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In this debut historical novel, based on true events, newlyweds Jeremiah and Rosetta dream of one day acquiring their own farm. As the Civil War rages around them, Jeremiah enlists hoping the payment he receives will secure their future. After he departs, Rosetta is overcome by the feeling that her place is with her husband. Unbeknownst to him, she cuts her hair, hems an old pair of his pants and joins the Union army on the battlefield. Inspired by over 250 documented accounts of women who fought during the Civil War, I Shall be Near to You is a testament to both breaking with convention and the enduring nature of love.
“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
“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
“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, author of The Prince of Tides and The Death of Santini