over two hundred and fifty 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.
 
My Thoughts
It's the rare book that can make me cry, but I had some eye leakage with this one. 

It took me forEVER to start reading it. I'd get started, read the first chapter, and put it away. I only read it because it was due back to the library the next day and kept seeing things about it pop up on the Internet. I am so glad I actually read this instead of sending it back and giving up. 

After the first 4 chapters, it gets much more interesting (at least it did to me.) I didn't love the beginning but once I got to the part where Rosetta decides to find Jeremiah, I was hooked. Then the writing and the story just take off and don't let you go. And then it doesn't stop until it rips your heart out and stomps on it 18 times and then IT ENDS VERY ABRUPTLY AND MAKES YOU WANT TO DIE A LITTLE.  

Excellent book. Excellent writing. A++, will probably buy this as gifts for friends who like historical fiction. And as for me, I wrote down all the books the author mentions in the acknowledgements and will be reading them. I have always been fascinated by women disguising themselves as men and fighting during the Civil War, and this book has renewed my interest. Particularly with the tidbit in the acknowledgements that a woman was known to have fought in a big battle during her 2nd trimester, later give birth, and then RETURN TO FIGHTING WHAT.

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