History takes on vivid life in the stunning first full-length installment of USA TODAY bestselling Tamera Alexander’s new series, The Carnton Novels.
“The beautifully-drawn characters and rich history in With This Pledge work seamlessly to demonstrate that Christ’s love and romantic love can triumph even in our darkest moments.” —Lynn Austin, bestselling author of Legacy of Mercy
What can a woman—a mere governess—do against the scourge of slavery?
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Clouston’s quietly held principles oppose those of the Southern Cause—but when forty thousand soldiers converge on the fields of Franklin, Tennessee, the war demands an answer. The Carnton home where she is governess is converted into a Confederate field hospital, and Lizzie is called upon to assist the military doctor with surgeries that determine life or death. Faced with the unimaginable, she must summon fortitude, even as she fears for the life of Towny, her fiancé and lifelong friend.
As a young soldier lies dying in Lizzie’s arms, she vows to relay his final words to his mother, but knows little more than the boy’s first name. That same night, decorated Mississippi sharpshooter Captain Roland Ward Jones extracts a different promise from Lizzie: that she intervene should the surgeon decide to amputate his leg.
Lizzie is nothing if not a woman of her word, earning the soldiers’ respect as she tends to the wounded within Carnton’s walls. None is more admiring than Captain Jones, who doesn’t realize she is pledged to another. But as Lizzie’s heart softens toward the Confederate captain, she discovers that his moral ground is at odds with her own. Now torn between love, principles, and promises made, she struggles to be true to her heart while standing for what she knows is right—no matter the cost.
From the pages of history and the personal accounts of those who endured the Battle of Franklin, Tamera Alexander weaves the real-life love letters between Captain Roland Ward Jones and Miss Elizabeth Clouston into a story of unlikely romance first kindled amid the shadows of war.
“Tamera Alexander has once again given readers a beautifully written story full of strong characters and tender romance—all while staying true to the actual history of the people and events she describes. From the horrors of war to the hope of blossoming love, Lizzie and Roland’s story will live in my heart for a very long time.” —Anne Mateer, author of Playing by Heart
About the Author
Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded and nominated for numerous industry-leading honors, including the Christy Award (two-time winner, seven-time finalist), the RITA Award (two-time winner, four-time finalist), the Carol Award, the Maggie Award, the Booksellers Best Award, and Library Journal's top distinction, among others. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband now reside in Nashville, Tennessee, where they live a short distance from Belmont Mansion and Belle Meade Plantation, the setting of Tamera’s two USA Today bestselling Southern series.
Read an Excerpt
NOVEMBER 30, 1864 CARNTON PLANTATION FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE 21 MILES SOUTH OF NASHVILLE
"And this, children, is a drawing of the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. Which is a very long way from Franklin, Tennessee." Lizzie read fascination in young Hattie's eyes, and in those of Sallie, the cousin visiting from Nashville. Yet seven-year-old Winder only stared glumly out the window.
Lizzie lowered her voice. "This pyramid here is where a mighty Egyptian pharaoh, or king, and his queen are buried. And it's full of secret rooms."
Winder's head whipped back around. "Secret rooms?"
She nodded. "Archaeologists recently discovered some new rooms in the upper portion of the pyramid. They'd been hidden for centuries. See this drawing ..."
As she continued teaching, she glanced at the clock on the side table, expecting Tempy to bring the children's midmorning refreshment anytime now. A summerlike breeze fluttered the curtains on the open jib window leading to a second-story balcony, and the sunshine and warmth beckoned them outside. Perhaps she would take advantage of the beautiful weather and conduct the afternoon classes under the Osage orange tree out front. After so many weeks of rain and cold, the mild weather was a welcome change. Especially for the end of November.
A few moments later she heard Tempy's footsteps on the staircase. "Thank you for listening so intently, children. And for your excellent questions, girls. And now it's refreshment time!"
Tempy knocked twice on the door, then entered. "Mornin', little ones!"
Winder hopped down from his chair. "What are we havin' today, Tempy?"
Lizzie cleared her throat and gave him a pointed look.
"I mean ... Thank you, Tempy, for whatever it is you made," he corrected, still trying to peer up and over the side of the tray.
Tossing him a wink, Tempy set the tray on the table. "I made y'all some cinnamon rolls this mornin', Master Winder. You go on now and help yourself. And get a glass of that milk too." She included the girls in her nod, and the children took their snacks and hurried outside to the balcony overlooking the front yard. "Miss Clouston, I brought you one too, ma'am."
Lizzie accepted the roll and took a bite, then sighed and briefly closed her eyes. The bread, still warm from the oven, all but melted in her mouth, the buttery icing slathered on top a concoction of sugary goodness. "Oh, Tempy, these are even better than usual. Thank you."
"My pleasure, ma'am." Tempy eyed the globe on the table and shook her head. "Look at all them places. Hard to believe all that's out there somewhere."
