Enemy Women: A Novel

Enemy Women: A Novel

by Paulette Jiles

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For the Colleys of southeastern Missouri, the War between the States is a plague that threatens devastation, despite the family’s avowed neutrality. For eighteen-year-old Adair Colley, it is a nightmare that tears apart her family and forces her and her sisters to flee. The treachery of a fellow traveler, however, brings about her arrest, and she is caged with the criminal and deranged in a filthy women’s prison.

But young Adair finds that love can live even in a place of horror and despair. Her interrogator, a Union major, falls in love with her and vows to return for her when the fighting is over. Before he leaves for battle, he bestows upon her a precious gift: freedom.

Now an escaped "enemy woman," Adair must make her harrowing way south buoyed by a promise . . . seeking a home and a family that may be nothing more than a memory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061741692
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/17/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 16,422
File size: 611 KB

About the Author

Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and News of the World, which was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, Texas.


Southwest Texas

Place of Birth:

Salem, Missouri


B.A. in Romance Languages, University of Missouri

Read an Excerpt

Oct. 29, 1864
Dear Wife and Children; I take my pen with trembling hand to inform you that I have to be shot between 2 & 4 o'clock this evening. I have but few hours to remain in this unfriendly world. There are 6 of us sentenced to die in retaliation of 6 Union soldiers that was shot by Reeves men. My dear wife don't grieve after me. I want you to meet me in Heaven. I want you to teach the children piety, so that they may meet me at the right hand of God. . . . I don't want you to let this bear on your mind any more than you can help, for you are now left to take care of my dear children. Tell them to remember their dear father. I want you to tell all my friends that I have gone home to rest. I want you to go to Mr. Conner and tell him to assist you in winding up your business. If he is not there then get Mr. Cleveland. If you don't get this letter before the St. Francis River gets up you had better stay there until you can make a crop, and you can go in the dry season. It is now half past 4 a.m. I must bring my letter to a close, leaving you in the hands of God. I send you my best love and respect in this hour of death. Kiss all the children for me. You need have no uneasiness about my future state, for my faith is well founded and I fear no evil. God is my refuge and my hiding place.

Good-bye Amy

Asey Ladd

--Asa Ladd, a Confederate prisoner of war in Gratiot Street Prison, St. Louis, who was selected along with five others by the Union command of that city to be executed in retaliation for Reeves's execution of Major James Wilson of the Union Militia. Ladd was from southeastern Missouri. It was the third year of the war and by now there was hardly anybody left in the country except the women and the children. The men were gone with Colonel Reeves to live in the forests, and many families had fled to Texas or St. Louis. Abandoned house places looked out with blank windows from every hollow and valley in the Ozark mountains so that at night the wind sang through the disintegrating chinking as if through a bone flute. Adair Colley had just turned eighteen in early November of 1864 when the Union Militia arrested her father and tried to set the house on fire. Her sister Savannah saw them first; a long line of riders in blue trotting in double column as they turned into the road that led to the Colley farm.

All through the last three years of the war Adair's father had tried to keep his children close to home. Because he was a justice of the peace, he was called Squire, and the newspapers he subscribed to came addressed to Squire M. L. Colley. Her father had determined to stay out of the war and keep his children out of the reach of soldiers of either army and he had succeeded in this for three years. He read in the Little Rock paper that the Missouri Union Militia was being thrown together out of troops dredged up from the riverfronts of St. Louis and Alton, from the muddy Missouri River towns. Men who joined up for a keg of whiskey and five dollars a month.

The trained and disciplined Union troops had long ago been sent to the battlefields of the East, to Virginia and Tennessee, while the hastily recruited Militia had been sent down into the Ozarks to chastise the families whose men had gone to the Southern Army, to catch and arrest them when they returned from their six-month enlistments, and to punish those who might be suspected of harboring Southern sympathies.

Adair's father did not know what the law was on this matter, concerning men who had been in the Southern Army and had returned home and were soldiers no longer, or those who had never joined up at all but had no means of proving it. But it was no matter, for the Union Militia knew no law. After they burnt down the courthouses they then began to ambush the mail carriers, so the southeastern Ozarks seemed a place cut off from the entire world.

