With this Pledge

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Wow! I am amazed at the depth of this book. You can tell that it was researched and great care was taken to realistically portray the characters in this story. I was further amazed when I read the notes from Tamera Alexander that the characters were real people. Often in historical fiction, events surrounding the central story are real, but the characters are fictional. This information made me love the story even more.

The book takes place during a pivotal and tragic part of the Civil War. My heart ached for the soldiers and their families that lost their lives in Franklin, Tennessee. The images that I was able to picture from the author's descriptions were vivid and horrifying. It is a reminder of the brutality of war.

This book wasn't only about the loss of life. It is a book of hope. Hope for a better future for the characters, particularly the slaves. The author is able to portray the ideals of the time without prejudice. I love her writing for this fact. It was a volatile time for the United States. The war was won, but there are still social issues that have been hard to weed out of our society. She tells the story and shows how God loves His children, faults and all.

If you love historical romance, this book is a winner. I cannot give it a high enough recommendation.

Source: I requested a copy from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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With This Pledge by Tamara Alexander was a powerfully real historical fiction read.  This author brings the reader right in to a battle, the Battle of Franklin, which was during the Civil War, and she doesn’t leave much description out.  The realness that she pens is intense and gripping.  She tells the story from a Southern person’s view and I found that to be powerful.  There are battles and that brought about victims.  There is a sense of helplessness in helping the victims and feeling unequipped to do anything of real value…  I felt she did her homework on this one and she shares her findings with us as well.  
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


****Also posted on CBD, B&N
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​I am a huge history buff and was immediately drawn into this story. Alexander holds nothing back in relaying the true devastation and horrors of war. Lizzie's strength, courage, and sorrow moved me. Her compassion for the soldiers and difficulty dealing with the realities of war that were thrust upon her brought to light both our human frailties and our ability to summon an other-worldly strength when circumstances require us to do so that otherwise we feel would be beyond our reach. I also appreciated how Alexander brought to light Roland's enlightenment on owning slaves and transitioned his thinking on this very sensitive subject. And of course there was the romance between Lizzie and Roland! A sweet, slow unfolding of their growing affection for one another left me pining to learn even more about this real life couple's romance in the face of tragedy! One thing to note- I strongly recommend that readers visit Alexander's website to read the historical notes and documentation used to build this story. The pictures, personal stories, and historical references added so much to this story making it truly jump from the pages of history!

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. A review was not required. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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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.
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As I read this book I kept thinking how artfully written it is and if you are as big a fan of Tamera Alexander fan as I am, you will know exactly what I mean. Admittedly I am an avid reader of Civil War fiction so I read this genre whenever I can.

The author has written a gritty novel that pulled me in immediately although making me cringe at times with her descriptive and realistic description story telling.  This is something that I love about her work, she does her research and crafts characters that endear themselves to me. Lizzie Clouston is much stronger than I would ever hope to be and I cannot imagine nursing injured soldiers  or being anywhere near that much pain and suffering because I am no good in an emergency situation truthfully.  However I felt like I was there when the military took over their home for a hospital and how the family had no choice but to assist when they were required to do so.  That is why I found Lizzie so endearing as I read of how she rolled up her sleeves and did what was asked of her.