Lizzie heard something akin to yearning in the woman's tone. She'd noticed Tempy gazing at the globe before, but without comment. Mindful of any icing on her fingers, Lizzie turned the globe to show North America, then pointed to Tennessee. "That's where we are right now. And this" — she turned the globe again and pointed to the northeast corner of Africa —" is where these pyramids are located." Lizzie held up the image and gave a condensed version of what she'd taught the children. "It's in a place called Egypt."
Tempy eyed her. "You tellin' me a fancy king's buried in that thing?"
Lizzie nodded. "Along with his queen."
"Mmmph ... It don't look so far away on this ball, but I'm guessin' it'd take us a while to get there."
"Yes, quite a while. And we'd have to traverse an ocean in the process." Lizzie drew an invisible line from Tennessee across the Atlantic Ocean to the general region of Giza.
Tempy shook her head. "So much world the good Lord made. Wonder how he ever thought it all up."
Lizzie moved her finger a little to the right, knowing Tempy would appreciate this. "Do you see this tiny portion of land here?"
Tempy squinted. "Yes, ma'am. But only just."
"That's Palestine. The part of the world where the Lord was born and where he dwelt during his life here on earth."
"Pal-estine," Tempy repeated slowly and said it twice more as though wanting to feel the word on her lips. "I was told he was from a place called Bethlehem."
Lizzie nodded. "You're right, he was. Bethlehem is located in this area."
For the longest time Tempy studied the spot on the globe, then traced an arthritic forefinger over it, her expression holding wonderment. And not for the first time, Lizzie felt a firm tug on her conscience.
By Tempy's own admission, the older woman had been at Carnton for nigh onto forever, serving as the McGavocks' cook. Lizzie had often wanted to ask Tempy about her life here. About this war. And about being the only slave left behind when Colonel McGavock sent the other forty-three south three years ago, far from the reach of the Federal Army that would have freed them.
She felt certain that Tempy would have leapt at the chance to learn her letters, but teaching a slave to read and write was against the law. Here in the South, at least. The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Lincoln nearly two years ago, hadn't made much difference in that regard. So Lizzie had never offered. And in the eight years she had lived and worked here at Carnton, she'd never confided in Tempy her opinions on slavery. She'd never had the courage. After all, slavery wasn't a topic a "properly bred" woman deigned to broach. And certainly not with a slave.
And what would stating her differing views have changed? Nothing. Lizzie held back a sigh. She was a governess, not a landowner. She couldn't vote. She wasn't even mistress of her own home — yet, at least. She had no voice. And sharing her opinions would have only driven a wedge between her and the McGavock family, which was a relationship she cherished. Being so forthcoming might well cost her the position here, and that was something she could ill afford, especially now with the war on. Still, even when considering her reasons, she felt a sense of shame.
She wondered sometimes if she shouldn't have gone north all those years ago when she'd first considered it. She could have found a place with a family in Boston or Philadelphia, surely. Yet that would have meant leaving behind her family, her friends, all that was familiar. So she'd stayed, and tried not to dwell on what she couldn't change.
"You teachin' them children 'bout all them places, ma'am?" Tempy glanced at the globe.
"I'm doing my best. Although with so pretty a day, it's difficult to maintain their attention."
"Days like this don't come round too often, 'specially this time of year."
Lizzie dabbed the corners of her mouth, checking for icing. Then she lowered her voice, mindful of the open jib window. "I'm thinking of moving outside for a while so we can enjoy the sunshine."
"If you want, ma'am, I could fix you all a picnic lunch and you could eat out there."
Lizzie nodded. "That's a wonderful idea! I'll use that as an enticement for them to remain attentive until then."
The promise worked like a charm. Following a delightful lunch, the children helped clean up the picnic without complaint. Winder needed a little prompting, rambunctious boy that he was. Still, he pitched right in when asked. Lizzie sat on the blanket beside Sallie watching as Winder and Hattie chased each other beneath the shade of the Osage orange tree. A wave of affection for them swept through her, nearly stealing her breath. She'd known Hattie before the girl had turned two. And Winder she'd known since birth. She loved them as though they were her own.
The warmth within her faded by a degree. Someday, Lord willing, she and Towny would have children of their own. A flicker of guilt accompanied the thought of Towny. But as she always did, Lizzie tried to set it aside. After all, women married for a whole variety of reasons — money, prestige, social standing, security. So was marrying for the hope of having children really so bad?
She studied the bare ring finger on her left hand and thought of what Towny had said in his last letter almost a month ago. The next time he saw her, he'd written, he had something special to give her. She wondered if it was his mother's ring. Having known his mother, Marlene — God rest her soul — Lizzie found the thought endearing. Then again, having known Towny's parents and the close relationship they'd shared, she only hoped that if Towny planned on giving her that ring, she would prove worthy of it.
It would be wonderful to see him again after all these months. Would he be much changed? Would he consider her so? Had his intent to marry her waned in any way? Did he ever entertain the same questions about their future as she did? A warm breeze rustled the leaves overhead, and Lizzie checked the chatelaine watch pinned to her shirtwaist. It was later than she'd thought. She ushered the children back into the schoolroom upstairs and was closing the door behind her when Tempy caught her attention.