Adair's father read to them in the evenings out of the rare newspaper he managed to acquire, the Memphis Appeal and the St. Louis Democrat. Adair sat on the clothes trunk to stare at the fire and listen to the inflamed prose of the Democrat. She would rather he read the racing news from the Nashville paper, for she wanted to hear if Copperbottom's sons were running but the war consumed everything, even human thoughts and horse races.

There are four main rivers coming down out of the southeastern Missouri Ozarks into the Mississippi. They are the Eleven-Point, the Current, the Black, and the Saint Francis. For three years Adair had seen at a distance soldiers of both armies riding up these river valleys in search of one another. Her brother, John Lee, rode to the ridges to stand watch for them every morning, for the Fifteenth Missouri Cavalry under Colonel Reeves would take your horses as quick as would any Militia. He watched for their smoke, at dawn when the soldiers would be lighting their breakfast fires. He did not go to war himself for he had a withered arm. So the Union Militia raided and set fire to the outlying places all around the Colley farm but continued somehow to miss them.

All through this time Adair's father remained absorbed in his books of law, his newspapers passed from hand to hand down the Wire Road or the Nachitoches Trace by neighbors or one of the few travelers. The light fell from the twelve-paned windowlights onto the harvest table as he wrote, arguing to editors the causes and the Constitutional points of the war in letters that became harder and harder to mail.

As the war dragged on, Adair began to hear from her cousins and from what neighbors remained to them that women were being taken by the Union Militia and sent to prison for disloyalty, that the women were accused of supplying clothing and food to their brothers, their fathers, husbands, sons, or cousins who rode with Timothy Reeves. That the Union had arrested and sent away the Blakely sisters and the Sutton girls and old Mrs. Holland from Jack's Fork. Nobody seemed to know where it was that the women were being held in that far city, but after a while word came back that it was in places called Gratiot and the St. Charles Street Prison for Women.

In stained coats of Federal blue the Militia came upon the towns of Doniphan Courthouse and Alton, the Crites homestead and all the house places down Pike Creek and the Current River, carrying away jewelry and horses, quilts and silver, to be sold on the black market in St. Louis. They burned houses and shot whoever got in their way. They beat Adair's father in the face with such force Adair thought they had put his eye out. They used a wagon spoke and afterward they threw it away stained with his blood and hair.

The Militia got the horses and then broke their way inside the house. One soldier started shoveling the coals from the fireplace out over the floors and onto the big harvest table, while another tipped over the china cabinet and started dancing up and down in the dish fragments, singing, Oh sinner, come view the ground, where you shall shortly lie. . . .

There was a thin November snow coming down at that time from behind the Courtois Hills, light skeins of snow unwinding themselves over the valley of Beaverdam Creek. Then it turned to a hard rain. It was this that saved the house. The cold rain came down driving like hail, and steam blossomed hot out of the fireplace where water was streaming down the chimney. A strong wind came up out of the southwest and blew off Adair's bonnet and tore at her bonnet strings until she thought they would cut her throat.

While the girls fought the fire the Militia carried out everything from the house in the way of food or valuables that they found. They came out of the house with their coat collars turned up against the rain, their arms loaded, and between the door and their wagon was a trail of spoons and bobbins and trodden paper. Then they went on, taking her father away in their commissary wagon with his arms tied behind him and without a hat. The rain beat into his face, and the blood ran draining down in thin streams. Then the tilting wagon and the soldiers went off into a world of hammering water and the iron tires were surrounded by a thin halo of spraying mud. By evening the Little Black River had risen to flood stage.

So it was in the third year of the Civil War in the Ozark mountains of southeastern Missouri, when Virginia creeper and poison ivy wrapped scarlet, smoky scarves around the throats of trees, and there was hardly anybody left in the country but the women and the children.

Reading Group Guide

Plot Summary

The Civil War Era was one of the most divisive and heart-rending in our nation's history. For 18-year-old Adair Colley it brought about intense personal change as well. Although the Colley family was neutral on the issues of secession and slavery, many men from their area in Missouri Ozarks had joined the Confederate army. One day in November 1864 the Union Militia swept in on their mission to rout Confederate sympathizers. They set the Colley homestead on fire, and arrested Adair's father, a mild-mannered justice of the peace. Adair and her two younger sisters gathered together what they could and set off to find shelter. Along the way, however, Adair herself is arrested on charges of "enemy collaboration" and sent to a women's prison in St. Louis. There she meets a Union major, William Neumann, who is to be her interrogator, and the two fall in love. Before he is sent back to the front, Neumann helps Adair plan an escape and, not long after he leaves, she makes her break. Weakened and alone, Adair must now travel through dangerous territory as she makes her way home -- not knowing who or what she will find there.

