+Blog Book Tour+ I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

Posted Tuesday, 16 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

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 I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

Published By: Broadway Booksan imprint of Crown Publishing Group (@CrownPublishing)

and part of: Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom)

Official Author Websites: Site | @ErinLindsMcCabe| Facebook
Available Formats: Hardcover, Ebook

Converse via: #IShall (main tag), #IShallBeNearToYou

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “I Shall Be Near To You” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Crown Publishing Group, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read & Excitement Ahead of Time:

The beautiful cover art on the hardback edition I received to review is featured inside the Excerpt by the publisher’s Scribd page featured below my review. I must admit, I appreciate both versions of the cover-art designs, even if I’m a bit partial to the hardback as I think it gives a measure of mystery as to how a woman could hide behind the thin veil of a man’s clothes and walk onto the field of battle; serving her country alongside her husband. The second cover-art which is included on the Book Synopsis is a bit more elusive as to the central core of the story, as it draws you to think of a different thread of context. At least it had for me, as it appeared to be a woman who was caught in the middle of the era of war rather than a woman who joined the fight during the war itself.

I had the pleasure of participating in a Twitter chat ahead of my review posting on the 2nd of September, whereupon I was wrapped up in the excitement of this novel’s release and the joyous mirth of discovering book bloggers & readers who had already felt the inertia of its emotional pull. I was overjoyed being able to participate in a chat dedicated to one of my favourite branches of literature, and for giving me such an incredible start to this blog tour.

+Blog Book Tour+ I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabeI Shall Be Near to You

In I SHALL BE NEAR TO YOU, McCabe introduces us to newlywed Rosetta Wakefield. More accustomed to working as her father’s farmhand and happiest doing what others might call “man’s work,” Rosetta struggles with how to be a good wife to her childhood beau and new husband, Jeremiah. When Jeremiah leaves home to join the Union army, Rosetta finds the only way she can honor Jeremiah is to be with her husband—no matter what..

Cutting off her hair and donning men’s clothing, Rosetta enlists in the army as Private Ross Stone so that she might stand beside her husband. Joining, however, is the easy part, and now Rosetta must not only live and train with her male counterparts as they prepare for imminent battle, but she must also deal with Jeremiah, who is struggling with his “fighting” wife’s presence, not to mention the constant threat of discovery..

In brilliant detail, inspired by the letters of the real Rosetta Wakeman, McCabe offers a riveting look at the day-to-day lives of these secret women fighters as they defied conventions and made their personal contributions to history. Both a tender love story and a hard look at war, I SHALL BE NEAR TO YOU offers a unique exploration of marriage, societal expectations, and the role of women in the Civil War through the lens of a beautifully written novel..

Places to find the book:

on 2nd September, 2014

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 336

Author Biography:

Erin Lindsay McCabe

Erin studied literature and history at University of California, Santa Cruz, earned a teaching credential at California State University, Chico, and taught high school English for seven years. Since completing her MFA in Creative Writing at St. Mary’s College of California in 2010, Erin has taught Composition at St. Mary’s College and Butte College. A California native, Erin lives in the Sierra Foothills with her husband, son, and a small menagerie that includes one dog, four cats, two horses, numerous chickens, and three goats.

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The [American] Civil War:

I learnt quite a heap about the Civil War whilst I was in high school, except to say, they left out quite a lot of important factors such as women who served their country alongside the men! I think I might have listened a bit closer to the lectures and the discussions, as to me, it was all starting to blur together after two terms of feeling as though we were going right round in a circle without any of it making a lot of sense in the end. Being the fact I grew up in the South, most of the lessons were focused on the Rebel Army rather than the Union; yet being that I’m from Northern Stock, I was more keen to know about Grant’s positions and where my ancestors might have fit into this war. It would take over a decade to learn about my Great Granddaddy who was a Captain with the Union, and fresh off the boat from Ireland. The best bit was learning how he was a farmer and how much he loved the land. In some ways, I was never surprised to have learnt more than half my ancestors who immigrated to America ended up as farmers; it seems right as rain to me, being that I’m a locavore who appreciates farm fresh fruit and veg, locally grown (without chemicals) and sourced.

It didn’t matter which side your family fought on during this war because it was a war to end all wars in of itself. It was a war where everyone fought side by side and both sides (the North & the South) felt they were in the right. It has a brutal history and it has an empowering moment of change; nothing was the same, and battles were won on the deaths of so many innocents. To find a story that places true-to-life characters in the middle of this great war and gives a searing arc of climax that befits the war itself as much as the barriers women faced during that time is an incredible find.