"A letter come for you, ma'am. From your Lieutenant Townsend." Tempy handed it to her. "I hope he's all right. He's such a good man."
Your Lieutenant Townsend. Tempy had taken to calling Towny that in recent months, but the term still struck an odd note within Lizzie. "Thank you for bringing this to me. And yes, he is a good man." She checked the date stamped on the envelope. Only a week ago. Mail delivery had been quick this time. She wondered where he was.
"He'll make you a good husband too, ma'am."
"Yes. Yes, he will," Lizzie answered. She'd told herself the same thing many times.
Tempy tilted her head and studied her in the manner she sometimes did. A manner that always caused Lizzie to ponder whether the woman could read every blessed thought in her head. And, even more, if Tempy questioned whether Lizzie herself was as well acquainted with those thoughts as she should be.
"Well, enjoy your letter." Tempy dipped her head and took her leave.
Lizzie closed the door and laid the envelope on the table's edge. It would have to wait for now. The first hour passed swiftly as they reviewed grammar lessons, then transitioned to penmanship. Hattie and Sallie both possessed a beautiful hand. But Winder's cursive, bless him, looked more like chicken scratch. Lizzie sat with him while he painstakingly practiced each letter, then she whispered, "Well done," and tousled the hair on his head. She did love a good challenge. Next they moved to arithmetic. Lizzie wrote addition problems on a slate, and each child took a turn solving two or three. Arithmetic was Winder's favorite subject, and to Lizzie's joy he excelled in it. Finally she set them to working problems on their own and reached for Towny's letter.
She opened the envelope. Only one sheet of paper within. Her gaze scanned the page, and her eyes widened. He'd been brief, but not evasive. Quite the contrary. Lizzie felt her face go warm.
Dearest Lizzie Beth,
I'm counting the days until I see you again and sincerely hope that that number will be a small one. I've taken to dreaming of you in recent days and those dreams are so real I can almost feel you beside me. To say I'm eager to make you my wife would be a dilution of my fierce affections. It would be like saying that Tennessee summers can be a mite warm. Yet as warm as we know those summers to be, they are nothing compared to the fire that burns within me for you, and that seems to grow stronger with each passing day.
Lizzie looked up to see if the children were watching. Then she realized how silly that was. As though in watching her read the letter, they would somehow be made privy to its contents. She fingered the high collar of her shirtwaist and continued.
Tucker's Brigade is being ordered farther south, but I pray we make our way back to Franklin soon. Hopefully by spring. I want us to be married as soon as possible, Lizzie. That is my wish and I hope yours is the same. I apologize for my brevity, but I must see this posted before we move out. Please pass along my kindest regards to the McGavocks and their children. When you see my father, please inform him that his son is well, is fighting for the land he cherishes, but misses home and all the treasures it holds. Namely you, my dearest Lizzie.
Most affectionately yours, Towny
Any question about whether he'd changed his mind about their pending nuptials had been erased. And once again Towny had managed to surprise her. She'd last seen him in January, when he'd asked her to marry him. To say she'd been surprised then as well was an understatement. One minute they'd been walking back from town after a visit with her family — discussing the war and how he'd managed to secure a brief furlough home — and the next thing she knew, he'd turned and grabbed hold of her hands.
"I know this seems sudden, Lizzie, but I've been thinking about it for some time. I think I've loved you since I first laid eyes on you that day at the mercantile. You with your brown hair in pigtails, eating a peppermint stick. You would hardly look at me, until I did a somersault with no hands." His boyish grin held traces of youth. "Once we're husband and wife, I know we can make a good life together. We already know each other at our best and worst, and that gives us a great advantage over most couples. So please, say you'll be my wife? At least consider it?"
She had agreed and then sought her mother's counsel, only to discover that Towny had already asked her father's permission for her hand, which he had heartily given. Her parents were overjoyed. And looking at it practically, she'd realized Towny was right. They did already know each other very well. And they were both twenty-eight years old. It was well past time for her to wed. No one else had sought her hand in marriage, and she had no reason to think that would change, especially with the war claiming the lives of so many men.
But the real reason she'd agreed to marry Towny — the reason she'd not shared with him — made her feel false inside. She wanted children of her own, and the time for that to happen was swiftly passing her by. She smoothed a hand over her midsection. Soon Hattie and Winder would be grown, and she'd have to move on to another house to raise someone else's children. Either that or become a burden to her parents. So ... she'd said yes.
And she was terribly fond of Towny. She could honestly say she loved him. Not, perhaps, in the way she'd always imagined she would love a husband. But love could grow from friendship. Or so she'd been told. And she and Blake Rupert Townsend — or Towny, the nickname she'd bestowed upon him as a boy — had been the best of friends since childhood. So she'd given him her pledge. And Towny would make a fine husband. She'd thought so for many years. She'd simply never imagined he would be hers.
Lizzie folded the letter and put it away, then checked the time. She'd allow the children another five or ten minutes to complete their tasks. In the meantime, she'd fetch the novel she'd left in Winder's bedroom down the hallway. She intended to start reading it to them tonight before bedtime. She'd saved it specially for this time of year.
