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Brave Enemies

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  448 ratings  ·  58 reviews
As the War for Independence wore on into the 1780s, unrest ruled the Carolinas. Settlers who had cleared the land after the Cherokees withdrew were being mustered for battle as British forces pillaged their hard-won farms. Robert Morgan's stunning novel tells a story of two people caught in the chaos raging in the wilderness.

After sixteen-year-old Josie Summers murders her
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2003 by A Shannon Ravenel Book (first published August 27th 2003)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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I am almost ashamed to admit that my favorite part of the book was a section entitled "Reaching Across Boundaries," which followed the Acknowledgements at the end. In the "Boundaries" section, the author directly adressed something I had thought of while reading the book.

The book is written mostly from the perspective of Josie Summers, a teenage girl from rural North Carolina, (view spoiler) As I read her story, in pa
Feb 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Amazing writing with real characters that are strong and vulnerable. I had trouble putting the book down wanting to know more about how their story unfolded. Historical accounts of Revolutionary War battles from the perspective of "regular" people is fascinating. This author has such an ability to expose the lives of the first settlers of rural Appalachia and always leaves you wanting to know more.
Carolyn Lind
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is my fourth book by Robert Morgan; another satisfying story. This is the tale of a young preacher and a teen aged girl, enmeshed in the dark days of the American Revolution. Robert Morgan is a poet as well as a novelist, and part of my love for his books is the thoughtful descriptive language:

“The tree was like a big friend comforting me in the dark, with its roots deep in the hill and the limbs high above. A current seemed to be flowing in the tree and from the tree. It was rooted deep i
Frederick Bingham
Jan 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of Josie Summers. She lives in the North Carolina backcountry during the American revolution. Her mother marries a jerk. She is forced to kill him and flee for her life when he rapes her. She dresses as a boy and joins up with an itinerant preacher named John Trethman. He eventually finds out she is a girl, falls in love with her and they get married.The British come and raid their house in the woods, carry him off and leave her to die. Trethman is pressed into service ministering to b ...more
Oct 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Started strong. Hated Griffin - wanted her to kill him. Worried about her when she left - hard to imagine doing any of the stuff she did. Kept forgetting that she was a girl, kept thinking she was a young boy. Forest fires,lovemaking,guilt feelings, John's preaching.
Most of the story takes place in three months and isn't very happy. Descriptions were longer than they needed to be.Toward the end, it became rather repetitious; skimmed the last battle and then read the end.
It was a book club pick.
Nov 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Robert Morgan is also a poet, and the poetry carries into this novel's clear, descriptive prose evoking the characters and setting in the Carolina woods and mountains. Reading this book, I forgot at times I was reading fiction. I felt that I was accompanying Josie and John on their travels together and separately at the time of the American Revolution. A lovely, tough book, which acknowledges and portrays the horrors of war without rhetoric or flourishes.
Oct 14, 2013 rated it liked it
I don't consider "Brave Enemies" one of Robert Morgan's better efforts but it's still readable and has an interesting story line. The idea of a teenage girl being able to pass herself off as a young man for long periods of time in a all male group of Revolutionary War malitia is hard to belive but that's pretty much the whole theme of the story. It's okay for a inexpensive Kindle eBook.
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book captured my attention from the beginning. Unlike some books where it has a slow start, this book, in chapter one, goes straight into Josie's life. The only negative side to this novel was the ending. It was a happy ending, yes, but I wish the author would have put an Epilogue in it to give the ending more closure. Other than that, this book was wonderful.
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Carolinas during the Revolutionary War was a rough place. The characters are hounded by British / Loyalists and Colonists. The writing is engaging, although it dragged in the middle. Stick with it, and the action picks back up. The book just ends, so I hope there will be a sequel.
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
a young adult woman fakes being a man and joins the military during Revolutionary War. People are forced to choose sides under duress - I thought about how hard it would be - you could be punished so severely for a choice you had so little control over.
Chuck McGrady
Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it
As usual, I loved Morgan's prose, but I had a tough time keeping focused on the story particularly through the latter part of the novel involving the Battle of Cowpens. One knew that John and Josie would have to be reunited, but it felt hollow at the end.
Oct 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Loved the book. Ending could have been better.
Yasmine Ouadah
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
The combination of two different things at the same time, love during war between Josie and the preacher John . The story of struggling to build a peaceful and free life out of the revolution.
It's an interesting story with so much emotions, it just attracts you more and more to find out what's going to happen next.
I enjoyed it so much 😍.
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have read a lot of Morgan's books and I have read a lot of battle stories but this was one of the best of both. The General's speech was great. I couldn't believe Morgan wrote this in 2002. The characters were great also!
Elizabeth Langrell
Aug 03, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I find an author whose writing I admire, I tend
to read everything written by them.
This was a great read. I was unable to put it down.
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent historical fiction. Some scenes are vividly gruesome, but the plot is exciting. The love story is complicated an interesting.
A couple years ago, I read Robert Morgan’s biography, Boone, and loved it. I did not need any arm twisting to pick up his work of historical fiction entitled, Brave Enemies.

