I SHALL BE NEAR TO YOU is an extraordinary novel about a woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight next to her husband in the Civil War, inspired by a real female soldier’s letters home, filled with courage, audacity, and love. Erin Lindsay McCabe’s novel is a must read for those who enjoy historical and women’s fiction.
Rosetta doesn’t want her new husband Jeremiah to join the army, but when he does, hoping to make enough money that they’ll be able to afford their own farm someday, she’s left alone in their little town where she’s never quite fit in. Though she’s always tried to be the son her father never had, now that she’s married she’s told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with her husband now, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, wears pants for the first time, and sets off to sign up as a soldier.
Joining the Union is the easy part; now Rosetta must train with the men, prepare herself for battle, and deal with the tension between her and Jeremiah as he comes to grips with having a fighting wife. There’s a lot they still have to learn about each other, and many dangers to face, from the constant threat of discovery to intense battles where they fight side by side. Inspired by true accounts of the more than four hundred women who fought in the Civil War disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is a tender love story, an exploration of gender roles and marriage, and a hard examination of war.
Praise for I Shall Be Near to You
“McCabe’s debut novel…is a shining story of enduring love… McCabe portrays Rosetta brilliantly-thinkTrue Grit’s Mattie Ross-as she narrates her story with energy, self-perception, courage and unremitting love for Jeremiah. McCabe’s thorough research lends verisimilitude to army life, all cook fires, salt pork, hardtack, thin blankets and marches into terror. McCabe’s descriptions of battle’s chaos and mayhem…isreminiscent of Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage…Based on often overlooked history, McCabe offersan extraordinary novel, one creating a memorable character through which we relive our national cataclysm.” —Kirkus, starred review
“Inspired by the actual letters of a woman who fought in the Civil War…McCabe offers a feminine perspective on a dark time in US history.” —Publishers Weekly
“The spirited voice of McCabe’s indelible Rosetta demands your attention from page 1 and captures your heart with her remarkable story. I fell hard for this courageous character and readers will too! Driven by fierce love, Rosetta exemplifies the timeless fighting spirit of womanhood. McCabe has done her homework well, mining Civil War secrets for this historical golden nugget. I laughed. I wept. I learned and will treasure always.”
—Sarah McCoy, author of the international bestseller and 2012 Goodreads Choice Award nominee The Baker’s Daughter