War has been a man’s game since the beginning of time. The men went to war and the women stayed home.
The Civil War began to slowly change that idea.
Erin Lindsay McCabe’s new novel, I Shall Be Near To You, is the story of a woman who donned men’s clothes, changed her identity and fought in the Civil War.
Rosetta and Jeremiah are newlyweds at the outbreak of the Civil War. Jeremiah joins his brothers and the other young men of the community to fight. Not satisfied to stay home and wait for her husband to return, Rosetta dresses in her husband’s clothes, takes the names of Ross Stone and joins his regiment. Jeremiah is quick to figure out that the new recruit is his wife. Their marriage is tested by the war itself, as well as the constant danger of her true identity being revealed.
I enjoyed this book. Rosetta is not the meek and mild woman to wait at home patiently while her husband fights for the North. She spurns many of the conventions of being a woman in that period, even before she joins the army. Jeremiah, equally as strong willed, is incredulous that his wife is dressed in his clothes and is now acting as a man. But he still treats her like any of the men in his regiment.
The details in this books make it that more real. There were women who did forgo the female conventions to fight in the Civil war. Rosetta’s story is fiction, but these women’s heroism is real.
I recommend this book.