Governess’s Courage Prevails Over the Civil War in Tamera Alexander’s ‘With This Pledge’ [REVIEW]

Carnton at Dusk

Inside the walls of Carnton Plantation, a governess does what she can to face down slavery. (Photo by Rob Shenk, Flickr)

As if being a Southern woman with views of her own weren’t difficult enough, a young governess is forced to take a stand when the Civil War comes knocking at her employer’s doorstep. But will her strength and determination be enough to carry her through the most difficult time of her life? Find out in Tamera Alexander’s breathtaking new historical novel, With this Pledge. 

Tamera Alexander's WITH THIS PLEDGE

Thomas Nelson

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Clouston’s ideals go against the tide of the Southern Cause. She’s never agreed with slavery, and oftentimes wonders if she wouldn’t have been better off just heading north while she had the chance. But as the brutality of the Civil War draws increasingly close to home, she feels her timidity melting away as she quietly takes a stand for what she knows in her bones to be right.

Her mettle is tested even further when 40,000 soldiers appear on her front lawn. Suddenly, the home where she works is converted into a Confederate military hospital and she finds herself helping doctors perform surgeries that mean the difference between life and death. It is all a bit much for a young woman who is betrothed to her lifelong friend, Towny, but at least the work keeps her from fretting about him too much.

While working, she also encounters young men who are barely older than her, and many who are barely more than boys themselves. One of them makes her promise to deliver a message to his mother, and although she knows little more than the boy’s first name, she vows to do so. Another, Captain Roland Ward Jones, also compels her to make a promise: that she will intervene if the surgeon decides to amputate his leg.

Lizzie quickly becomes an admired member of the hospital staff. Her patients know that she will go to great lengths to live up to her word, and it earns her a special place in the soldiers’ hearts, particularly for Captain Jones, who doesn’t know she is engaged to another. But when Towny disappears in the midst of a battle in Nashville, Lizzie must accept the cruel hand of fate and press on as she struggles to live up to her patients’ expectations and the vows she has made to her own heart.

With this Pledge is Tamera Alexander at her very best. Here she delivers a heroine who is caught between her desire and responsibility, valor and fear, her community and her own heart. Lizzie is both altruistic and pragmatic in the face of unspeakable horrors and heartbreaking revelations that would level weaker women. But that is what makes Lizzie shine as a character. She is multi-layered and courageous, even when she hasn’t acknowledged those traits herself. She’s authentic and lives with unflinching integrity, traits which undoubtedly make her beloved in the eyes of her patients, the children she governs, and the slaves she befriends.

Utilizing historic letters written between Captain Jones and Lizzie Clouston, Alexander weaves together a novel that speaks to the heart, even though the story takes place in distant American history, 155 years in the past. Fueled with drama and fraught with tangible human emotion, the Civil War comes to vivid life, reminding us of Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage and Margaret Mitchell’s revered Gone With the Wind. This is a story populated with larger-than-life men and women who face tough choices, lived dauntlessly, and persevered even when the world crumbled around them. If you love epic sagas full of heart, you won’t want to miss Tamera Alexander’s With this Pledge. 

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Tamera Alexander

Tamera Alexander


Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling novelist and author of A Lasting ImpressionA Note Yet UnsungTo Whisper Her NameTo Wager Her Heart, and Christmas at Carnton

Her novels 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 17 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.

She invites readers to visit her at her home on the Web at, to like her on Facebook, and to follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

By Tamera Alexander
450 pp. Thomas Nelson. $16.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase With This Pledge at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

With This Pledge is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

2 Responses to Governess’s Courage Prevails Over the Civil War in Tamera Alexander’s ‘With This Pledge’ [REVIEW]

  1. Sara at TLC Book Tours says:

    I love the literary comparisons, thank you for being a part of the tour!
    Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  2. Pingback: Tamera Alexander, author of WITH THIS PLEDGE, on tour January/February 2019 | TLC Book Tours

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