"Miss Clouston," Sallie said before Lizzie shut the door.
"Could you help me with this one before you go?" The girl pointed to her slate.
"Would you help me," Lizzie gently prompted. "And yes, I'd be happy to help you. But I want you to try to figure it out first on your own. I'll prompt you if you begin to do it incorrectly. And feel free to work the problem aloud, if that helps you."
She smoothed a hand over Sallie's long blond hair and gave her an encouraging nod, then tugged a strand of the equally long golden hair of Clara, the porcelain doll the child took with her everywhere. Sallie grinned and set to work, whispering faintly to herself. Following a recent buildup of Federal troops in Nashville, Sallie's parents had asked the McGavocks if they could bring Sallie to Carnton for a few days to keep her distanced from the war. It was nice to have an additional student to teach, and since Hattie and Sallie were close cousins, they were enjoying every moment together.
Sallie finished working the problem and peered up.
"Well done!" Lizzie whispered, and the girl's eyes sparkled. "By working it aloud, you were able to do it all by yourself. Now see if you can complete the rest, and I'll be back shortly."
Lizzie closed the door, then waited a few seconds to make certain Winder didn't start jabbering at the girls the way he sometimes did when she left the room. But blessed quiet reigned, and she sighed. Days like these were what governesses lived for.
She headed for Winder's room across the hall, then remembered she'd left the blanket they'd used for the picnic folded on the front porch. Best get that first. She descended the staircase to the main floor and heard the clock in the family parlor chime. Two o'clock. She might dismiss the children early today and they could all take a walk down to the Saw Mill Creek, or maybe even into town to get penny candy at the mercantile. They could stop by her parents' house for a quick visit too, and —(Continues…)
Excerpted from "With This Pledge"
Copyright © 2019 Tamera Alexander.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Tamera Alexander has outdone herself with this book! I have loved all of her books but believe this is the best yet! So much history! I knew the civil war was terrible but the Battle of Franklin must have been horrendous beyond belief! Captain Roland Jones is a strong male protagonist who is fighting for what he believes. He is also an honorable man who will not pursue a relationship with a woman who is promised to someone else. Governess Lizzie Clouston is a courageous woman who believes slaves should learn to read. When Lizzie is called upon to assist the surgeon with amputations, she fulfills the task! Mrs. Alexander has researched Carnton Plantation and the Battle of Franklin so is able to provide many details and descriptions. With This Pledge is based on true facts from the Civil War. If you enjoy history, you will not want to miss this book! I received an e-book through NetGalley. This is my honest opinion.
I am always amazed by authors who have the ability to completely transport you to another time and place, and Tamera Alexander is certainly one of those authors. The vivid descriptions and rich history woven into the story made me truly feel like I was there with the characters. Experiencing their pain, fear, horror, relief, joy, and hope right along with them. The Civil War was one of the darkest times in our nation's history, men fighting their own countrymen, and men dying for the unconscionable belief that they had the right to own another human being. The author handled everything with grace, staying true to what people actually thought and did in those days while still conveying the biblical truth that all men are created equal. I loved Lizzie, her strength and grace during such a horrendous event was truly admirable. She was thrust into the heart of a battle's aftermath and without thought to herself worked tirelessly among injured and dying. And she didn't just care for their physical needs, her kindness reached beyond that with her words and actions. I also loved that she didn't let her enviroment control her beliefs. Even though she lived in the south she firmly believed that slavery was wrong refused to be swayed. It was tough for me to pin down my feelings on Roland, on one hand I liked him. He was a gentleman, kind and respectful, and he had a bit of a humorous side. But the fact that he was a Confederate slave owner who firmly believed in the cause was hard for me to reconcile with. And yes it was the way he was raised and "how things were done" then but it doesn't change the fact that it was wrong. And it's not easy to love a hero who was willing to fight for the right to own another person. But beyond that I really did like the rest of who he was and I loved his and Lizzie's relationship. There was so much packed into this book that it took me much longer than normal to read because I had to slow down and experience it all. Lovers of Civil War fiction will surely love this rich story! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
With This Pledge is Tamera Alexander's awesome first full-length novel in her Carnton series. Last year she set the stage with her captivating novella, Christmas at Carnton. This story drops you right into a major battle of the Civil War fought on and near the grounds of the Carnton plantation just outside Franklin, Tennessee. Thanks to her fantastic storytelling skills, Tamera Alexander makes you see, feel, and hear the horrors and tragedy of the Battle of Franklin and its aftermath, without unnecessary graphic details. Her characters are full of passion, conflict, loss, fear, hatred, and love. And they battle with those feelings as they go about the necessary activities of trying to put their damaged bodies and lives back together and face an unknown future. The author lets you experience those struggles through the eyes of a wide array of characters -- from battle-weary soldiers to concerned property owners, ministering nuns, apprehensive slaves, small children, and a compassionate governess. And as always, you can count on authenticity in the historical setting of a Tamera Alexander novel. I highly recommend With This Pledge to anyone interested in extremely well-written historical romance. Thanks to JustRead Publicity Tours for providing a copy of this book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.
