Review: I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

Description (from cover):

‘An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband in the Union army, 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 marriage 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.’

My thoughts:

I absolutely devoured this book. This story was absolutely beautiful and near impossible to put down. I loved Rosetta’s character and her strong will and her willingness to face danger to be beside her one true love. Rosetta is determined not to be left behind when her new husband, Jeremiah, enlists in the Union army. She cuts off her hair and enlists to be by Jeremiah’s side. McCabe does a fantastic job of showing the reader the harsh realities of war life. The lack of food, the inhumane conditions and the brotherhood the soldiers had in the face of danger. Where the next moment is undecided and anything can happen in the blink of an eye.
I absolutely loved Jeremiah and Rosetta’s love story and it really shows us the struggle that the Civil War created across the nation. Not just in war, but how it split up relationships and changed people. For this book being a debut for this author, I think that she did a phenomenal job and I really hope she continues writing. She has a real talent that cannot be ignored. To be able to take something so horrific and make it into a beautiful story, is a real talent and this author has it in spades. If you love historical fiction, you absolutely cannot miss this new talent. Pick this book up right away.
I read this book in one day. It was riveting and absolutely keep my attention. I couldn’t help reading it because I wanted to see what happened to the main characters. Does their love carry them through the dangers of war or will their love story be another casualty of a brutal war? Touching and emotional, this book makes it clear that love can overcome all things. I highly encourage lovers of historical fiction, who like to read something different, will love this story.

Overall Rating: 5

Title:  I Shall Be Near to You
Author:  Erin Lindsay McCabe
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Crown
Publication Date:  January 28, 2014
Pages:  320
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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