I Shall Be Near to You is the Debut novel my Erin Lindsay McCabe and it is available today, January 28th! I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for a review, however, I will be going to my local book store tomorrow to purchase my own copy in support of this wonderful new author and this amazing novel.
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.
(Synopsis taken from Goodreads.com)
I have known for a long time that women served as soldiers during the Civil War, but never researched in much. While earning my M.A. in history I took several classes on the Civil War and focused much of my research on women's roles during the war, but that mostly covered their efforts on the home front, their role in forming the Sanitation Commission and in various other positions. I never explored women as soldiers. I Shall Be Near to You, is based on the real letters of a women, Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman, who disguised herself as a man and fought. You can read her letters and learn more in.....
I just received a copy of this book and have read a tiny bit, but I am very excited to learn more about Sarah Wakeman and her experiences as a solider. Having served as a female soldier myself, I know a bit about what it takes to serve alongside men and to prepare for combat, however, I cannot comprehend the courage these women had to live as men and fight in the incredibly brutal Civil War. They deserve our recognition and our admiration.
I strongly encourage you to read this book, it is truly an amazing experience. And like I mentioned in my review, I would love to see this as a movie, so long as it stayed true to the novel. I just want to keep reliving Rosetta's story!