Saturday, January 19, 2019

Review: With This Pledge

ABL Review At-A-Glance
Ø    Title:  With This Pledge (Carnton #1)
Ø    My Rating: 4
Ø    Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction
Ø    Author:  Tamera Alexander
Ø    Format:  Paperback*
Ø    Publication Date:  January 8th 2019

Goodreads Synopsis

History takes on vivid life in the stunning first full-length installment of Tamera Alexander's new series, The Carnton Novels.

On the night of November 30, 1864, a brutal battle in Franklin, Tennessee, all but decimates the Confederacy and nearly kills Captain Roland Ward Jones. A decorated Mississippi sharpshooter, Jones has a vision on the battlefield and, despite the severity of his wounds, believes his life will be spared. But a life without his leg, he can't abide. He compels Elizabeth "Lizzie" Clouston—governess to the McGavock family at the Carnton mansion—to intervene should the surgeon decide to amputate. True to her word, Lizzie speaks on his behalf and saves not only the captain's leg but also his life.

When a fourteen-year-old soldier dies in Lizzie's arms that night, the boy's final words, whispered with urgency, demand that Lizzie deliver them to their intended recipient. But all she has is the boy's first name. And, as she soon discovers, there's no record of him ever having enlisted. How can she set out alone across a land so divided by war and hatred to honor her pledge? Even more, does she dare accept Captain Jones's offer to accompany her? As he coalesces at Carnton, romance has blossomed between him and Lizzie—a woman already betrothed to a man she does not love.

From the pages of history and the personal accounts of those who endured the Battle of Franklin, Tamera Alexander weaves the real-life love letters between Captain Roland Ward Jones and Elizabeth Clouston into a story of unlikely romance first kindled amid the shadows of war.

My Thoughts...

This is why I love historical fiction.  I got to spend some time in a period I am not super familiar with, and learned about people I did not know existed.  What I really loved about this story was the ambiguity.  No one seemed to know how exactly to feel, because their world was in a constant state of change.  It was interesting to read about the end of a war, as I’ve mostly read about surviving during a war.  Here, you get a glimpse of the losing side of a conflict, and how they dealt with their losses.

I have never seen beliefs confronted and dealt with in such a way. The characters each reacted differently to moral questions.  Some held fast to their assumptions, while others became defensive but contemplative.  Change is a difficult but inevitable part of life, and in some books, it is made to look easy.    In With This Pledge, the author seems to deliberately explore how hard it must have been to confront your way of life, and the principles you have killed and been willing to die for, only to discover you were wrong. This book almost forces the reader to confront their own beliefs as well.  If this book had been written from a Union perspective, I would not have felt any sympathy for the wounded, bed-bound Confederate soldiers, and would have rooted for them to all be thrown in jail, whether or not they would have survived.  Sometimes fiction can force us to examine our own humanity by forcing us to live others shoes.

I’m not able to speak to the accuracy of the research done, but I can say that WTP is so detailed that I can only assume it was thoroughly researched I got a peak into the reality of living in Carnton without ever feeling like I was reading a textbook.  This is not a boring recitation of facts, but a beautiful examination of  finding love and justice in the most trying of times.

* Special thanks to Tamera Alexander, Thomas Nelson, and TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of With This Pledge in exchange for an honest review.


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