Wow! I don't know if I even have all of the words to say how amazingly well this story was written. Tamera Alexander takes the reader on a journey straight into the trenches of the civil war, both physically and emotionally. When a war is being fought between brothers and neighbors, there is no escape--the war is guaranteed to leave it's mark on all. While the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery, it also held a lot of death and bloodshed. One question that was constantly posed throughout the story was "is it worth it?" Before being sent into war, men had to ask themselves if they were willing to die for what they believed. For many, as the war continued, their answers changed once it was too late. War is an ugly thing, and it both ends and destroys lives. Why did so many have to die before they would talk? What I loved about this story was that it showed that while not everyone fought on the physical battle lines, the war touched virtually everyone. Men didn't just lose their lives--but wives lost their husbands, children lost their fathers, siblings lost their brothers, parents lost their sons, and so on. Many witnessed events that would surely traumatize them for the rest of their lives. This story shares the painful truths of just how deeply the war had affected everyone. Tamera Alexander was able to masterfully weave the stories of multiple types of people into a story drenched with brokenness yet blanketed in hope. I have an ARC copy so I'm not sure if this will exist in the beginning of the full published version, but in my copy there is a note in the beginning from the author to readers mentioning that she wanted to be as historically accurate in this story which leads to some content that may be difficult for some readers. She states, "I've written this novel with a careful consideration of history--including oftentimes disturbing descriptions of combat--coupled with a deep desire to weave a compelling story of hope" (pg ix). In my opinion the author did a flawless job with this. Yes, there are some graphic details, but I don't believe they were avoidable while maintaining a historically accurate and realistic novel. Mentioned in the Afterward at the end, is the knowledge that many of the characters including the main characters, were actually real-life people and that Tamera's web-page contains more information on what was fact vs fiction about them in the story. I have every intent to visit since I am fascinated about learning about the real people behind history. I honestly don't believe I could recommend this book enough. Yes, there are some difficult moments, but Tamera Alexander has made history come alive in a way that will stay with you forever. Just as the war left no one unchanged, so this book will leave no reader unchanged. This is absolutely a MUST-READ! *I received a copy of this book from the author through JustRead Publicity Tours. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
Tamera is a wonderful author. The research she puts into her books brings them to life and she achieved that in this book. From the beginning we are tossed into a scene that you want to look away from but must keep reading to see what will happen next. She does give a warning in the beginning that it can be a bit hard to read as she doesn’t hold back the things that these men went through and she is right. I could easy see the torn bodies laying every where. Lizzie is a strong young woman who hates the war and all it stands for. The reader will easily come to like her. Roland is a strong hero, even to his own detriment. But his determination and his faith will have cheering from him. If you enjoy historical romance I highly recommend this book. A copy of this book was given to me through the JustRead Tours. All opinions are my own.
Tamera Alexander is an author whose novels I have enjoyed. Her most recent novel, With This Pledge, is no exception. Set at Carnton House during and after the Battle of Franklin, Alexander's meticulous research skills and ability to craft an engaging story truly shine in this work. As you read, the sights and sounds of the battle and the makeshift hospital are vivid. While definitely a work of fiction, it is hard to remember that the characters and the events depicted really happened. If you enjoy historical fiction, particularly Civil War stories, you will enjoy this book. I greatly enjoyed how Alexander wove themes of fighting injustice and bucking the system into a story told from largely from the Confederate point of view. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the book With This Pledge via NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
A great read for those who love history! Set in the Civil War, the story follows Lizzie Clouston and Captain Roland Jones in the afternath of battle as both try to reconcile the changes they see in themselves and their world. There are quite a few pages dedicated to the history of the battle and the cause of the war (both sides), so if you love history, this book is for you! And of course, there’s the romance for which Tamera Alexander is known! Rated PG-13 for some mild details about battle wounds and amputation (no gory details, but it does address the issue). No sex No language
With this Pledge follows a young lady named Lizzie who accepts a marriage proposal for all the wrong reasons. She decides that the future she desires is only plausible if she settles for friendship rather than love in marriage. The Civil war interrupts her engagement and Lizzie is tasked with nursing soldiers. As battles rage around her Lizzie fights the pull of her heart. Her attempts to ignore the love developing for a soldier causes her to question her resolve to marry her childhood friend. She would never want to hurt her best friend but can she settle for friendship when she is starting to understand what love can feel like? Tamera Alexander brings to life the Civil War conflict this Virginia plantation. I am still not ready to let this book go. The Civil War era is so intriguing to me. Alexander presented the view of soldiers and leaders of both sides, civilians, slaves, and a slave owner in this novel. I felt so conflicted for everyone involved. War is so ugly and even though this is of the past I was seeking peace for these souls throughout this book.
WITH THIS PLEDGE is a story of faith and love in the midst of war. Set during the US Civil War where a governess and the family she serves see more than most when they fill in as a hospital for the Confederate army during a fight just a few miles from their doors. The occurrence impacts the soldiers they house while also greatly impacting their own lives. This is one beautifully written romance that will steal your heart and inspire. Alexander never disappoints. Her historical details and characters always tug on the heart, bring out all the feels, and leave you with a perfectly satisfying ending. The beginning of this story starts off quite intense. I didn't really take my first breath until 40 pages in or so, if even then. I was immediately pulled in and was also easily invested in these characters who were so well drawn. Lizzie has a quiet reserve about her, while also having such inner strength as she serves the soldiers and then begins to push forward her own beliefs. I admired her in so many ways. Roland is a character that quickly captured my heart as he deals with his losses and shows his strength. I loved the dialogue between these two and how their relationship grows and continues through letters. I also loved the other characters who so uniquely played their roles. The children were precious, and I especially loved Tempy. I appreciated how well the author describes the fight and war, and then weaves these characters and the romance through it. The inspirational elements were spot on as well. This was a perfectly written story and I'm looking forward to the following books in the series. In the end, was it what I wished for? I loved this story from beginning to end. Highly recommended! Content: Some violence and gore due to the setting, but clean. Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through JustRead Tours, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.
This book was so very good! Her descriptions of the battles and the wounded made me feel like I was there. Loved Lizzie and Roland’s story. Can’t wait for the next one in the series! Love this author!!
I’ve read every one of Tamera Alexander’s novels and she never disappoints. I always anxiously await her next novel. It’s like getting together with a wise friend who helps you open your mind and heart. She does an excellent job at weaving of historical facts, love, hope and most importantly how God is always with us along our journey to Him. Read any of Tamera’s novels and you will be as impressed as I am.
“She’s given her pledge, and she’s a woman of her word,” Roland regretfully confirms in Tamera Alexander’s novel, With This Pledge. ~ What ~ The first in the Carnton Series, this four-hundred-and-forty-eight-page paperback targets those interested in a historical Christian romance in Franklin, Tennessee, during the American Civil War. With no profanity, the topics of physical abuse, amputations, war, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes an afterword, acknowledgments, thirteen discussion questions, several food recipes, and the author’s biography. Based on facts and set in the Carnton home, betrothed Lizzie is a governess whose world is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually altered when she helps the Confederate soldiers medically fight for survival. When Captain Roland Jones makes her promise to help save his leg, she questions not only what the South is fighting for but also if love between a man and a woman is mainly for procreation. While the two protagonists deal with pledges made, unforeseen circumstances, and accepting the abolishment of slavery, they must learn to trust God for His direction. ~ Why ~ This story shows how fighting Confederates had to deal with injury, loss of limbs, the fear of being sent to prison, and death. It has detailed information of the five-hour battle at Franklin and its devastating aftermath of pain and suffering. I appreciated the growing reliance on God when dealt with heartbreak and the fog of war. ~ Why Not ~ Those who do not like wartime stories with trying relationships may not enjoy this book. Others may not like the predictable ending or that the main character consistently solved problems and issues flawlessly. ~ Wish ~ Including a map and list of characters may help some readers. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence. ~ Want ~ If you are fascinated with a true story of two individuals in the South dealing with freedom, choices, and promises during the Civil War while including a love story, this is an interesting read. Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.
With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander is a very well written book. Some of the details are true and some are fictional. Briefly, it is about the Battle of Franklin and how many lives were lost and changed due to the war between the Confederates and the Federals. The story follows Captain Roland Ward Jones and Elizabeth Clouston as their romance develops amidst the struggles and hardship of war. Tamera Alexander made me feel like I was actually present witnessing the day-to-day living of these people, the fighting, and the aftermath of war. My emotions were up and down as I felt the anguish and pain they suffered but also the moments of joy and the love and friendships developed. She did her research and was able to give great details about the lives of the characters, which made it easy for me to imagine myself in the scenes. I also enjoyed the message of this book, which solidified for me that every person deserves to be treated with respect and dignity regardless of color or race because we are all created equal. Ultimately, I am very grateful for the opportunity to have read this wonderful book.
With This Pledge is the first full-length novel in Tamera Alexander's Carnton series. I was immediately drawn into the story by the tragic imagery of the Battle of Franklin's aftermath. Though the aftermath is extensive and Lizzie is right in the middle of it all, I found the story sobering, but not depressing. The perfectly paced love story between Roland and Lizzie was steady and never angsty. I recommend With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander to fans of historical fiction, especially those interested in the Civil War period. Five stars! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Once I started this book, I did not want to put it down. The chapters flew by without notice. The story grabbed my heart and stole my breath away. Even now, I keep thinking about it. The Civil War and its horrific aftermath are painted with a delicate hand. I won’t forget this book, nor Lizzie or Roland. If you love historical romance, you can not miss this story, or really any of this author’s fantastic work. With This Pledge is a chilling read at times, but it also brought me to tears more than once. Highly Recommended! I received a free copy from the publisher. No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.