Questions for Discussion

  • The first chapter of the book paints the Civil War in the Ozarks with a very broad brush. It is a short chapter, and yet the emotional tone of the chapter shifts between the beginning and the end. How does the tone change, and what techniques does the author use to change it? What is the tone in the beginning of the chapter; what is it at the end of the chapter?

  • The scope of the novel is larger than Adair's personal relationships with her family and the Major. There are battle scenes and longjourneys, depictions of the city of St. Louis and its wartime waterfront. What technical choices does the author make to distinguish the "larger picture" scenes from the narratives that deal exclusively with personal relationships?

  • Although Enemy Women is a novel, many of the historical events it describes are real, and the author includes snippets from letters, journals, newspapers, and military dispatches at the beginning of each chapter. Do you like this technique of mixing the actual with the imagined? How does it affect your reading and/or enjoyment of the narrative? Is there a thread or ongoing story unfolding through the historical quotes themselves?

  • Do you think the author has succeeded at portraying 19th century personalities and attitudes through her characters? Or do you feel she has simply transposed late 20th century attitudes and behavior onto the Civil War era? What's the difference?

  • The author goes against convention by not using quotation marks throughout the book. How did this unusual technique make you feel? Were you immediately comfortable, or did it take you a while to get used to it? How did it affect your experience of the dialogue?

  • Adair, and other characters in the book, reveal their inner lives through their actions rather than through devices such as interior monologue or omniscient description or flashbacks to childhood. How is this different from methods usually employed in other novels? Does the author use dialogue to reveal character?

  • There are no flashbacks in the novel. Where and how does Adair impart some information about the Colley family's life before the war? The author then doubles back and casts doubt on the authenticity of the information. How and why does the author do this?

  • At one point, the Major says to Adair, "Had you met me at a social gathering, you would probably not even have spoken to me, because I am a Yankee officer." Had Adair and the Major met under other circumstances, would she have ignored him?

  • Enemy Women has a rich array of minor characters. Among them are Christopher Columbus Jones (the ostler at the Major's boardinghouse), Lt. Brawley, Mr. and Mrs. Greathouse (the couple who argue over the hat), Greasy John, the "botanical steam doctor" in the town of Valles Mines, Jessie Hyssop, Colonel Timothy Reeves (who only appears at the very end of the book, although we hear about him from the beginning). Who are your favorite minor characters, and why?

  • Rivers play an important role in Enemy Women, both as symbols and as actual barriers. In the 19th century, rivers were far more than symbols; they were dangerous crossing points that had to be negotiated at some risk. What significance is there in the name of each river? Does a change occur to the hero or heroine as he or she meets new tests or enemies on the far side?

  • Adair changes over the course of the book, from an audacious, outspoken, fearless young woman to someone more inner-directed, cautious, quiet, even frightened. Where are the crucial scenes that demonstrate this transformation?

  • When Adair finally returns home, she finds a family of traveling players has occupied her empty house. What purpose does this serve in the narrative? Is the author being lightly satiric through the player's explanation of the roles of the "aristocratic girl" and the "saucy girl"?

  • At the end of the book, when the Major stands before the empty Colley homestead and calls out to Adair, saying he has kept his promise, what famous early 20th century poem do these lines evoke?

  • In the beginning of the book, Adair seems dubious about marriage, and reluctant to give up her freedom. By the end of the book, though, she has apparently changed her mind. How do we know that Adair has fallen in love with the Major, despite her doubts and confusions?

  • At the end of the story, Adair is weak, in many ways as faded and ragged as the Confederacy itself. What small, sneaky symbol at the very end gives the reader hope that Adair may recover and flesh out to become her old self again? (Hint, hint: It's up in the sky.) About the Author: Paulette Jiles is an award-winning poet and memoirist. The idea for Enemy Women, her first novel, sprung from research she was conducting into her own family's past during the Civil War in the Ozarks. An avid horsewoman (who learned how to ride sidesaddle as part of the research for this novel), Jiles lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, and is currently at work on a new novel.

