From the pages of history and the personal accounts of those who endured the Battle of Franklin, Tamera Alexander weaves real-life love letters into a story of unlikely romance first kindled amid the shadows of the Civil War.
“Beautifully-drawn characters and rich history in With This Pledge work seamlessly to demonstrate that Christ’s love and romantic love can triumph even in our darkest moments.” —Lynn Austin, bestselling author
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 fiancé 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 promises made, she struggles to be true to her 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.
“Alexander’s With This Pledge dusts off the archives and breathes life into the Battle of Franklin: believed to be the most brutal battle in the Civil War. Through Tamera Alexander’s indomitable heroine, Lizzie Clouston, who transforms from governess to nurse out of necessity, we find ourselves contemplating our own inner strength should we also be faced with the unthinkable. Tamera Alexander’s With This Pledge is not only historical fiction at its finest, but its most compelling.” —Jolina Petersheim, bestselling author of How the Light Gets In
“Tamera Alexander has once again given readers a beautifully written story full of strong characters and tender romance—all while staying true to the actual history of the people and events she describes. From the horrors of war to the hope of blossoming love, Lizzie and Roland’s story will live in my heart for a very long time.” —Anne Mateer, author of Playing by Heart
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Rich in historical details
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 (I liked it). 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.
Such a Great Book!
With This Pledge is set during the Civil War, during and after the extremely bloody Battle of Franklin. It tells the love story between Elizabeth Clouston and Captain Roland Ward Jones. Tamera Alexander researched extensively in writing this book, both to ensure the accuracy of the depictions of the battle and its aftermath, and to properly tell the story of these 2 people who really lived and met and fell in love in the midst of the chaos and tragedy of war. It tells of the moral and ethical dilemmas that they faced as they disagreed about slavery and equality of all people, about their convictions to stand up and fight for what they believed in no matter the cost, and of how their faith and trust in God kept them grounded. It is a sweet and beautiful love story that captures deep and intense emotion.
I've read and loved all of Tamera Alexander's books, but for me, this one is a stand out. The imagery is so vivid that I feel as though I saw the events that took place with my own eyes. The characters are so well-developed and true to life. And the setting, the events of the battle and aftermath, combined with the love story and the personal struggles -- all put together evoke so much emotion. Once I had the chance to get into the book (meaning once the rest of my family was asleep and I had quiet time to myself) I couldn't put it down.