(Review) I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
Publisher: Broadway Books/Crown Publishing Group/Random House LLC.
Genre: Historical fiction, Civil War.
Rating: 3 stars for good.
Newly married Jeremiah and Rosetta Wakefield have only a few days together before he departs for military training. After Jeremiah leaves, Rosetta takes the initiative to join him. In her mind, her place is beside him. They live in rural New York. When the story begins it is January 1862.
The synopsis on the back cover explains this is "a woman's search for meaning and individuality, and a poignant story of enduring love." I did not see this. What I did see is a young couple very much in love and the war puts a hold on their life together. I also saw a head-strong, determined, selfish young woman take the initiative to pretend to be a man, and a soldier, in order to be by her husband's side in battle. The story pushes the romantic element, but I'm horrified at Rosetta's selfish act. Jeremiah as the husband aka protector of Rosetta, is going to deal with 2 nemesis: the enemy and protecting his wife while they are both side by side in battle. This stinks. Love requires sacrifice and doing the right thing, when we don't want to do the right thing. Although it's true some people are not capable of understanding what the right thing is. I believe it is unrealistic for Jeremiah to have allowed his wife to be with him. Could this type of story-line happen? According to the "Author's Note," women did join the military during the Civil War to be with family. I still think it's foolish. We are talking about a different place and time, not modern military training for men and women.
On the other hand, there are moments in I Shall Be Near To You, where the writing is beautiful and moving.
Lastly, I was swept away by the stolen moments of love between Jeremiah and Rosetta. Their love story is haunting and memorable.