Cristin's Reviews > The Rebel Wife

The Rebel Wife by Taylor M. Polites
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's review
Oct 18, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, favorites
Read from October 18, 2011 to January 14, 2012

Who says time travel is impossible? All you need to do is pick up a book as well rendered as The Rebel Wife, by Taylor M. Polites, and suddenly you'll be transported to Reconstruction-era Alabama, walking alongside the characters, among the ravaged vestiges of the South in the aftermath of the Civil War.

One of the most fascinating things about this author is his ability to immerse the reader in the experience. At times, I felt the uneasiness that an intruder or eavesdropper might feel; I was a ghost, present in every scene, watching, completely rapt. I could swear I was one of the people of Albion, Alabama. I was there, suffering in the stifling, relentless heat, and felt blessed relief at the touch of a cool banister.

I'm always amazed when an author so thoroughly succeeds in engaging the reader in this way, especially when it seems so effortless. Descriptions are lush and vivid throughout this novel. Words are used with great economy. So much is said so concisely; as a result, each word is imbued with incredible power, leaving a distinct and lasting impression.

The suspense built throughout The Rebel Wife possesses a quality much like a shimmering heat wave that will not break. The tension is palpable, hair-raising, and entirely appropriate, considering the atmosphere of loss, injustice and impending doom that shrouds Albion. This is a place that is suffering, not only from economic and social upheaval in the wake of a terribly destructive war, but also from a mysterious and terrifying sickness that loiters in every corner, threatening to strike everyone down, ruthlessly and indiscriminately.

I had the tremendous honor of meeting some new characters who will now be inducted into my personal Literary Hall of Fame. Augusta, Simon, Emma and Rachel are so important to me now and always will be. There is nothing more satisfying than meeting characters I truly care about.

Augusta, a white woman who hailed from a once prominent Southern family, must confront several harsh realities, most of which threaten her safety and her freedom. After the death of her husband, Augusta ("Gus") becomes determined to seek the illusive truths that will enable her to survive amidst extreme personal and societal turmoil. I refuse to spoil her journey by exposing the plot, but want everyone to know: this is a journey well worth taking.

All I can do is give this book my strong, sincere personal endorsement. As an avid reader, this is one of those unique experiences I'll cherish. I was thoroughly engaged, invested in and impacted by it.

This book has left a lasting impression on me and has sparked my interest in an era that deserves unflinching, eternal remembrance. I hope you enjoy it as feverishly as I have!

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