Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander, the first full novel of the Carnton series, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: With This Pledge
Series: Carnton, Book 1
Author: Tamera Alexander
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Genre: Historical Romance
History takes on vivid life in the stunning first full-length installment of USA TODAY bestselling Tamera Alexander’s new series, The Carnton Novels.
What can a woman—a mere governess—do against the scourge of slavery?
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.
Q&A WITH TAMERA
BECKY: Imagine your book were to be made into a film. Who would you want to play the cast of your main characters?
TA: What a great question. Since both of these characters are based on real people who truly lived, this is a more difficult question to answer. Captain Roland Ward Jones is in his mid-thirties in the novel, so how about a younger Sam Elliott? And for Elizabeth (“Lizzie”) Clouston, how about Sam’s real-life wife…Katherine Ross, also in younger years. I think they’d make a good pair!
BECKY: Tell us a little bit about the characters.
TA: Captain Roland Ward Jones and Lizzie Clouston are the real-life hero and heroine who met and fell in love at the Carnton home in Franklin, Tennessee during the Civil War, following the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864. With This Pledge is their love story.
History holds a treasure trove of knowledge about Captain Roland Ward Jones—details about his home life, his war record as a sharpshooter, his extensive land ownership in Mississippi, and the remarkable collection of personal correspondence (written both to and from Roland) that reveal a bevy of insights into his character. We know Roland was among hundreds of wounded Confederate soldiers who were brought to Carnton following the Battle of Franklin. We know he staunchly supported the Southern Cause. We know he convalesced about six weeks longer at Carnton than any of the other soldiers. And why did he stay longer? Because he fell in love with the McGavock’s governess—Lizzie Clouston.
Sadly, most of the details about Lizzie’s life have been lost to time, so she was more of a mystery. To introduce the necessary conflict needed for the story, I chose to give Lizzie opposing views to Roland’s—and that of the Southern Cause. Yet when forty thousand soldiers converge on the fields of Franklin, Tennessee that unseasonably warm November afternoon, the war demands she give an answer. Especially when she finds herself drawn to Roland and discovers that his moral ground is utterly at odds with her own.
BECKY: What was the most interesting thing you found in your research about the Civil War for the book?
TA: There were so many things! But I’ll choose just one… Roland and Lizzie’s real love letters.
In researching Roland and Lizzie’s journey for With This Pledge, I had the pleasure of connecting with Captain Jones’ great-great-great-great grandson, David Doty. (Quite a thrill for this history loving author, let me tell you!) David shared with me the love letters between Roland and Lizzie, along with the family history (as have the wonderful staff at Carnton), and I’m grateful for this wealth of resources and intimate insights, which I incorporated into the story, of course.
BECKY: That’s so cool! What are some of the topics that take place in the book?
TA: With This Pledge is rich in Civil War history, especially the Battle of Franklin. At its core, though, With This Pledge is a love story. As Roland and Lizzie’s journey unfolds, the reader will gain insights into Civil War medicinal practices, they’ll delve deeper into the varied relationships that defined the “Old South,” and they’ll have a virtual feast of Tempy’s Southern home cooking along the way! (Tempy is the character based on the real-life cook who served the McGavock family at Carnton for the majority of her life.)
BECKY: Tell us about the Battle of Franklin.
TA: I’ll do you one better! Here’s an excerpt from With This Pledge that describes the scene from Lizzie’s point-of-view just moments before the battle begins on that warm Indian Summer Day on November 30, 1864…
“Miss Clouston . . .”
She turned to see Mrs. McGavock peering out the front door, which stood slightly ajar. Reading the woman’s expression, Lizzie joined her. “The children are safe, ma’am. They’re in the kitchen with Tempy, and—”
Mrs. McGavock opened the door the rest of the way and Lizzie fell silent. Despite her feelings about this war, the sight spreading out before her was spellbinding. That great sea of butternut and gray they’d seen from a distance earlier advanced toward them in columns that seemed to stretch out forever across the Harpeth Valley, nearly two miles wide. No sound jarred the tranquil afternoon other than that of the soldiers’ rhythmic footfalls and the occasional trill and chatter of a barn swallow. Most of the soldiers looked so young, and they marched with spirits high and rifles at the ready straight across Carnton’s fields and front lawn as the warm Indian summer day drew to a close.
On closer inspection, Lizzie realized that some of them weren’t carrying rifles. While it was common knowledge that the Southern army was less adequately equipped than their Northern counterpart, seeing that fact evidenced so crudely in the weapons some of the soldiers wielded was sobering, to say the least. Pitchforks, knives, pickaxes, even shovels. And it only added to the measure of the almost tangible grit and determination she could feel with each forward step the soldiers took.
“The mighty Army of Tennessee,” Mrs. McGavock said softly, her voice a mixture of pride and dread. “Twenty thousand men, the colonel tells me.”
While Lizzie was stirred by the sight and shared the sense of dread, she couldn’t share the same sense of pride. Because for all the reasons given to support the Confederacy’s cause—states’ rights, economic concerns, protection of home and land, and families’ futures—they all seemed to lead back to the continuance of slavery. And though she had yet to voice her opinion in this household, she was very much in accord with the North on that count. In the same breath, she only wished it wasn’t taking a war to find some semblance of common ground.
Carrie McGavock stepped outside onto the front portico, then descended the steps and followed the brick path to the front gate. Lizzie shadowed her steps.
The neat columns of soldiers briefly broke ranks as they circled around the house, marching in quick time straight toward the mass of entrenched Federal troops waiting for them just south of the Carters’ house. Lizzie studied the men’s faces as they passed. Fierce determination marked some, weariness and fatigue others. Then she heard it. Music. From somewhere within the throng rose the South’s oh-so-beloved “Dixie.” She spotted the brass band as they marched past, the fading rays of sunlight reflecting off their instruments. After “Dixie” came “Bonnie Blue Flag,” then “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” The latter tunes seemed far too rousing and frivolous to accompany an army’s charge, yet she heard some of the troops singing along as they—
A stray gunshot sounded from the advancing forces, and she and Mrs. McGavock both turned and hurried back toward the portico. When they reached the steps, they heard someone calling out to them.
Learn more about what’s truth and what’s fiction in With This Pledge, a Carnton Novel on Tamera’s Website—www.TameraAlexander.com
Head HERE for an exclusive excerpt!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded and nominated for numerous industry-leading honors, including the Christy Award (two-time winner, seven-time finalist), the RITA Award (two-time winner, four-time finalist), the Carol Award, the Maggie Award, the Booksellers Best Award, and Library Journal’s top distinction, among others. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband now reside in Nashville, Tennessee, where they live a short distance from Belmont Mansion and Belle Meade Plantation, the setting of Tamera’s two USA Today bestselling Southern series.
(1) winner will win a release copy of With This Pledge + $10 Amazon Gift Card
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 14, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm January 28, 2019. US only for a print copy of the book. International winners will receive an ebook. Gift card prize will be issued as an e-gift card. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
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