McCabe centers her story on the true grit of historical fact originating out of the Civil War itself; including having found a real-life Rosetta who was part of the inspiration for her own. She doesn’t hold back from revealing the cardinal truths of the battlefield or the wounded inside the hospital wards, yet she is sensitive to their plight and I felt lifted in spirit rather than bogged down in the horrors of war. I felt she tempered the truth with a narrative that gives you a breath to absorb the words without always taking the reality of what they are expressing to a shocking conclusion. McCabe’s best attribute is in knowing what to include and how what happens affects everyone you’ve come to know. The war is both the backdrop and the shifting force to pull everyone forward and apart at the same time. It is a testament of our past and a testament of the power to fight for everything you believe in.

My Review of I Shall Be Near to You:

The Civil War is in full bloom when we enter Rosetta’s life, and she’s determined to wed Jeremiah before he goes scurrying off into the field of war without so much as a by your leave. She’s a right smart girl whose heart is tied to Jeremiah and whose mind is more focused on the work outside the home than within. She’s not akin to domesticity, nor is she one to be told what she cannot do simply because she’s a girl. No, Rosetta is a formidable woman rosy young in years and whose strength warms your cheeks as soon as she enters a room. She’s unlike other women of her time, refusing to apologise for her strengths and bent against conforming to women’s work even if it will soothe over relations with her in-laws. Her mainstay is Jeremiah and their dreams of the farm they have not yet obtained but which has tied their futures snug and tight together.

Rosetta and Jeremiah are joined at the hip in a way that was reminiscent of my grandparents; two souls in two halves forming a whole of a person. The mere idea of being separated did not sit well on either of their hearts, but it is the way in which duty and service divide a house, rather than a conscience effort to live apart.

As the story breathes new light into the days leading up to the their betrothal, we get an inside glimpse into their growing years, and a personal look into how they matured into who they were once they were married. McCabe has a gentle story-telling grace for allowing the flow of the words to string together a beauty of hours from a generation nearly half forgotten. The closer Rosetta gets to being a bonefide solider fighting in a war even her husband would prefer she wasn’t directly participating in, the more we start to see her best strength. She encourages her own spirit to dig deeper than even she might have allowed herself to believe possible as she goes through the routines of practice and soldiering ahead of direct contact with the enemy. She is feisty when needed to be, but on the inside she’s a wife who wishes for her husband to be a bit more considerate of her sacrifices to join him. In this way, I appreciated seeing the marriage continue to have their own share of woes whilst living in a camp for the newly enlisted.

The most interesting part of the story, is how Rosetta no longer understands her place or the worth she has to contribute as a person. She originally set out to join her husband on this grand adventure of a journey she envisioned being a solider would be; the truth in the pudding was a raunchy vagabond group of young soldiers who’d forget their manners as no one was around to criticise their slips in decorum. Rosetta ached to be of use and to be a strong contributor to the world around her, but all she truly felt was a bit of desolation at realising what she started out to attempt to do was not quite turning out as she planned. I Shall Be Near To You is a testament of how far one woman feels she needs to go to prove her love and her faithfulness to her husband. Even past the limits of conventional life.

The most gutting moments arrive in the ending chapters where my heart is full and my emotions are spilt out of my tears. The fullness of Rosetta’s life and the love she shares with Jeremiah is captured in such a compelling arc of a journey you are choking back your emotions in the thick of your throat — willing yourself to turn the pages and to see what befalls a couple whose marriage defies the odds. Yet, its so much more than a Romance nestled inside of a war drama, it is one act of courage and one couple’s defiant belief in living inside a freedom no one was yet bourne to live. This is a soul stirring narrative that will stay inside your heart and stir your ability to think on how strong anyone can be when they truly believe in what their fighting for,…

An intuitive grace for the craft of stories, Erin Lindsay McCabe draws you in:

McCabe has this warm soothing grace of crafting a story which arrives inside your mind’s eye as easily as the words are absorbed off the page their printed upon! Her narrative is writ in the voice of those who were living during the time of the Civil War, rather than a dialect that would feel out of touch with the era. Yet even then, the subtle ways in which language alters through the characters who are speaking the voice of the story itself, I did not feel out of step with it’s pace. There are times when writers convey stories with a language of the past which does not befit the characters and/or jars the reader out of the joy of reading them. In this particular case, she measured equal mirths of joy with the compelling emotional keel of a husband and wife never destined to live apart. She reaches inside that space of time where love conquers fear and hardship to pull out a tale to give you an embodiment of courage mixed with a passion forged out of a will of strength.

