I Shall Be Near to You: A Novel

I Shall Be Near to You: A Novel

4.5 19
by Erin Lindsay McCabe
     
 

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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.

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. When Jeremiah leaves, Rosetta decides her true place is

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Overview

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.

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. When Jeremiah leaves, Rosetta decides her true place is by his side, no matter what that means, and follows him into war.

Rich with historical details and inspired by the many women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is a courageous adventure, a woman's search for meaning and individuality, and a poignant story of enduring love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/28/2013
Inspired by the actual letters of a woman who fought in the Civil War, McCabe’s debut imagines the challenges faced by newlyweds Rosetta and Jeremiah Wakefield when she decides to join him in battle. Feisty Rosetta was never at home doing women’s chores, preferring to help her father run the family farm. Therefore, it’s no surprise that when Jeremiah says he will join the Union Army, she proposes to him so they can be wed before his departure—and then she decides to join him in training, cutting her hair, binding her breasts, putting on men’s clothes, and enlisting as “Ross Stone.” Though she promises to go home when the real fighting starts, there are numerous reasons for Rosetta to stay put with her husband and the group of local boys who are in on the secret. McCabe successfully recreates the tedium of prebattle training, the rigors of marching from one destination to the next, the exhaustion of battles and retreats, and the massive destruction that occurred during the war. An author’s note states that hundreds of women fought on both sides during the Civil War, and without being preachy or having an agenda, McCabe offers a feminine perspective on a dark time in U.S. history. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
A girl as tough as Katniss Everdeen. A romance out of Twilight. A historical backdrop as strong as Cold Mountain. These things combine in the extraordinary story of Rosetta Wakefield, a young woman from rural New York who follows her childhood sweetheart, Jeremiah, into the Civil War… McCabe makes every sentence count, with a narrative full of authentic dialogue, historical realism, and great feeling. Loosely based on true events, including the letters of the more than 200 women who are known to have served as men in the Civil War, this beautiful novel is literary but will have crossover appeal for more sophisticated YA readers as well, who will find Rosetta an unforgettable heroine.” —Booklist, starred review

“McCabe’s debut novel...is a shining story of enduring love… McCabe portrays Rosetta brilliantly—think True 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…is reminiscent of Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage...Based on often overlooked history, McCabe offers an extraordinary novel, one creating a memorable character through which we relive our national cataclysm.” —Kirkus, starred review

A real gem…In the long, distinguished history of Civil War fiction, Erin Lindsay McCabe has presented us a book that might be for the ages. Her novel, I Shall Be Near to You, tells a passionate love story that moved me as much as I’ve been moved in years. Her heroine, Rosetta Wakefield, is as compelling a warrior as any that appears in Michael Shaara’s great novel about Gettysburg, The Killer Angels. Rosetta is a magnificent creation and lets us know that the people of the North had the same attachment to their land as any Southerner ever did.  If you don’t like this book, you don’t like to read.”
Pat Conroy, New York Times Bestselling author of The Prince of Tides and The Death of Santini

“Astounding.”Glamour
 
“Compellingly authentic.”ELLE

"Erin Lindsay McCabe has given us an unforgettable tale of the power of love and commitment over war and all that comes with it. She breathes life and heart into Rosetta, a young bride who struggles to find her own footing in a marriage too new to have much of a footing at all, as Rosetta chooses to follow Jeremiah into war and into what will prove to be the horror and the richness of a life lived in the fullest." 
Robert Hicks, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country

“Erin McCabe’s I Shall Be Near to You is a beautiful book, a historical novel inspired by the more than 200 women who disguised themselves as men to serve in the Civil War.  It is a touching, emotional story that reminds us that in different times and in entirely different circumstances, we are all fighting for the same things.”
Vanessa Diffenbaugh, New York Times bestselling author of The Language of Flowers

"I Shall Be Near to You marks the impressive debut of a truly gifted author. Erin Lindsay McCabe’s riveting story of a woman who disguises herself as a man to follow her husband into the Union army enthralls even as it wrenches the heart."
Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker and The Spymistress
 
"Told in the unforgettable voice of Rosetta Wakefield, I Shall Be Near to You is one of those wonderful stay-up-late-to-devour-another-chapter novels. Erin Lindsay McCabe strikes the perfect balance of historical research and lyrically crafted prose. Through Rosetta's eyes, readers experience the horror and the humanity of daily life during the Civil War. This is a book you'll definitely want to read—and tell your best friend to read, too."
Lois Leveen, author of The Secrets of Mary Bowser
 
"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

“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

"McCabe has given us a memorable tale of love in the midst of war, loyalty and faith in the maelstrom of our nation's greatest tragedy."
Howard Bahr, author of The Black Flower and winner of the Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction

Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-11-03
McCabe's debut novel echoes with the Civil War battlefield's ear-shattering noise and gut-wrenching smells, but its heart is a shining story of enduring love. In 1862, Jeremiah Wakefield, New York country boy, hears the Union's call and the lure of an enlistment bonus that will finance a farm. Friends too are eager to join the 97th New York Volunteers. Rosetta Edwards will have none of it. Rosetta may be a tomboy and her father's farmhand, but she's shared kisses and promises with Jeremiah. If he's intent on soldiering, they'll marry first. They wed and enjoy a few weeks of housekeeping in a cabin. It's there that Jeremiah stumbles over Rosetta's rock-hard stubbornness, a quality that later inspires her to chop her hair, dress in men's clothing and become "Ross Stone." Rosetta passes a "you'll do" physical and lands in Jeremiah's unit, telling her stunned husband, "I signed on for this and there ain't a thing I have ever been made to feel proud of in my life but the doing of a job that needs doing." Sketching a hardscrabble portrait of subsistence farm life, McCabe portrays Rosetta brilliantly--think True 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--"I just want to walk into that water, any water, and wash myself clean, my clothes and all, letting the blood and everything swirl away"--is reminiscent of Crane's The Red Badge of Courage. Rosetta echoes the period perfectly, playing off against gender expectations in letters home and in conversations with the company commander's wife, the first to suspect her disguise, and with Will, a gentle, religious boy confused about his sexuality. Based on often overlooked history, McCabe offers an extraordinary novel, one creating a memorable character through which we relive our national cataclysm.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804137737
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
01/28/2014
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
31,415
File size:
2 MB

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