The story begins in the 1780′s, where teenage Josie Summers is faced with an abusive step-father. Terrible events ensue and she is forced to flee, disguising herself as a boy. Her journey eventually takes her a camp of American soldiers, which she joins, and ultimately ends up at the Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina.

I stil
****Reread April 22, 2012****

First Sentence: "I was the only one nearby who wasn't running around."

This book is the story of Josie, a 16-year old girl living in Revolutionary War era North Carolina. After killing her abusive stepfather, she ends up having many adventures in the Carolina backcountry as the assistant of a circuit minister and a fighter in the patriot militia.

This is a wonderfully told human story. The characters all seem very real. I love that the story is told from both Josie an
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the story of sixteen year old Josie Summers. She lives with her mother and step-father in upcountry Carolina in 1780. The War of Independence still goes on and the British steal what little they have on their way through. Her mother is ill. Life is hard.

After killing the stepfather who raped her, Josie dresses in his clothes to disguise herself as a man and runs away. Lost, hungry and afraid, she comes across a young Methodist minister, John Trethman and begins assisting him with his t
Jo Ellen
Mar 16, 2014 rated it liked it
This novel was interesting from a genealogical viewpoint as every branch of my spouse's family tree was in the "Americas" before the USA became a country. The novel brought to life how difficult the times were leading up to the American Revolution. So, for me, the descriptions of events were more interesting than the main characters' John, a Methodist minister, tried to stay neutral in order to follow his conscience. He does have some Christian theological ramblings throughout the novel but thes ...more
Joan Colby
Jun 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Another excellent tale by Morgan, author of Gap Creek, This Rock and others. Brave Enemies is set in Revolutionary War days with the protagonists being Josie, a runaway girl who has a murder in her past and is passing as a boy, and John, a young circuit minister in the Carolina mountains. The couple are drawn into the bitter fights between loyalists and rebels and they encounter many tribulations as John is captured by the Tories and enlisted into the British army as a chaplain and Josie, still ...more
Jul 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came across this novel while searching around the eBooks my local public library offered. I decided to read some of this novel since I love reading historical fiction and am very interested in the American Revolution time period. Took me some time to get into this novel, but once I read some of it, I just stuck with it as this is a unique historical fiction since it is set in the Carolinas (has some wonderful descriptions in the novel), and also that it takes place in the 1780s which is the la ...more
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Not my favourite Robert Morgan book. A good enough read but, apart from the battle scenes at the end, it just kind of plodded along. Some of the descriptive word usage for the female character was a bit out of place too. I don't know many women who would use the term "piss" for having a wee!! Found myself cringing everytime this would come up and also during the love-making scenes. All seemed a bit cringy.
Oct 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book was a good read for me. It is not a pretty lght book. You have love and war and a girl that comes from a bad home and has some bad things happen to her. But her perseverence is amazing. I had to keep reading to see how she was going to go on. It also has real revolutionary war story lines. Couldn't put it down.
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Romance novel in the setting of the American Revolution. Discusses a lot about religion as one of the main protagonists is a parson. Very little action until the end of the book which is a replay of the Battle of Cowpens through the perspective of a woman soldier who fights to maintain her secret, and life, until the conclusion of the battle.
Andrew Herren
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was my fourth Robert Morgan and I loved it as I have the others. I have to say that Josie was a little bit over the top *(don't want to be a spoiler)* with some of the physical feats she pulled off, but I loved her in spite of this.
Morgan is a great writer with great characters. If you like stories of Appalachia from any time period he doesn't disappoint!
Wayland Smith
Jul 01, 2013 rated it liked it
A good story set back during the American Revolution. It's a nice blend of fiction and history, focusing on the Southern states, a part of the American revolution that often gets ignored.

The different characters come off strongly and distinctly. None of them are perfect, but they were believable. It was an enjoyable read.
Sarah Kennedy
Sep 29, 2013 rated it liked it
As a fan of historical fiction, I appreciated the detail about the Revolutionary War period in America and I also enjoyed the plight of the main character. I wish the writing were less repetitious in its diction and that the author had varied his sentence lengths and structures more often. ...more
Rita Quillen
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've enjoyed Morgan's other novels more than this one, simply because I found the parson John Tretheway somewhat annoying and not quite worthy of Josie.:-) As always the historical research and context is amazing, the writing is just stunning. You are THERE--you may have studied the American Revolution from one end to the other but you weren't at the Battle of Cowpens! Now you can be.
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Robert Morgan was raised on his family's farm in the North Carolina mountains. The author of eleven books of poetry and eight books of fiction, including the bestselling novel Gap Creek, he now lives in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches at Cornell University.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

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