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Enemy Women : A Novel

Jiles, Paulette

Published by Morrow/Avon, New York, NY, U.S.A., 2002
ISBN 10: 0066214440 / ISBN 13: 9780066214443
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Bibliographic Details


Title: Enemy Women : A Novel

Publisher: Morrow/Avon, New York, NY, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

Description:

Fine unread copy protected by Archival Brodart cover. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 000154

About this title:

Book ratings provided by GoodReads:
3.63 avg rating
(3,265 ratings)

Synopsis:

From critically acclaimed, award-winning poet and memoirist Paulette Jiles comes a debut novel of startling power and savage beauty -- an extraordinary story of survival and love in the midst of a torn nation's bitter agony.

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 seen at its most terrible on the day the Union Militia arrives to set her house on fire, driving her brother into hiding and dragging her widowed father away, beaten and bloodied. Left to care for two young sisters, Adair sees no road but the one that leads away, as they start out on foot into the winter mountains in search of a safe haven.

Even the least of hopes is doomed, however, in a world forever changed, as the treachery of a fellow traveler brings about Adair's arrest on charges of ?enemy collaboration.? Torn from her terrified sisters, the girl suddenly finds herself consigned to a living hell, caged with the criminal and the deranged in a filthy women's prison in St. Louis.

But young Adair is sustained by a strong heart, and love can live even in a place of horror and despair. Her interrogator, a Union major, falls in love with her and she finds herself returning her feelings despite herself. The major vows to return for her when the fighting is over, and before he returns to war, he leaves her with a last precious gift: freedom.

Weakened in body but not in spirit, Adair must now travel alone through dangerous, unknown territory -- an escaped ?enemy woman? surrounded by perils and misery on all sides. She makes her harrowing way south buoyed by a promise, seeking a home and a family that may be nothing more than a memory.

Based on a little known chapter in America's bloodiest epoch, Paulette Jiles's poignant, powerful, and exquisitely rendered novel about war's collateral victims is masterful work, captivating and authentic -- a lyrical, memorable tale of endurance and sacrifice that will stand alongside Cold Mountain and other classic Civil War era-set literature for decades to come.

Review: 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 Keogh

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