For the Colleys of southeastern Missouri, the War between the States is a plague that threatens devastation, despite the family's avowed neutrality. For eighteen-year-old Adair Colley, it is a nightmare that tears apart her family and forces her and her sisters to flee.
The treachery of a fellow traveler, however, brings about her arrest, and she is caged with the criminal and deranged in a filthy women's prison. But young Adair finds that love can live even in a place of horror and despair. Her interrogator, a Union major, falls in love with her and vows to return for her when the fighting is over. Before he leaves for battle, he bestows upon her a precious gift: freedom.
Now an escaped "enemy woman," Adair must make her harrowing way south buoyed by a promise ... seeking a home and a family that may be nothing more than a memory.
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Enemy Women, the outstanding first novel by poet Paulette Jiles, leads us into new terrain, both geographic and historical, in the war between the states. Set in the Missouri Ozarks during the Civil War, Jiles's story focuses on the trying times of 18-year-old heroine Adair Colley. When a group of renegade Union militiamen attacks the Colley home, stealing family possessions, burning everything down, and taking away her father--an apolitical judge--Adair gathers the remnants of her clothes and mounts a rescue effort. Unfortunately, she is falsely accused of being a Confederate spy, a charge that lands her in a squalid women's prison run by a decent commandant embarrassed by his post. After he helps her escape, the two agree to seek out one another after the war; their separate, harrowing journeys and the evolution of each character throughout make for breathtaking action and powerful writing. Each chapter of Enemy Women begins with excerpts from historical testimony about this terrible period in the Civil War, when marauding soldiers pillaged and murdered whole families and communities at will. These documents add depth and resonance to Jiles's remarkable narrative. --Tom KeoghAbout the Author:
Paulette Jiles is a poet and the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the bestselling novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, and The Color of Lightning. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, Texas.
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