There is an intuitiveness to her writing, as her characters react to each other as their living counterparts might have responded as well. They sense what each other are thinking and they intersperse thought and memory with the hours in which they live their days. I appreciated the depth of how this story is centered as much as how guided their lives were by a pen with a strong sense for who they were. The research blends into the background, but it is reflected in the little details and the little moments where Jeremiah and Rosetta are breathed into being on the pages. They are living as real to me as if I were to walk up to them and make their acquaintance official. It is a very unique way of telling a story, because it is showing how their life evolves rather than telling all the details before they are known. A bit as though a documentary were airing and everyone was captured in the moment by which the camera panned left or right to glimpse what was happening in ‘the moment’ the lens captured the action.

Fly in the Ointment:

As I arrived into Chapter 9, on page 69 I started to realise the brief instances of strong language would take a bit of a turn for being more blatant and apparent. The first instance was justified as it was the rage any husband would feel after finding out his wife was nearly accosted against her will. For that passage and for the words Jeremiah expressed it felt natural as his love for Rosetta is tried and true. However, for expressing a hatred for low wages and the injustices of being a laborer without the security of a future felt plausible but to be frank I’m never one to condone the usage of words which feel more like blights on a page than an expression of emotional angst. I rankle at seeing certain words used with such freedom inside of a historical fiction novel which can stand on its own without them. I’d far appreciate a creative expression (a la Shakespeare anyone? the Bard knew how to throw an insult!) verse all the loose words flying into novels at such a fast clip I wonder when they will end.

For me, as a future Mum if I were to recommend this novel to my children, I’d have to say it was great except for certain words which had me taken out of the narrative to once again ponder the choices being made on word choices. The sad thing for me is that literature can stand honourably without vulgarity being added into it. I read a lot of historical fiction between both markets of stories: inspirational and mainstream, yet never once when I was wrapped inside of an Inspirational Historical Fiction novel did I feel I was emotionally short-changed by the absence of strong language. The conviction comes through the pen of the story-teller; the words do not need to be rough to be plausible and vile characters doe not need to spit them out to stink like a skunk.

The irony is that Rosetta’s own ears burned by hearing the words, and therefore wouldn’t it have been best to creatively say this without revealing the words which were spoken!? To have it alight off camera so to speak rather than front and center? Eluding to what is being overheard is just as powerful to the reader than having to read the words ourselves. Half the beauty of reading is allowing our own minds to envision what is not revealed or spoken; even if a person is using abrasive language, to reference it without mentioning it I think is more powerful. It gives you a pause and by allowing the character to confirm your own’s mind’s impression is even more justly apt.

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Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCable (Excerpt) by Crown Publishing Group

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This blog tour stop was courtesy of TLC Book Tours:

click-through to follow the blogosphere tour:

TLC Book Tours | Tour HostFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I took part in the AMAZING debut of the #IShall tweetchat on: 2nd September, 2014

A full recap of the event is: On the I Shall Twitter Chat @ So Obsessed With @soobsessedblog

Secondary Recap of I Shall Twitter Chat @ Belle of the Literati

The Books I called out in the Chat: Inscription by H.H. Miller & To Live Forever: An afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis by Andra Watkins as to reflect historical fiction novels which may not be as well known as others and could use a bit of extra booklove & book cheering! I had already begun to compile a list of novels which fit the Question, of which I will finish and post shortly after this review goes live!

See what I am hosting next:

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I positively *love!* comments in the threads below each of my posts, and I have happily made sure that I could reacquire the WP Comments where you can leave me a comment by using: WP (WordPress), Twitter, Facebook, Google+, & Email! Kindly know that I appreciate each thought you want to share with me and all the posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! Short or long, I appreciate the time you spent to leave behind a note of your visit! Return again soon! 

{SOURCES: Cover art of “I Shall Be Near to You”, author photograph, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Buy links on Scribd excerpt are not affiliated with Jorie Loves A Story. Book Excerpt was able to be embedded due to codes provided by Scribd.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The ‘live reading’ tweets I shared as I read & reviewed “I Shall Be Near To You”:

{ favourite & Re-tweet if inspired to share }

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie


Posted Tuesday, 16 September, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Blog Tour Host, Civil War Era (1861-1865), Debut Author, Debut Novel, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Military Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature, War Drama

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One response to “+Blog Book Tour+ I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

  1. I really enjoyed reading this! You have a beautiful conversational tone and style and I knew about a paragraph in that I’d be “liking” you on BookBlogging.net so I can easily follow you. :) You read different things than I do and evaluate based on different criteria — I rarely object to mature language, for example, even when I don’t use it — but that’s great because even just skimming through your archive has exposed me to some new ideas and concepts. I appreciate that! Most of all, I appreciate your thoughts on this particular book, since I’ve almost ordered it several times recently. :) Thanks again, and don’t lose that distinctive voice!

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