With This Pledge: A Carnton Novel

Tamera Alexander


Reviewed by
Alanna Dixon Harris

With This Pledge is a gem for Tennesseans who are fans of historical fiction with a local angle.

The setting of With This Pledge is Maury, Williamson, and Davidson counties during the Civil War. Native Middle Tennesseans will recognize the names of many of the roads, highways and neighborhoods mentioned throughout the book, and most of the book's action takes place at the Carnton Plantation near Franklin.


With This Pledge also offers a healthy dose of graphic descriptions of Civil War medical surgical procedures. The primary character, Elizabeth (or “Lizzie” as she is known), is a teacher by trade. Though not trained as a medical professional, Lizzie becomes very skilled at administering chloroform for anesthesia, assisting with numerous amputations due to war injuries, and tending to the soldiers during their lengthy healing process. The book also contains some fascinating descriptions of early inventions used to rehabilitate soldiers once they were healed. 


The characters of With This Pledge are all based on actual people who experienced the Battle of Franklin and its aftermath, a fact which the author acknowledges in an opening letter to readers in which she thanks those characters' descendants for their willingness to share their family history with us. Not only does this add to the authenticity of the story, but it also gives the reader a connection to the families in the book from the beginning. 


Civil War enthusiasts and those fascinated by medical history, alike, will find a treasure in With This Pledge.