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    Enemy Women 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 129 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    The historical fiction novel, Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles, gives an extraordinary description of the Civil War with an entirely different perspective than other war novels.  In Enemy Women, there are many historically correct facts regarding the Civil War and the entries at the beginning of each chapter make it even more accurate.  However, this book goes deeper than just the obvious facts.  It gives the believable story of an eighteen-year-old girl (Adair) and her incredible journey during the war.  It provides details about the personal struggles individuals faced living in the Civil War era.  This book is perfect for historical fiction addicts and/or anyone who can enjoy a worthy romance novel that is not too overpowering and mushy.   The unique young women Adair Colley, and main character, lived in the border state of Missouri.  This creates a conflict with the Union militia who abruptly kidnap her father.  Her quest to find him turns into a mess and she ends up in prison for being falsely accused of spying for the Confederate army.  In prison, Adair meets Major Neumann, a Union soldier, who becomes a very important part of the book later.  The Major and Adair fall in love and within a few days, these two lovebirds decide they refuse to be cooped up inside a rotten prison.  With help from the Major, Adair escapes with only $25 and sets out on a suspenseful journey to find her father and return home.   Through the struggles faced by both of the main characters, the author brilliantly used third person to tell the story giving every opinion and thought of Adair and the Major.  The eager mood of this book definitely makes it a page-turner and out of five, I give this book a four.  It was an extremely amusing and credible, however, there were a few parts where it irked me.  For instance, Adair was annoying at times and Major Neumann should have been more romantic, but there was a constant passion between the main characters, which I loved.  Overall, this book is skillfully written and I recommend it to anyone.  
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Paulette Jiles’s “Enemy Women” is a historical fiction book that revolves around the struggles of eighteen year old Adair Colley throughout the end of the Civil War.  Jiles wrote with a formal, serious tone that describes events in a blunt, unexaggerated way. It is narrated from a third person omniscient perspective, which allows readers to view both Adair’s thoughts as well as the thoughts of her lover, Major William Neumann. The storyline and character development gives readers an anxious and adventurous mood with hints of romance and sadness sprinkled throughout.  The main characters are Adair and her lawyer, Neumann, who later becomes her lover and avenger for her father. The intended audience could be anyone because it is not written with excessive historical jargon, which makes it understandable for the young or old. That being said, it would, however, benefit the reader to have background knowledge of the Civil War and its effects on society to get the complete picture. Overall, I enjoyed this book because of the interesting series of events and the dynamic relationship between Adair and Neumann. Specifically, I liked how gritty and real Jiles displays the events and struggles of Adair’s journey. The graphic details, such as the corpse’s hand she saw while at Lila’s house, kept me on the edge of my seat.  The major drawback from an ultimate experience was the annoyingly stubborn and prideful characteristics that Adair portrayed, even when it caused her trouble. Although it was necessary for her to act like this, I feel as if a woman in the time of the Civil War would not be this independent or strong-willed. It took me out of the setting a little bit every time she threw her sassy and harsh words. Jiles did a good job in writing this book because she covered important historical facts while providing a captivating and suspenseful plot line. It could have been better if she would have tweaked Adair’s outwardly poor characteristics and if she would have spent more time writing a satisfying and complete ending.  -J Sortino
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles is, quite possibly, the best Historical Fiction written during the Civil War. The book carries an overall hopeful tone despite all of the tragedies that befall the main character, Adair Colley, and casts a dark mood. It is told from a third-person point of view, mainly following Adair throughout the novel. During the Civil War, women played a huge role. Because women were constantly being underestimated, groups began to use them as spies in addition to their support at camps through cooking and cleaning. Once the use of women became common knowledge, armies started to jail women on account of spying, cutting telegraph lines, and aiding the enemy. Adair Colley has her father taken away from her at the age of 18 by Union Militia and, in attempting to get him back, gets thrown into jail on false charges, the same being charged to women across America at the time. She meets Major William Neumann with whom she falls in love, and is forced to escape becoming an “enemy women.” Jiles did an excellent job in writing this novel which was extremely accurate due to her years of extensive research on the subject. At the beginning of each section are placed excerpts from old letters dating to the Civil War to provide the happenings in the story with some historical basis. The only downfall to this book would be the lack of quotations. It does take a little longer to comprehend, but one can get used to unique grammatical strategy. This book is targeted at young adults, especially with an interest in the Civil War. Enemy Women is different from most books about the Civil War in the Adair, the main character, is not directly involved in the war per say, but she is affected by it in such a way that makes her a part of it without the boring, repetitive battles that one would have to endure reading about if the main character were a soldier. This is a new breed of historical fiction.
