Excerpt from I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

I Shall Be Near To You

by Erin Lindsay McCabe

I Shall Be Near To You
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2014, 320 pages
    Sep 2014, 320 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


All of us are clean for once, hair slicked back, our new kepis on, our trousers still creased, standing in the dim shop, a blue curtain draped across the wall behind us. The photo man, he makes us six press together like horses in a rainstorm. Jimmy and Henry stand on one side, then Jeremiah and me, then Will, and Sully on the end, looking even more tall and gangly next to Will. The photo man keeps telling Sully to stand still. Jeremiah's hand rests on my shoulder and my arm is round his waist. My spine shivers like we've been caught kissing in church.

The photo man finally sees what the rest of us already know about Sully and his chances of staying put. There is a burst of light. None of us jump at that, but Sully ain't still of course.

When I've given over four bits and am holding my tintype in my hand, I almost holler at Sully for ruining the picture, him nothing but a fuzzy blur leaning forward. Anyone looking will think we're good friends, all of us joined up together. Anyone will see one boy shorter than the rest, younger too maybe with that smooth face, but just as hard when it comes to the eyes. Papa will see the only son he'll ever have. Mama will see different when she gets that tintype in the mail. She will see us holding each other. She will see I still ain't ever the daughter she wanted. But all I see is me and Jeremiah, his head leaning toward mine, his fingers tight on my shoulder.

Near Flat Creek, New York: January–February 1862

'Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall.'
—Ruth 3:18

Chapter 1

January 1862

I know it when I see them. Jeremiah. The boys, Henry and Jimmy O'Malley, Sullivan Cameron. The four of them in a tight bunch across the churchyard, a bushelful of excitement between them, looking sideways with smiles only half hidden, that handbill paper all soft from too much of their hands on it. I know right then they are planning on joining up. It makes me so mad I could kick shins, but I stay put next to Betsy, listening to Mama talking about Mrs. Waite's baby, how sweet, how pretty, and her so young and her husband gone already, killed at Bull Run and his enlistment almost done.

And then I just can't stand still. I march through the snow to the boys' corner, watching their mouths clamp shut as soon as they see me coming. Jimmy hides himself farther behind Henry, always trying to stay out of a fight, and Sully snatches that paper out of Jeremiah's hands and hides it behind his back, but it's Jeremiah I want. I grab his elbow and yank.

Sully whoops, 'I told you she'd be mad!'

'It ain't like it's tough getting Rosetta riled,' Henry laughs, showing all his crazy teeth.

I don't pay them any mind. I just drag Jeremiah back around the church's corner so none of them gossiping churchladies can see.

'What you think you're playing at?' I ask.

He leans his long body against the church, reaching out to pull my hand off my hip, smiling the whole time like it's nothing, his hand cool and smooth with calluses.

'What do you mean?' he says, like I don't know. Like everyone don't. Like the men ain't been talking about the war for most of the year, my Papa standing with Mr. Cameron and Jeremiah's Pa, their voices loud, their hands moving, complaining on Lincoln or McClellan or talking about how if we had more Generals like Grant the war would be over already. Now more than ever I am wishing it was.

'What makes you think you need to be the one teaching those Rebels a lesson?' I ask him.

'Rosetta, that ain't the only thing—

Excerpted from I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe Copyright © 2014. Excerpted by permission of Crown Trade, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Rose O'Neale Greenhow

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Stalin's Daughter
    by Rosemary Sullivan
    "There is something fatal about my life. You can't regret your fate, though I do regret my ...
  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Imperial Wife
    by Irina Reyn

    A smart, engaging novel that parallels two fascinating worlds and two singular women.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    All Is Not Forgotten
    by Wendy Walker

    This is fast-paced psychological suspense/thriller at it's very best.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!


Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!