I really enjoyed this book. (Obviously-historical fiction is my jam.) I will give this book a 4/5.
Here is a synopsis from Goodreads:
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. Though she’s always worked by her father’s side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she’s told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier.
Rosetta drills with the men, prepares herself for battle, and faces the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Fearing discovery of her secret, Rosetta’s strong will clashes with Jeremiah’s as their marriage is tested by war. Inspired by over two hundred and fifty documented accounts of the women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story, in Rosetta’s powerful and gorgeous voice, of the drama of marriage, one woman’s amazing exploits, and the tender love story that can unfold when two partners face life’s challenges side by side.
I have read a lot of historical fiction books, and this book was fairly accurate from what I know. Obviously there are some liberties taken, but I thought she did a great job honoring the integrity of the time. She does write in the dialect that you would hear at that time, which can sometimes be hard to wade through because there are some things that have changed in the English Language, but I find that kind of stuff interesting. She also based this on actual people. There is some added historical facts at the end of the book that I found really interesting. I was not aware of how many women actually chose this life to be with their husbands. What is even more mind-boggling is that they were rarely caught even when they were pregnant! I could not imaging trying to hide my female identity let alone trying to hide a pregnancy on the FRONT LINES. That is remarkable.
As a former military wife, fighting alongside my husband was something that never crossed my mind. Granted the circumstances are much different now, but it does make you think about what they would experience together. That could either make them even closer or push them apart because of the danger. Either way I think I would be highly distracted if I fought with Tom. I would be more concerned about his well-being than anyone else’s including my own that I don’t think my judgement would be clear in all cases. Watching their marriage on the front lines definitely made me think a lot about our own sacrifices we made as a military family. It also made me sooo thankful of the modern amenities and technologies our military has now.
There were parts that were predictable, but she did a good job of writing a story that you wanted to keep reading through despite some obvious plot twists. I also appreciated that she didn’t gloss over the horrendous way the Civil War was fought and the gravity of it all. It may be hard to read, but I think it this was a moving tribute.
Anyway this is a good love story set in historical fiction that I really enjoyed reading.
I did receive this book complimentary from Blogging for Books for my review. These thoughts are my own.