    H_Hardy More than 1 year ago
    Paulette Jiles does an excellent job writing a historical fiction novel set during the Civil War. Most books written regarding this time period are strictly about the battles of the war or someone who fought in it. In this riveting novel, the story is told in the point of view of an eighteen year old girl, Adair Colley, and her forbidden lover Major Neumann. To make the story as accurate as possible, Jiles places letters or documents that were written during the Civil War to show that what was happening in the story truly did occur during that time period. The author did an excellent job at balancing the budding romance between Major Neumann and Adair with the hardships they both faced during the war. There was just enough romance to leave me wanting more. There were some dull points in the book, and the only reason I kept reading was because my curiosity got the best of me. I had to know if Adair would ever get her happily ever after. Because of the romance as well as the history in Enemy Women, many different types of people could find reading it enjoyable, such as romantics or history fanatics. The author’s tone changed throughout the book. At the beginning of the book, her tone was one of anger and melancholy, but during some parts her tone was even one of love and fear. The mood of the reader changed drastically as well, but for the most part the reader was anxious to find out what would happen next in Adair’s journey. The only thing I believe Jiles could have done better on was the ending of the novel. The ending did not specifically say what the future held for Adair and Major Neumann, or if there was even a future for them at all. Since the romance was my favorite part of the novel, the ending was a huge disappointment. Other than that, I found reading Enemy Women to be an enjoyable experience, and I would even recommend this book to others.
    cwaller More than 1 year ago
    “Enemy Women” by Paulette Jiles is a historical narrative as well as a great read for everyone. The overall tone of the novel is serious and at some points suspenseful. The point of view is from a third person stance. The mood is definitely that of an adventure, the whole time you follow the character on their journey and you get just about every mood there is. At some points, it is suspenseful, and then the romance can kick in. At other times, you may even feel scared or worried. The two main characters are Adair Colley and Major Neumann, but throughout the story you meet multiple minor characters that play some pretty crucial roles. The intended audience for this novel is most definitely anyone. It is a good read for people who are interested in the history, or the story. This novel can attract people of all ages for sure. In general, I liked this book because it gave a little bit of everything. Specifically I liked the technique of using no quotation marks; this gave a better sense of being told a story. I thought it was very unique and creative the way it was written technically. Overall, I believe Paulette Jiles did a fantastic job because you can tell she worked really hard with all the historical evidence and accuracy, and it played a great role in the story. Also, she did an incredible job incorporating it into a story people of all ages would love. It could have been improved by giving it a slightly more realistic plot. While it is intriguing, it is just very unlikely for Adair to of accomplished so much. Things were different in that time period; women were unable to vote and participate in war. Therefore, it is likely that Adair would have been less successful. Although, "Enemy Women" is definatly a good read for all and I give it two thumbs up!
    J_Antoine More than 1 year ago
    “Enemy Women” by Paulette Jiles entertains civil war addicts through the use of nonfiction; however, the book is based off of true stories. Present are excerpts and other factual information in the book before each scene or chapter, so there is high reliability towards the book. The book demonstrates the conflicts of the civil war through multiple view points of people both in the war and not in the war. The book is written in third person point of view in hopes to excite and offer readers suspense through the use of unfortunate events and lethal battles. The main characters in the book are Adair Colley, an eighteen year old courageous and ambitious girl on a mission to save her father from the Union militia, and Major William Neumann, a bold member of the Union Army who is Adair’s lawyer at first, but then looks to avenge the capturing of Adair’s father Marquis after Neumann realizes the Colley’s have done nothing wrong. The book demonstrates Adair’s perilous quest to find and save her father, and Major Neumann’s desire to start a new life outside of the war. The book is not all violence and dangers