I always pre-order Tamera's books, and this is my favorite! I just finished With This Pledge, and as I sit here thinking about this amazing story, I'm trying to figure out how to put the experience into words. I've been to Franklin several times, and toured Carnton Plantation twice, and visited several of the other sites mentioned in the book. Tamera Alexander has once again proven her impeccable research and talented storytelling ability. The Battle of Franklin brought all the horrors of the civil war to the very doorstep of Carnton Plantation. The story begins on the very day of the battle and takes place mostly in the aftermath of the Battle of Franklin in Tennessee. With This Pledge is part true gritty war story, part true love story, and filled with many tender moments. I especially enjoyed the courageous heroine, the wounded hero, the wounded soldiers, the Catholic sisters who came to help them care for the them, former slaves Tempy and George, and the family who owned Carnton, whose very lives changed when the battle was fought on their doorstep, and how they opened their home to care for the wounded. It was a pleasant surprise to see Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol make an appearance as a story read to the children and the recovering soldiers. This story is also a spiritual journey from devastation to hope, and status quo to change. Historical fiction is my favorite genre, and Tamera Alexander is one of the best. I highly recommend With This Pledge. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Tamera Alexander is well-known for her historical romances, many of which take place in or near her hometown of Nashville. This one follows suit and is the first full-length novel in her Carnton series. She has 2 other series that take place on Nashville plantation houses and this is the 3rd series of its kind. The series starts out with a Christmas novella. As I read it over a year ago, I don't recall many details, so this book would stand just fine on its own, but I will likely go back and re-read Christmas at Carnton just for the added depth. While this is not the grittiest book I've read, it is probably the grittiest historical romance I've read. This book takes place during the Civil War. When the battle of Franklin takes place right outside of Carnton's property, Carnton becomes a hospital for the wounded. Because of that, some of the horrors of the wounds of war described were fairly grotesque. While there was not so much detail to cause me ill, it was definitely more detailed than I've seen of most war romance stories. Most historical stories pick events that actually happened and throw in some actual people as side characters, but the main characters are fiction (think Jack and Rose in Titanic). This allows an author a great deal of creative license to simply be able to determine how a random person might think, feel and react to that set of events, without having to do a lot of research on actual persons. This book, however, differs from that in that the main characters were all real people. That being said, the amount of research that Ms. Alexander put into this novel was immense. I feel like I actually got to know some of the soldiers who convalesced at Carnton as well as Lizzie and the McGavock family who resided at Carnton. This book was a beautiful story of the triumph of love, the importance of convictions, the foundation of faith and trust in God. The characters were very well developed and the character growth throughout the story was very well done. There were scenes that were gritty and uncomfortable, scenes that made you cheer, scenes that made you laugh and scenes that made you cry (whatever you do, don't reach chapter 37 in public!). This had all the elements of a fantastic novel, while at the same time telling you a true love story from history. Definitely a 5 star read! Special thanks to the author and publisher for an advanced copy of this book. I was not obligated to write a review and all thoughts contained herein are my own.
Tamera Alexander has done a stellar job of weaving a tale which is a tribute to the lives and actions of real Carnton Plantation inhabitants during the later days of the Civil War. As one who appreciates history and genealogy, having done much research nearby, I was very pleased by the depth of her research, as presented in the unfolding story. I could feel the rumble of artillery and gunfire in the Battle of Franklin, and I also later felt I was standing in the rooms at Carnton, filled with the injured. The descriptions made the story come alive, particularly as we followed Lizzie's interactions with Roland and the other wounded soldiers. One felt the gamut of emotions through the story, heartache, compassion, and hope. With This Pledge is another difficult to put down book from this author! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Such a hard read, yet so well written and hard to put down! This is not a light hearted read, because it tells in vivid detail what happened during a battle in Franklin, Tennessee. The details are hard to swallow, but makes you pause to consider what happened during the civil war. Elizabeth and Roland were very well developed and had a strong connection that can be felt throughout the book. There were a few times I thought the story lagged a bit, and it was easy to confuse all of the soldiers, but other than that, it was a truly enjoyable read. I cannot recommend enough. I received a copy from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
With this Pledge This is an amazing book. I could visualize the characters and the scenes. I definitely could tell the book had a lot of research put into it. Also could tell the book took a long time to write. This is an story that will stay with me for a long time. I was fortunate to receive an advanced copy of the book. I was not required to write an positive review. This is my own opinion.
With this Pledge is the first full length novel in the Carnton series. The story takes place after the battle of Franklin one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War which took place on November 30, 1964. I was interested in this historical novel because I was born in middle Tennessee and many of my ancestors lived in the area at the time this battle took place. One of my paternal ancestors even served under General Hood. While reading this novel I could tell that the author thoroughly researched this period and the events that happened. Even the main characters are based on real people. I read on Tamera's website that she interviewed one of the descendants of Captain Roland Ward Jones. This descendant shared with Tamera some love letters that Captain Jones wrote to Lizzie. The story starts off with Elizabeth Causen employed as a governess to Winder and Hattie McGavock, the two surviving children of John and Carrie McGavock. On November 30, her world changed when she had to pitch in and help care for the wounded. Carnton plantation, located less than a mile from the battle became a hospital where the wounded were treated and many did not survive. Even the children were witnesses to the horrors of war. Elizabeth had to aid the doctor in amputations. Her father was a pharmacist who she had a tiny bit of medical knowledge. She felt a connection with Captain Roland one of the soldiers severely but she did not want to act on this attraction she she was betrothed to a childhood friend. People who love to read historical novels particularly those set in the Civil War will enjoy reading this book. The characters were well written and engaging. I am looking forward to reading more books in the Carnton series. I received an ARC book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own. This book will be released on January 8, 2019.
