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Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles
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's review
Aug 01, 2011

it was ok
Read from August 01 to 19, 2011

Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles is set during the U.S. Civil War in Missouri, which is torn apart by Union ties and Confederate rebel robberies and mischief. Adair Colley’s father is taken by Union militia on suspicion of helping rebels, and the union soldiers have ripped through their home and taken many of their belongings. Following the capture of her father, she and her sisters walk to inquire about their father’s imprisonment and to possibly barter for his freedom. However, along the journey, Adair’s tactless mouth gets her in trouble and she is imprisoned in St. Louis and her sisters flee to relatives. The novel is about the civil war peripherally and directly and how it impacts Adair and her life.

“There will be trouble in Missouri until the Secesh are subjugated and made to know that they are not only powerless, but that any attempts to make trouble here will bring upon them certain destruction and this . . . must not be confined to soldiers and fighting men, but must be extended to non-combatant men and women.” (Page 1 from beginning correspondence)

Jiles peppers the beginning of each chapter with “authentic” correspondence and dispatches from union and confederates alike, as well as from ordinary people. On some occasions, these passages speak directly or indirectly to the action in the chapters they precede, but on others they do nothing more than offer additional background to the war and its terror. They do provide a certain authenticity to a novel that is more fanciful in nature as Adair seems younger than her 18 years. She sees the world as a young girl who believes that justice always prevails, and despite the challenges she faces, she seems unable to let go of her naivete. She often is surprised by how people act and react, which she finds extremely disappointing. Unfortunately, not much changes with Adair’s character throughout the book. At times, she can be cunning and quick to make decisions that are beneficial, but at other times, she’s fumbling around and unable to be courageous.

Read the full review on Aug. 26:
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08/02/2011 page 8
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