Good morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Erin Lindsay McCabe's I Shall Be Near To You. Thanks to the publisher, I'm able to offer up one copy in a giveaway so be sure to read to the bottom to enter to win.
It's 1862 and Jeremiah Wakefield is planning to enlist. The money he'd earn would go a long way towards buying a farm of his own. With money in his pocket and the promise of a future he'd then be comfortable asking for Rosetta to be his wife.
But Rosetta has other plans! If Jeremiah is to enlist then Rosetta wants to be married straight away. She aims to begin their life together before possibly losing that chance. And when Jeremiah leaves for war, she also aims to be by his side. While the front lines are, according to everyone around her, no place for a woman, Rosetta conceives of a plan that will - if successful - allow her not only to be with her husband while he is away, but earn her own money to put towards their farm as well. Rosetta has never been one to stick to womanly duties anyway; she's never been afraid of hard or messy work. So she cuts her hair, takes some of Jeremiah's clothes, and passes herself off as Ross Stone, enlisting in the same company as Jeremiah and his friends.
Readers I was really excited to get a chance to review I Shall Be Near To You. I'd already read some great reviews, including Kelly's here, so I did have pretty high expectations - but I can safely assure you that Erin Lindsay McCabe succeeded in every aspect with this book.
It's something of a heart wrenching story. I cannot imagine being a newlywed and immediately facing the prospect of becoming a widow - something Rosetta does very much believe will happen, especially considering this is the fate that has recently befallen one of her own peers. And Rosetta is something of a strange bird. She wants to farm, she wants to work outside, she doesn't want to do all of the things she's told a proper woman should do. Without Jeremiah by her side supporting her in this her confidence begins to falter.
While life today is so completely different for us, putting myself in Rosetta's shoes was something Erin Lindsay McCabe allowed me to do here in I Shall Be Near To You. She really does a wonderful job in imparting both the the fears and concerns and overwhelming emotions someone like Rosetta would have been up against.
Rosetta is drawn from real inspiration - I honestly had no idea that so many real women had indeed donned men's clothing and enlisted to fight in the Civil War! Not only would the prospect of fighting have obviously seemed daunting to women of the time, the consequences of being caught would likely have deterred many others. Not these women, though, and as McCabe points out in her afterword, many were successful in completely hiding their identities. I loved that in learning that, McCabe immediately had the same question many of us would - how? How did they do it? What were they feeling?... And it's these questions that she explores with Rosetta.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. If you like historical fiction and strong female characters, I Shall Be Near To You will definitely hit the spot!
And now for the giveaway! To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, October 6. Open US/Canada only. No PO boxes please.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.
For more on Erin Lindsay McCabe, you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.