‘Cold Mountain’ meets ‘Charlotte Grey’ when a young woman, denounced as a spy, escapes from a Civil War prison to find her way home.
Missouri, 1865. Adair Colley and her family have managed to hide from the bloody Armageddon of the American Civil War, but finally even their remote mountain farm cannot escape the plundering greed of the Union militia. Her house is burnt, her father beaten and dragged away. With fierce determination, Adair sets out after him on foot. So begins an extraordinary voyage which will see Adair herself denounced as a Confederate spy and thrown in jail. Here she falls passionately in love with her Union interrogator, who helps her escape. Braving uncounted dangers with wit, ingenuity, and an outrageous courage, she struggles to return home, to reunite her family, and – against all odds – to find her love again, this time as a free woman.
Ecstatic reviewers have compared this muscular, vivid novel to ‘Cold Mountain’, unanimously calling this the better read. With cinematic sweep and a galloping pace, ‘Enemy Women’ introduces readers to the most memorable heroine of many years. You will lose your heart to Adair Colley, and to this magnificent book.
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A Sunday Times Read of the Week and Glamour's 'Must Read'
‘I loved “Enemy Women”. It is a gritty, memorable book, full of the things I like best in a novel – a sparky heroine, an unsentimental love story, a confident retelling of the past. It is a delight from start to finish, without a single misstep.’ Tracy Chevalier
‘With the eye of a poet and the rectitude of a historian, Paulette Jiles travels the backroads of the American Civil War and returns with a story that is both gripping and gorgeously rendered. Adair is destined to find a place of honour among the great heroines of modern fiction’. Geraldine Brooks, author of ‘Year of Wonders’.
‘Remarkable…entirely deserving of the plaudits it will doubtless continue to receive here. Jiles isn't content with merely telling us something we know already, but sets out to show us what this means, in images of startling beauty and horror.’ The Times
‘Although “Enemy Women” is rich in historical research, it is partly Adair's unexpected modernity that makes it so compelling, as she battles her way through war with sharp rejoinders and a waspish wit, by turns fierce, wily and pragmatic … Jiles's epically plotted novel moves to a beat as irresistibly vernacular as its heroine's 'confession'.’ ObserverFrom the Publisher:
If there was ever a book I wish I could unread for the joy of reading it again for the first time, ENEMY WOMEN is that book. The world Paulette Jiles evokes is so compelling, so richly imagined and absorbing that I found waking life dim in comparison.
ENEMY WOMEN is Paulette’s first novel, written in her sixth decade – a debut of almost shocking confidence. Two things spurred her to write it: visiting the graves of her Southern forebears and wondering what had happened to them in the Civil War that claimed their lives; and finding a period photograph of a beautiful young woman who gazes out from her frame with a startling intimacy and challenge. These hidden stories twined together in her mind and resulted in the heroic novel you have before you.
Paulette has the heart of a poet and the determination of a historian. She spent eight years researching the book because she wanted every detail to rest on truth, but her novel hasn’t got even a tinge of dusty academia about it; on reading it you have the conviction that you’re bearing witness to actual events, both great and humbling. Nor did she stop at the archives. To guarantee that her heroine Adair was capable of the mighty feats of horsemanship she writes about, she jumped her own horse off a cliff and swam it across a river in spring floods. That is what I call attention to detail, and it’s what gives ENEMY WOMEN its extraordinary sense of vibrant life.
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Book Description Fourth Estate Ltd, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007146418