Friday, February 8, 2019

Book Review - With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander

Book Synopsis

What can a woman–a mere governess–do against the scourge of slavery?
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Clouston’s quietly held principles oppose those of the Southern Cause–but when forty thousand soldiers converge on the fields of Franklin, Tennessee, the war demands an answer. The Carnton home, where she is governess, is commandeered as a Confederate hospital; and Lizzie must summon fortitude to assist the military doctor with surgeries that determine life or death–even as she fears for the life of Towny, her fiancé and lifelong friend.
A young soldier’s dying words convey an urgent message that Lizzie promises to deliver, yet she knows little more than the boy’s first name. That same night, decorated Mississippi sharpshooter Captain Roland Ward Jones extracts a different promise from Lizzie: that she intervene should the surgeon decide to amputate. Even if it costs him his life.
Lizzie is nothing if not a woman of her word, earning the soldiers’ respect as she tends the wounded convalescing within Carnton’s walls. None is more admiring than Captain Jones, who doesn’t realize she is already pledged to another. But Captain Jones holds secrets of his own, which prove costly for Lizzie. Because a betrothed woman shouldn’t harbor feelings for a man other than her intended. Especially not when that man is a slave owner.
When Towny vanishes after a crushing battle in Nashville, Lizzie must confront the costs of war. And torn between love, principles, and promises made, she struggles to be true to her own heart while standing for what she knows is right–no matter the cost.


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

My Review
With This Pledge is set at Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee during the Civil War.  Lizzie Clouston is a governess in the house.  When the war moves close to home (the Battle of Franklin), the house becomes a makeshift hospital, and Lizzie is recruited to work as a nurse.  As she takes care of the soldiers she develops a special bond with a sharpshooter from Mississippi named Roland Jones.  She is engaged to another man and deeply conflicted about her feelings.  This novel is Lizzie and Roland's story, but it is also the story of how the war effects the family and community.

Although I am a great fan of historical fiction, I am not really a Civil War buff (despite growing up in Georgia).  For that reason I was surprised at how engrossed I was in this novel.  It is beautifully told with solid historical research.  (After you read the book, be sure to visit Tamera Alexander's website to see photos of the real people and places that inspired this novel!)  

I appreciated how nuanced this book was.  The protagonist, Lizzie, has strong moral beliefs against slavery, but she also feels strongly about taking care of the wounded military men.  I particularly liked Tempy, the family's cook, and Lizzie's warm friendship with her.  I also admired Lizzie's determination to do what was right and her sense of independent thought.  She was a natural with medical care (her father was a pharmacist) and I think at a later time she would have become a doctor.

Lizzie and Roland's story is fascinating, especially because it was based on fact.  The author did a wonderful job at character development in general, and of these two characters in specific.

In some respects, this novel reminded me a bit of the PBS series Mercy Street, especially as it dealt with medical care during the Civil War.  I think that anyone who enjoyed that series will also really love this novel.

I have to add that I loved the way Lizzie and the McGavock family (including the family's young children) reached out to the soldiers to provide comfort and a sense of home during the Christmas season.  There is a storyline about Lizzie reading A Christmas Carol to the soldiers evenings during the holiday season.  The sense of time and place in these scenes is exceptional.

I found With This Pledge utterly fascinating and look forward to reading the upcoming books in the Carnton series.  I also plan to catch up with the author's other series.   Very highly recommended for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone interested in Civil War history.

Author Bio
Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded and nominated for numerous industry-leading honors, including the Christy Award (two-time winner, seven-time finalist), the RITA Award (two-time winner, four-time finalist), the Carol Award, the Maggie Award, the Booksellers Best Award, and Library Journal’s top distinction, among others. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband now reside in Nashville, Tennessee, where they live a short distance from Belmont Mansion and Belle Meade Plantation, the setting of Tamera’s two USA Today bestselling Southern series.


Connect with Tamera

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours.

1 comment:

Sara Strand said...

I loved that you enjoyed this book even though Civil War isn't your top choice, that's a great compliment to the author! Thank you for being on this tour!

Sara @ TLC Book Tours