I had been eagerly anticipating this book since I finished reading the novella Christmas at Carnton and I can say this novel was well worth the wait.  The writing is top-notch and the characters are exceptional.  A must read for fans of Historical fiction.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley and was under no obligation to write a review.  All opinions are my own.
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I have never read one of Tamera Alexander's books before, but I have to say, after this one, I will be reading some more! I loved With This Pledge, the true story of Lizzie Clouston and Captain Roland Ward Jones. The two met during the Battle of Franklin during the Civil War, when the battle was brought to the front door of the home where Lizzie was working as a governess. The story is enthralling and woven with so much historical fact that you can't really tell where truth ends and fiction begins. I told my mom about it and we are actually planning a trip to the Carnton House in Franklin, TN where the story takes place. I love stories about the history of the US and this one was especially good. I am grateful for the opportunity to read it and learn more about our country's past. 
Lizzie is a young lady, working in the home of the McGavock's, when the battle for slavery was fought outside her door. Then, as wounded soldiers are brought inside by the hundreds for care, she is expected to assist with amputations and nursing. She finds herself drawn to Captain Jones during this time, though she is betrothed to someone else. Watching the story of their friendship and love unfold was fascinating, especially with all of the information about the Civil War and the other soldiers at the home. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves historical stories. I received a free copy of this story from NetGalley for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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This was a wonderful story that I definitely recommend!!
Tamera Alexander has done it again! I totally love all of her books and this one was no less!
Elizabeth -Lizzie- Clouston is a governess at the Carnton Estate in 1876 during the Battle of Franklin Tenesse, in the Southern part of the war. The Carnton's family plantation is taken over to make of it a hospital for the wounded soldiers, and Lizzie is required to assist the doctor in surgeries and healing the wounded. She is bethrothed to her childhood best friend, and although she doesn't love him romantically, she wants a family and thinks her marriage will be a good one. That is, if he ever comes back alive from war...
Things get complicated when she meets Captain Roland Ward Jones and assists him in recovering from a serious injury. She promises to help him convince the doctor not to amputate his legs, although his life is really at risk. But she never expects to grow feelings for him. But there are so many things that make clear that their relationship is not to be: for starters, he owns slaves and Lizzie firmly believes in her conscience that that is wrong; then, she is pledged to another one, who is fighting in the war. She cannot take back her word, can she?
This is a beautiful and realistic story of this specific historical circumstance. I learned that Tamera based her story of real letters between these two characters. It seems well researched and it has a lot of historical detail that makes it all the more real.
I loved the characters, and found myself rooting for them and their "forbidden" love. Lizzie was strong and courageous, yet vulnerable to so much pain. Roland was a true hero too who deals with his injury and pain with admirable strength. There were so many hard situations and crude scenes, but never too graphic. I think she did it all with respect and hope. I ended feeling inspired and I loved how Lizzie helps Roland reach out to God more freely and letting go of his guilt. It really kept me engaged, and I couldn't stop until the end, which was very satisfying.
I learned a lot about the war between the States in a very riveting way.
I definitely recommend this novel to lovers of the historical romance genre. It was masterfully done! Congrats Tamera!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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Beautiful! As I’ve come to expect from Tamera Alexander, she writes a love letter to her beloved state, bringing up pieces of history I didn’t know about and creating a set of unforgettable characters.
In “With this Pledge”, Tamera masterfully pens a story mixed with facts and fiction, creating a dynamic plot that pulls you in from the start.
Very well done!
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Tamera is a wonderful author. The research she puts into her books brings them to life and she achieved that in this book.

From the beginning we are tossed into a scene that you want to look away from but must keep reading to see what will happen next.

She does give a warning in the beginning that it can be a bit hard to read as she doesn’t hold back the things that these men went through and she is right. I could easy see the torn bodies laying every where.

Lizzie is a strong young woman who hates the war and all it stands for. The reader will easily come to like her.

Roland is a strong hero, even to his own detriment. But his determination and his faith will have cheering from him.

If you enjoy historical romance I highly recommend this book.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through the JustRead Tours. All opinions are my own.
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Weaving a love story through describing the horrors of the battlefield stories during the Civil War in Franklin, Tennessee, is a courageous undertaking. And Tamera Alexander brings to life the love story of Elizabeth "Lizzie" and Captain Roland, with descripted imagery, that flows from one page to the next. If you like romance wrapped in history, then this book is for you. 
I received a egalley complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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I really enjoyed With this Pledge. I'd already read the Christmas at Carnton novella, and couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. 
Tamera Alexander has never disappointed me as an author, and this book was no exception. With this Pledge was, as usual, beautifully written, and able to transport the reader to the exact place and time the novel is set. 
I live in Franklin, and have been able to tour the real Carnton home and lands, and I have to say the author captured the descriptions with excellence and accuracy. And had I not seen the place in real life, I would still have been able to clearly see all of the characters in my mind moving about the home. 

What I found interesting about With the Pledge are the different perspectives pertaining to the Civil War that are shown. The book does not show the Confederacy completely as villains, nor the Union completely as heroes. She gets into the heads of the characters and gives us a glimpse of why they may have been thinking what they were. That there was, perhaps, a great amount of tragically misguided loyalty that lead the soldiers on each side. And because of that, it challenges the reader think and dig deep internally to consider why we believe the things we do as well. 

And of course there's the love story. The fact is evident that the author has done her historical homework. She's found inspiration from actual handwritten letters from real characters in the novel that have been preserved by the family. I believe she's done a great job honoring them, while taking what creative license she needed to. The characters are fleshed out in strengths and flaws, and are a wonderful reminder that we are in constant need of guidance and direction from the Lord. 
I especially liked the nuns. They were funny, actually made me laugh out loud a few times, and brought a lot of levity to the story. 

Overall, With the Pledge has everything you'd expect and want from both Christian and Historical fiction.
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I'm sorry to say that I didn't care for this one. I wasn't able to finish it. I tried several times before I finally gave up at 41%. 
Alexander is certainly gifted and her research shows. But there were times when the story fell flat because it suddenly became too historical and not enough fiction. I've seen this in other novels by other authors, and it appears to be a tough balance when the historical novel features a real person as the main character. 
But for me, one of the biggest problems was the heroine herself. She came across as too perfect. Even her flaws were perfectly adorable. And it seemed as if Alexander was bent on selling me on this character and gave me a sale's pitch on every other page. There was no end to the characters' praise (internally and externally) for Lizzie that it just became hard to swallow. 
I understand that this is a pet peeve of mine that many readers don't share. I prefer characters to be a bit more flawed and the author to be more subtle about singing their praises. 
While it wasn't a hit for me, I acknowledge that it very well may a hit for others. The reader will certainly feel as though they'd stepped back in time and experienced a real moment in history.
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Always love Tamera Alexander novels and she’s one of my favorite authors  this book was beautiful! I felt I was there right with these characters, living in this era. Beautiful!!!
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Lizzie Clouston is a governess working for a retired Colonel at Carnton Plantation, when the war comes to their front door, Carnton is turned into a makeshift Hospital and she is called upon to serve as a nurse. 



Captain Roland Ward Jones is a sharpshooter in the Confederate Army, after being wounded he is brought to the Carnton Hospital where he is faced with the amputation of his leg. Roland refuses the recommended treatment with the support of Lizzie.



Roland and Lizzie find themselves falling for each other despite their shifting views of what life after the war will look like, as they find their values challenged.



Tamera Alexander brings the Civil War to life through the eyes of Roland and Lizzie in the Confederate South, as the war comes right into the halls of Carnton. She deftly brings the harsh realities of war to life as Southerners see their way of life changing in the last years of the war leading up the Reconstruction Era. 



Roland is a Southern Gentleman, who is bullheaded and stands true to his values. When he sets his mind to something there is no moving him, he admires Lizzie's strength and compassion, her heart that is strong enough to not be hardened by the stark realities of war. 



Slow to start, but once it got going I was really investested, there is alot of history and the author believably brings it to life. I liked the sense of camaraderie between the characters, as people who would not normally have met are brought together and bonded by experiences, there are many fascinating characters and side stories. A heartfelt and gritty story that shows the horrors and the good that came out of the Civil War.





Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."
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This novel, true to Tamera Alexander’s form, is rich and deep.  This particular story is interestingly based on real letters.  The characters are told so beautifully that as a reader you cannot help but fall in love with them and begin to feel their joys and their struggles.  It is easy to immerse yourself in the vividly detailed historical setting.  And the spiritual truths are interwoven, relatable, and meaningful.  I really did enjoy this story and cannot wait for more from this skilled storyteller!

I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is my first Tamera Alexander book, though I have had her books on my TBR radar for quite some time. I think her covers are beautiful and there is something about southern belles and romances that I can’t get enough of. But yet, I haven’t moved her books up on my TBR list for some unknown reason.

I was thrilled when this book came up for review because it gave me the perfect excuse to read one of her books, but then I forgot that I had it coming up soon.

When I started looking at my calendar I realized that I hadn’t even started it yet and to be honest, I was really wanting to read another book instead. But being part of a tour leaves little room for flexibility. Reluctantly, I picked up this book to read one night, and the next thing I knew, it was well after midnight. 

Summary

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 (summary from Goodreads).

Review

I was unbelievably captivated by this novel. From the very beginning, I couldn’t put it down. Not only was the romance well drawn, tender and a slow burn, the history was riveting. I did my master’s thesis on women in Civil War nursing focusing on the Confederacy, so to say this book was literally written for me is a vast understatement.

Going into this one, I had no idea this was all based on real characters and real locations. Real events I knew about, but I didn’t know that the characters and their stories were all real for the most part. I was blown away with all of Alexander’s research. It was incredible and for someone who loves Civil War history, it earned its five stars on that fact alone. I have been raving about this book to everyone I know because of all the historic details!

The characters though were equally engaging. I loved the romance between Lizzie and Captain Jones. It was full of obstacles to overcome together and it wasn’t rushed or too fast. I loved watching them workout their issues and seeing how things resolved between them. It was also a pleasure to watch how their feelings evolved and became stronger as the book went on. It was a beautiful love story and I found the book well balanced between the historical points, the religious message (this is a Christian fiction book), and the romance.

An absolutely beautiful book, I went out and bought two more books by Alexander and I can’t wait to start reading them! What an incredible writer!

