I Shall Be Near to You is the first book by author Erin Lindsay McCabe. For a first novel, it was great! BUT…It only gets 3 stars from me because it just never transported me off the pages and into the world of the story. For me, that’s the hallmark of a great book…when I forget I’m reading. Sadly, it didn’t happen with this book.
Rosetta Wakefield is a young newlywed who follows her husband into the civil war. The author’s notes at the end of I Shall Be Near to You recount the stories of some REAL women who did just that. It is a fascinating concept…going to war as a woman disguised as a man.
The fictional Rosetta takes on the persona of Ross Stone and does indeed follow her husband, even to the point of fighting at Antietam. Seeing the war through a woman’s eyes is enlightening. Still, the story just didn’t grab me and draw me in. I saw other reviewers who cried at a certain part of the story (omitted from this review for spoliers). I didn’t cry a tear. I wasn’t witnessing an emotional moment, let alone living one. I was just reading about it.
A minor criticism: at one point the author refers to pupils which are dilated from laudanum. As a nurse, I groaned at this small error. Opiods (which laudanum is) make the pupils constrict, not dilate.
I often judge books on a reread or don’t reread scale. This is in the latter category.
A story full of pain. A story full of hope. A story full of anger. A story full of forgiveness. Does this sound like your life? It certainly sounds like mine! It also sounds (in the extreme!) like the story of Kim Phuc Phan Thi. You may have seen her picture. She’s the famous “napalm girl” whose picture was snapped by a young photographer as she ran naked, screaming, and severely burned down a Dang Trang Vietnam road. The photographer who took the iconic photograph scooped Kim up and rushed her to a nearby hospital where, initially, they refused to treat the girl. After some arm-twisting and showing of credentials, he convinced the hospital to take her in and they arranged her transfer to Saigon. When she arrived, unconscious, at First Children’s Hospital she was deemed hopeless and taken to languish in the morgue.
It is from these horrors that a story of survival, hope, and peace rose like a Phoenix. Her survival from burns was only the beginning of Kim’s remarkable story. Living under the oppressive system of Communism, Kim continued to suffer loss after loss. She had been introduced to the Christian religion but had stopped attending services regularly. She was so despondent that she planned her own death, but somehow she found the will to cry out to God…a simple prayer. With that prayer, and action she took in faith that God had heard her petition, things began to turn around for Kim Phuc.
Her book, Fire Road, tells the remarkable and inspiring story of redemption and grace in Kim’s life. I found myself writing down quotes and thinking of applications to my own life as I read her words. Kim is an inspiring role model. Her story teaches lessons that are hard to forget because they were lived, not just preached. I can’t recommend this book enough!
*I was provided with a complementary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Bible Promises for Women by Katherine J. Butler is a wonderful addition to any woman’s arsenal to combat the adversary’s lies. There are about 100 topics with over 500 scriptures to remind us of what our Heavenly Father has said, vs the lies we sometimes choose to believe. These promises encourage, strengthen, and compel us to remember that He is in control and that He will uphold us and will give us joy, hope, perseverance, and peace.
We all fall for Satan’s lies. Pondering this book will help us fall for them less often! Whether you’re dealing with perfectionism, weariness, abandonment, or any of the other things we as women struggle with, this little book has something to show you about what God’s word says.
The book is small (approximately 4” x 6” x 3/4”) and has a durable but soft cover that is perfect for carrying in a backpack, purse, or glove compartment for easy reference. It s a very nice book and would be a perfect gift for a friend or loved one.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange fo my honest review.