I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story 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.
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.
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,...
Though Rosetta's dialect is often grating her spunky attitude and tenacity reveals a fascinating, appealing character. Rosetta is brave enough to choose her husband's love over a life of feminine conformity. McCabe’s novel is an engrossing one, and her main character Rosetta is unforgettable.
(Reviewed by Sarah Sacha Dollacker).
Full Review (714 words).
Though Rosetta is a fictional character in I Shall Be Near To You, some of the people she encounters as an enlisted soldier are not. When Rosetta guards Rose O'Neale Greenhow in the Old Capital Prison, we are given some insights into a fascinating, historical figure.
Born in Maryland in 1817, Greenhow was an ardent secessionist. She was also a vibrant socialite in Washington D.C. before the Civil War broke out. A widow and renowned hostess, Greenhow was able to move between various social groups, placing her in a unique position for spying. Information she passed to Confederate General P.T. Beauregard helped him win Bull Run. Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, credited Greenhow with this victory.
She was arrested ...
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