Hello! What Doesn't Kill Her by Christina Dodd will be out on January 29. It is the second book in the Cape Charade series. Healing Hearts by Sarah M. Eden publishes on February 5 along with The Forgiving Jar by Wanda E. Brunstetter and A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden.
With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander takes us on a journey back to November 30, 1864 to the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Clouston is the governess to Colonel and Mrs. McGavock’s children. They soon notice Federal troops going by the house preparing to battle the southern forces across the field. Reverend Markham comes in and announces that Carnton is being commandeered for a field hospital. The brutal battle results in a significant number of casualties and Lizzie is enlisted to assist Dr. Phillips in the surgery. Captain Roland Ward Jones, a Mississippi sharpshooter, is brought in with severe injuries to both legs and an arm. Before going into surgery, Capt. Jones makes Lizzie promise to intervene should the surgeon wish to amputate his legs. When Dr. Phillips decides it is in the patient’s best interest to amputate, Lizzie keeps her word. Roland is in for a long recovery and they must pray he does not get an infection. It seems Lizzie’s night for making promises. A fourteen year old boy who is dying asks Lizzie to deliver a final message to his mother. Lizzie only has the boys first name, a knife and a Bible page to guide her on the quest. As Lizzie cares for the injured Capt. Jones, romance blooms between them. However, Lizzie is betrothed to Lt. Blake Townsend and she cannot go back on her pledge. Roland accompanies Lizzie on her journey to discover the boy’s identity. Will Lizzie be able to deliver the young boy’s final words to his family? Are Captain Jones and Lizzie destined to be star-crossed lovers?
Tamera Alexander used the letters from the real Lizzie Clouston and Captain Roland Jones along with historical and personal accounts to weave this fascinating story. I thought With This Pledge was well-written with gentle pacing. With This Pledge is filled with rich historical details along with descriptions of the clothing, homes, conveyances, battles, wounds soldiers suffered and much more. The battle scenes are realistic along with the injuries the soldiers received. Many people had conflicted feelings about the war as evidenced by Lizzie. Slavery was a contentious issue. Owning people was wrong, but Southerners needed the slaves to work their plantations and they could not afford to pay wages to the number of workers needed. The book is brought to life thanks to the descriptive writing. The religious content is strong with our main characters being Christians who share their faith and live to set an example to others. I like that the author included books that were popular during this time period like A Christmas Carol. The romance between Lizzie and Roland is sweet. It plays out softly, naturally and respectfully. The dialogue suited the time period with its formality and word choices. I am giving With This Pledge 4 out of 5 stars. There were some areas that were not as engaging (battle details for example) and I would find myself skimming the text for the next intriguing section. Readers will enjoy this sweeping historical romance its multifaceted story and relatable, heartwarming characters.
You can find out more about Carnton and the Battle of Franklin by visiting the Battle of Franklin Trust. If you enjoy historical novels, I suggest reading Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander. I will feature Nipped in the Bud by Sheila Connolly tomorrow. The twelfth An Orchard Mystery. I hope you have a day filled with happiness. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader