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1.15.2019

With This Pledge ~ Review

With This Pledge
The Carnton Novels #1
By Tamera Alexander

Tamera Alexander has once again brought history to life in a moving piece of literature. The horror and destructive power of war is brutally illustrated as Carnton Plantation provides sanctuary for some of the most desperately wounded of the Battle of Franklin, a battle that signaled the South's eventual defeat.

Lizzie Clouston has called Carnton home for several years, working as a governess to the family's two children. But when the war between the Federal and Confederate armies converges on the fields of Franklin, Tennessee, Lizzie is pressed into service assisting in the surgery of many Confederate soldiers whose very life hangs upon the outcome. But when Captain Roland Ward Jones asks her to promise him that she'll not allow the surgeon to remove his leg, Lizzie makes a promise that she hopes and prays she'll not regret.

War is a harsh taskmaster and it is determined to exact its price with losses on both sides and Lizzie finds herself offering aid and comfort to many who are about to breath their last. Several of these deaths touch her deeply especially one young man's to whom she feels burdened to find and locate his family. 

When a nation is in turmoil how do you stay firm in your resolve? Lizzie has made promises and she'll do all she can to keep them even when it costs her. With This Pledge is a moving testament to the true story of Elizabeth Clouston and that of Captain Roland Jones as the world they knew changes and they are left with finding their new place in it. And facing the truth of what slavery truly was may be the hardest part to accept because to accept the truth about the evils of slavery casts those who rallied to its call in a light they'd rather not see themselves in. I think the most striking passage that illustrates this is when Roland looks upon his time of recovery from his injuries...
"Roland heard what George wasn't saying and yet was. And though
it struck a dissonant chord within him, he forced himself to look past
that and to his own life through the lens of George's--through the lens
of his own life over the past few weeks. He'd been powerless to change
anything. Had no control over his future. Felt like a prisoner in his
own body. And he would've done just about anything to be given the
chance to change that. What man wouldn't? 

  Roland looked up and saw Georges's outstretched hand. And grasped it."

Those who read the Christmas at Carnton novel will recognize the setting and some of the other characters. If you have not yet read the previous book don't worry this one can be easily read and followed on its own. This work of historical fiction set in Tennessee during the turbulent final months of the Civil War. The characters are relatable and I would love to get the chance to know more of them. And Tempy is a woman who may not have been allowed an education but the wisdom that she shares with those who call Carnton home is a treasure. Highly recommended reading.

I was provided a complimentary advance copy of this book by the publisher through TLC Book Tours with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.



About the Book:

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 converted into a Confederate field hospital, and Lizzie is called upon to assist the military doctor with surgeries that determine life or death. Faced with the unimaginable, she must summon fortitude, even as she fears for the life of Towny, her fiancĂ© and lifelong friend.
As a young soldier lies dying in Lizzie’s arms, she vows to relay his final words to his mother, but 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 his leg.
Lizzie is nothing if not a woman of her word, earning the soldiers’ respect as she tends to the wounded within Carnton’s walls. None is more admiring than Captain Jones, who doesn’t realize she is pledged to another. But as Lizzie’s heart softens toward the Confederate captain, she discovers that his moral ground is at odds with her own. Now torn between love, principles, and pledges made, she struggles to be true to her own heart while standing for what she knows is right—no matter the cost.
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 Miss Elizabeth Clouston into a story of unlikely romance first kindled amid the shadows of war.

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