When the Civil War comes up, most of us immediately think of major battles, e.g. Gettysburg, Antietam, fought along the Virginia-Pennsylvania corridor. "Enemy Women" by Paulette Jiles takes place instead in Missouri, one of the 15 slave states, and its story focuses heavily on the injustices and violence suffered by local citizenry. People lost their possessions, their livelihood, basic freedoms, , their loved ones, and sometimes their own lives. Martial law was declared and roving bands of militia populated by untrained thugs, thieves and drunks acted as instant judge, jury and executioner.
Our heroine, 18 year old Adair Colley, witnesses her father beaten and arrested, her home ransacked and set afire, and her horses stolen during one such raid. Adair sets out, along with two of her siblings, to plead to the Union Army for her father's release but is denounced by a strangers on the trail and is herself arrested and jailed. While imprisoned, she is interrogated a number of times by one of the Union officers. A bond forms, but before long, the officer is reassigned, and he pledges to find her once the war is over.
The book is somewhat reminiscent of Charles Frazier's "Cold Mountain" in that there are many interesting tales of life on the road while returning home. But frankly, I much preferred Frazier's vignettes - each of which could have stood as an entrancing short story.
Like Jiles "The News of the World", this is very well written but I felt only satisfied by its end. I wanted "News" to go on and on, and I was disappointed that the journey in that story had finally ended. I would rate "News" 6 stars, one more than whatever the max is; "Enemy Women" is very good and very informative and I rate that 4 stars. I disliked Jiles' "Sitting in a Club Car...." very much but I will read her "The Color of Lightning" very soon.
- Audio Cassette
- Publisher: Harperaudio; Unabridged edition (1 February 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060535229
- ISBN-13: 978-0060535223
- Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 7 x 15.2 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 408 g
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