Book Info and Rating

Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
ASIN B07BB4MSG2
Free review copy provided by Thomas Nelson Publishing and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: Historical fiction, Christian fiction, romance
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I LOVE Civil War history.  With This Pledge is set during a period of Civil War history that I knew nothing about, and I found it not only fascinating for the history, but fascinating for the plot and great characters within the novel.

Lizzie Clouston is a governess at the grand Carnton plantation near Franklin, Tennessee in 1864. She misses her fiancée, Towny, who is away fighting in the Civil War.  She struggles with her feelings of friendship, but not love for Towny and her own feelings against slavery which are dangerous in a slave owning household.   Lizzie’s life is changed forever when an epic battle takes place near Carnton and the plantation becomes a make-shift hospital.  With her steady character, she helps with surgery and feeding the men as does the entire McGavock family.  While tending the wounded, Lizzie makes a promise to Captain Roland Jones that she will not allow his leg to be amputated.  The two feel attracted to one another even though Lizzie is promised to another and Lizzie believes that Captain Jones is married.  In fact, his wife and daughter have passed away while he was gone fighting.  Will Lizzie be able to navigate her future through promises made, principals held, and love?

With This Pledge was excellently written.  In particular the horror of dealing with the aftermath of the battle at a temporary Confederate hospital was riveting in its detail.  I even dreamed about it at night.  I loved how Lizzie’s faith did play a part in her actions and ideals.  This is a Christian and clean novel, a fact I appreciated.  The story focused on the characters and the brutality of war.  It was a great Civil War Novel.  I didn’t know anything about this battle and appreciated at the end that much of the story was based on real letters.  It was fascinating.

Favorite Quotes:
“Don’t see this as a victory, ma’am.  That pledge you made has likely sentenced one of the finest soldiers I’ve ever known to an agonizing death.”

“From the moment he’d learned about Mississippi seceding from the union, he’d known he would take up arms.  What honorable man wouldn’t defend his state, his home and land, his family?  But while he was away defending them from the Federals, another enemy, unseen and even stealthier, had invaded their home and stolen his life away.  He squeezed his eyes tight, the mixture of anger and loss causing them to burn.  Brief couple with regret had a way of bending even the strongest man’s knees, and there were moments, like now, when eh was certain he’d be crushed beneath the weight of it.”

“Seeing herself and her abundance of blessings in light of others and their lack carved out a deeper awareness inside her, and a depth of appreciation she’d not known rushed in to fill the space.”

“No, sir.  Real heroes are the ones who do what’s right even when no one’s looking, and who give up something for someone else even when it costs them dearly.”

Overall, With This Pledge is a fascinating look into history at a major civil war battle, its aftermath, and the struggles one woman faces with her pledges of loyalty. 

Book Source:  Review Copy for being a part of the TLC Book Tour.  Thank-you!
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Deeply moving.

It's November 30, 1864, Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee. Lizzie is the Governess to two children there. They look out and see an army forming between their house and the neighbors. The southern army here, federal army drenched in there. Around 20,000 men. The battle was fought over 2 1/2 miles, with nearly 10,000 killed, wounded or taken prisoner. Read that last sentence again. Can you really imagine it?

Their house quickly fills up with wounded. They tear up all the cloth they have - clothes, bed linens, towels, even underwear and Lizzies wedding dress, for bandages. She has skills learned from her father who is a pharmacist, and is able to help the surgeon. She learns that her fiancé is somewhere on the battlefield and goes to look for him - getting an even bigger shock of her life. The hem of her dress is soaked 6 inches with the blood. (Yet just a fraction of what Armageddon will be.) It literally came to their doorstep. Even the children join in helping the wounded in the house. The depth of sorrow and pain, and the eventual joy and love of the living.

Roland was one of the soldiers who had been battered, both legs and much of a hand. He and Lizzie have a special bond that grows through the story, as they both learn how to live with all the changes to their world, their lives. Since they lost the battle there, all of the soldiers on the losing side are supposed to go to Federal prison. They are given permission to stay until better healed, in the care of the McGavocks and local Catholic Sisters. Their mending is difficult, and gives them all a chance to know each other better. Relationships are forged between them all, including two black slaves. An incredible story telling from different angles of those involved. Well done, illustrating an incredible number of people
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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.
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With this Pledge  by Tamera Alexander far exceeded the expectations and hopes I had for this book.  Ms. Alexander wrote so passionately about this era and her characters so realistic, it brought the Civil War to  a whole new level for me.  My heart went through the gambit of emotions while reading this story and I was glued to the story the entire time I read it. My hat goes off to Ms. Alexander for such an engaging  and emotionally moving story.

4.5 Stars!

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to Ms. Alexander, Thomas Nelson Publishing and  Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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