With her new release from Thomas Nelson publishers, Tamera Alexander once again reminds her readers precisely why she is a bestselling author – her stories are masterfully written with powerful themes and unforgettable characters, often revolving around true historical events. “With This Pledge” is undoubtedly her most heart-wrenching work to date, yet also one of her most beautiful, as it contrasts the unimaginable horrors of the Civil War with the promise and hope of God’s unending and never-failing love. While it will take courage to read this incredible story, the rewards that it offers by helping us deepen our empathy, faith, and hope, are more than worth it.
“With This Pledge” is the first full-length installment in the “Carnton Novels” series, and is the story of what happened on Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, on November 30th, 1864. This was the day of the five-hour Battle of Franklin near the end of the Civil War, and during these five hours almost ten thousand soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured. The Carnton house was transformed into a field hospital, and all the people who lived there were suddenly required to assist with caring for the hundreds of wounded soldiers who soon poured through the doors. Amputations took place in the bedrooms on makeshift operating tables, and blood saturated the carpets in almost every room of the house. In an instant, the worlds of so many people were altered beyond recognition.
You may think this sounds like a tragic, disturbing novel that you would never choose to pick up, and indeed for the first few chapters I wondered what I had gotten myself into. But before long, glimpses of hope began to shine through the horror, and beauty began to show up in ways that stole my breath. The faith, love, and fears of humanity were displayed as wounded soldiers faced the unknown. At the same time an inspiring but unlikely love story began to take shape, one that is based on the factual historical courtship and marriage of Elizabeth Clouston, governess at Carnton, and Captain Roland Ward Jones, who was injured nearly to the point of death and spent several weeks in convalescence at Carnton.
If you have the courage to pick up this incredibly beautiful, poignant story, you will not regret it. Yes, certain portions are disturbing, but they also bring to life a true historical event and help us hold it up to the truth of God’s word – I believe this helps us to get better at allowing His light to penetrate the horrors of this world until Jesus takes us Home. Without hesitation, I highly recommend “With This Pledge” to mature readers, especially those who enjoy fiction that is deeply immersed in fact. Trust me when I say, this is a story you will not soon forget.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.