This lyrical tale set amidst the harsh realities of war will resonate with its readers long after the last page has been read. While Tamera Alexander has been at the top of my favorite author list for years, I believe this is her best book to date. Alexander's impeccable research is evident as she masterfully tells the story of the residents of Carnton and their care of the injured and dying soldiers in the battle of Franklin, Tennessee towards the end of the American Civil War. Romance develops in this unlikely setting as two people seek to find God's purpose and direction amidst the desolation of a battlefield. Alexander's lyrical prose fully immerses her reader into the heartwarming love story of Captain Roland Ward Jones and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Clouston. This is one of those books that will be on my all-time favorites list. It is difficult to describe how wonderful this book is, when the historical setting is filled with so much tragedy. The characters and their story will invade your thoughts for days after you finish. Some of my favorite quotes: " Real heroes are the one's who do what's right even when no one's looking, and who give up something for someone else even when it costs them dearly." "Sometimes life on this side of the veil is far more difficult than I think it should be. Especially for those of us who belong to God. But then again, God's promises do not eliminate suffering." I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
I'm a librarian and it was very exciting to receive an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander. This book is much more than a romance novel and should be savored and contemplated. It's a riveting story written with compassion and it’s obvious the author developed an emotional connection to the characters as she completed her research. The story weaves around those who lived at Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee during the Battle of Franklin (November 30, 1864) and the days that followed. The hero and heroine have a depth of character and I also appreciated the complex relationships between all the characters in the story which included: the plantation owners, their children, the slaves, the nuns, and the soldiers. Lizzie is a governess to the McGavock children, and her best attributes are her kindness, intelligence, strength, and quiet beauty. Roland is handsome, honorable, but he is a slave owner, something Lizzie abhors, and he's stubborn. The novel immediately drew me in as Lizzie witnesses thousands of Federal troops gathered around the neighbor’s home, then, “In the distance, no more than two miles away, a massive sea of butternut and gray moved steadily forward.” The author captures the drama and chaos of the moment with her words as Carnton Plantation is turned into a makeshift hospital. When Lizzie is asked to administer chloroform before the surgeon operates, she does what is asked of her, and she makes an immediate, intimate connection with each of her patients as she offers compassion, tenderness and shows tremendous courage and inner strength. She suspects that her face is the last one many of her patients will ever see. It's with great difficulty she keeps the promises made to her patients. There are scenes that are heartbreaking, and I am grateful the author focused most of her attention and story-line on the soldiers who lived and their recovery to health. Though it seems an impossible task, to write about such a horrific event and leave the reader feeling uplifted, Tamara Alexander manages to do so. I felt hopeful for a better and happy future when I finished the story. The book is well researched, and it’s obvious the author has a love of history and place. Pay close attention to the letters as they are beautifully written and be sure to read the Afterward. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys history and romance. I can’t wait to visit Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee.
I am a big fan of historical fiction and I love the Civil War era but I wasn't familiar with this particular event until I began reading With This Pledge. The Battle of Franklin, Tennessee was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War and author Tamera Alexander has based her story on actual events and real people. Carnton Plantation was located less than a mile from the scene of the battle and wounded soldiers were transported there to be cared for. This beautiful home became a hospital and often a morgue because many of the wounded didn't survive. The author doesn't sugarcoat her story and I felt as though I was there with those soldiers and a witness to Elizabeth "Lizzie" Causen's efforts to treat them. I sensed her feelings of helplessness as she feverishly worked to stop the flow of blood and tried to assure them that they would one day return to their loved ones. I also felt the strong attraction between Lizzie and one of the injured men, Captain Roland Jones. An attraction that they both denied because of his injury and Lizzie's pledge to marry her childhood friend! So many beautiful passages allude to this attraction between them, such as 'She'd found him attractive before, but now.....The features of his face, strong and angular, were more pronounced. And his eyes. They looked an even deeper gray than she remembered." I loved this amazing story of hope, love, and the ability to find good during the ugliness of war. It spans about one year of Roland and Lizzie's lives but the events that inspired With This Pledge resonate with us today, one hundred fifty-five years later! I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and Christian romance.
Tamera Alexander shares a story that needs to be told. I was drawn in to this realistic Civil War fiction because her characters (who are based on actual people) showed strength and determination during dire circumstances. Alexander’s storyline reminded me that during the darkest days, good can be found, which made this captivating read worthwhile! I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions are mine.