I Shall Be Near to You: A Novel

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Erin Lindsay McCabe

Narrated By: Allyson Ryan

Publisher: Random House (Audio)

Date: January 2014

Duration: 10 hours 22 minutes


An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband, inspired by the letters of a remarkable female soldier who fought in the Civil War.
Rosetta doesn't want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they'll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she's always worked by her father’s side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she's told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier.
With the army desperate for recruits, Rosetta has no trouble volunteering, although she faces an incredubous husband. She drills with the men, proves she can be as good a soldier as anyone, and deals with the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Rosetta's strong will clashes with Jeremiah's while their marraige is tested by broken conventions, constant danger, and war, and she fears discovery of her secret even as they fight for their future, and for their lives. Inspired by more than 250 documented accounts of the women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story, in Rosetta’s powerful and gorgeous voice, of the drama of marriage, one woman’s amazing exploits, and the tender love story that can unfold when two partners face life’s challenges side by side.


  • Patricia K

    I've read extensively about the Civil War - about the causes, the battles, the generals and common soldiers North and South - but I have never read anything about the many women who served disguised as men in the ranks. "I Shall Be Near To You" was a great introduction to the seldom told story of these brave and determined women. While the novel is inspired by a real woman (but not based on her life), I felt the sentiments and experiences of the main character still rang true. The descriptions of camp life and battlefield chaos put you there and I cared deeply about what happened not only to Rosetta, the main character, but to the well developed supporting characters as well. The narrator (Allyson Ryan) did an excellent job of giving voice to Rosetta. There were many times in Ms. Ryan's reading that I felt the anxiety, sadness, joy, and tedium of Rosetta's situation. I appreciate when an author can put a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye without getting overly sentimental. A very enjoyable listen and a jumping off spot to learn more about the real Rosetta who was the inspiration for this book as well as the other women like her who served as men in the Civil War.