though a love story is evident throughout the book between Neumann and Adair with hopes of marrying each other one day after the war. Jiles set out to portray attitudes and actions of common people affected by the civil war in the 1860’s and that is exactly what “Enemy Women” demonstrates. Attitudes of common people, Adair, soldiers, Major Neumann, and other people looking for the right opportunity to strike, Tom Poth are all demonstrated in “Enemy Women” and little to no other books offer the same information. I personally enjoyed the book because of the unexpected results among characters listed throughout the book that adds large amounts of suspense to the story. I specifically enjoyed the personality change of Adair throughout the book. At first Adair is conceded and gullible, but through personal experiences Adair becomes cautious, brave, and alert at the end of her journey. Personally I did not like how the book never really offered information about the south or the Confederate States of America and their attitudes on war. This is really the only defect of this book along with potential improvements. Overall if one is looking for a suspenseful civil war book, “Enemy Women” is the one for you.
    HMoore17 More than 1 year ago
    Unlike many other books about the Civil War, “Enemy Women” by Paulette Jiles is a thrilling story that keeps the reader’s attention throughout the book and leaves him wanting more. The events in the book are historically accurate, but they are told in a way to keep the book from becoming boring. It is told through the life of eighteen year old Adair Colley who was arrested by the Union and separated from her family. Although she is never in the midst of the fighting, the reader is able to follow parts of the war through Adair’s journey. As “Enemy Women” follows Adair’s point of view, it also becomes intertwined and told from Major William Neumann’s point of view. Major Neumann is one of the most important characters in the book because he not only helps Adair escape, but he provides her with another reason to finally finish her journey. Because the book is filled with scenes of action, adventure, and romance, it is appealing to the teen audience as well as the adult audience. These aspects of the book give it an exciting plot that allowed me to enjoy reading it. One of the parts I found especially enjoyable was in the end she did not lose everything. Although Adair lost all of her land, belongings, and became separated from her family, she did not lose hope and found her horse and the man she loved. At the end of the book, the author showed this hope and new life by describing the small sliver of a new moon peeking out from behind the clouds. However, despite all of the positive aspects of the book, there was one part that I believe the author should have done differently. She did not describe exactly what happened to the rest of Adair’s family and left me wondering about her brother and sisters. “Enemy Women” went above my expectations for a Civil War novel by combining historically accurate events with a meaningful and exciting plot. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys this adventurous time in American history.
    Matthew_Frye More than 1 year ago
    “Enemy Women” by Paulette Jiles is a wonderful fiction novel that has real historical events. Majority of the novel is told through Adair Colley who is one of the main characters, so the tone is mainly based off her attitude and how it changes throughout the novel. Besides Adair, the other main character that we get to live the novel through is Major William Neumann, which shows his change as a character just like Adair. The focus of the novel is during the Civil War (1861-1865). The main characters show us the point of views of a civilian, Adair, and by a Union military officer, Neumann and how the war affected and changed them both. The novel was written for any Civil War fanatic or any person looking for a good read about war, but what makes “Enemy Women” so unique for the other Civil War novels is that it is fiction, yet it contains events from what happened during the war. After completing the entire novel, I found myself disappointed that it was over because the more I read the more I found myself continuing to read even when I finished what the class assignment required. The main plot of the story was well written and was easily able to grab the attention of the reader. I loved the fact that even though the novel was fiction, it was able to tie in real events about the Civil War. Also, in the beginning of each chapter, Jiles inserted quotes, letters or information about events that took place during the Civil War by real people and made it go with the main plot. The biggest negative about this novel is that when the characters have dialogue there are no quotations, so at times during the conversation you might think it is the same person talking when it is someone else. Overall, Jiles does an outstanding job constructing the novel. The story she made is on point with how the people during this era acted and showed how the men, women, and soldiers were changed and treated during the war. All the research that Jiles did learning about the Civil War era to make this novel was as accurate as possible even though it is fiction, but truly did pay off in the end. Finally, I give this book 4 stars mainly because the author did not use the quotations during the dialogue which made it a little harder on the readers, but besides that one change the book was absolutely fantastic.
    RachelEJM More than 1 year ago
    Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles is a lovely, informative historical fiction piece set during the American Civil War. Although for a majority of the piece the tone is sad and rather pathetic, towards the end of the book, things begin to look up for the main characters, and leave the reader filled with hope. The main characters in Jiles’ story are the striking Adair Colley, who, when taken from her home and forced to endure the long, bump-filled road back to home, meets one Major William Neumann-a handsome Union military man who is bored of his every day, run of the mill desk job. Jiles writes her story for those who are interested in a side of the Civil War that does not involve battles day in and day out, but rather focuses on the more day-to-day journeys of the Civil War. In general, I did like Enemy Women, and Paulette Jiles did do a decent job at writing the book. Historically speaking, she did an excellent job in her writing. Unfortunately, her lack of quotation marks is extremely annoying, and although exciting, Adair’s story is one that is highly unlikely in the real world. I did enjoy, however, the literature excerpts from the time period at the beginning of each chapter, and the subtle love story woven throughout the book.
    Milena More than 1 year ago
    Enemy Women was written by Paulette Jiles in 2002. This book takes place in Missouri during the time of the Civil War. This book is a story of freedom, love, and duty. Jiles shows that women are not weak and small minded, but rather they can accomplish and overcome many things.
    During the Civil War, the men that made up the Missouri Sate Guard were sent to the Virginia, Tennessee, and the Southern part of the country, leaving only women and children at home. Meanwhile the other state militias soon began to invade Missouri, and with no men there to protect the women, these militias began to take and use whatever they wanted from these women. During the Civil War many women were arrested and convicted of being spies for the Confederate Army, these women were placed in special camps until the end of the war. These camps were harsh, cold, and a very poor environment for anyone to live in.
    In the beginning we meet the Colleys, the father Squire, Adair, Little Mary, John Lee, and Savannah. The Colleys live on a farm in Missouri and their father is a Justice of the Peace. Their family has chosen to remain neutral in the war against the states and the men do not go to war, voluntarily anyway. Eventually Adair¿s father and brother are pulled into the war leaving Adair to care for her younger sister¿s. When the Union soldiers start taking over their land Adair and her sister¿s must leave.
    Along the way, the girls meet up with some other migrants and travel with them. When Adair is betrayed by a member of the party she is arrested for giving information to the Confederate Army and placed in a camp. This novel tells of Adair¿s trying time in the camp, how she survived the interrogations and fell in love with one of the interrogators, and her journey as an escaped ¿enemy woman¿ to find her family. This plot appealed to me because it was very lively and was realistic. The plot was just complicated enough to keep me interested, but not so that I was confused.
    This story is amazing and I recommend it to all who are interested in suspense, romance, or adventures. The Denver Post called it, ¿A remarkably engaging story¿.¿ I give this book two thumbs up. This book is full of suspense and adventure and left me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire time I was reading it.
    farrah_nicholas More than 1 year ago
    Enemy Women is a historical fiction novel set in Missouri. The author, Paulette Jiles, does a great job of mixing both facts with fiction in order to produce a compelling story. In the beginning, the book is mainly in the view of Adair Colley and her struggles as a young woman throughout the civil war, however as the book continues Adair meets a man named Major Neumann. Once the Major is introduced the book then toggles between the Majors point of view and Adairs. Enemy Women has a very serious tone, but it is appropriate due to the killing and corruption that went on during the civil war. The Major and Adair are the two main characters throughout the novel. The two share a special bond which was highly frowned upon due to the Major working with the Union and Adair living in Confederate territory. Enemy women was definitely wrote for mature audiences. There is descriptive violence in it along with minor archaic language. I personally, did not like the archaic language and I feel Jiles could have added quotations during dialogue in order to help my comprehension of the book. The author does a great job of showing you through Adairs’ life how hard it was for women during the civil war, however she sparked the interest of myself when she began the love story of Major Neumann and Adair. Jiles does a great job of attracting people of different genres such as love, violence, a tad of mystery, and self-struggles. Over all I think this is a great book and would recommend it to anyone that is studying the civil war and wants to understand the lives of women during it. -Farrah Nicholas
    Corey-James-Phetteplace More than 1 year ago
    The American Historical novel “Enemy Women” takes place during the Civil War. The author, Paulette Jiles, writes a believable story about what would happen during the life of an average citizen during the war. The novel follows the journey of Adair Colley after her life is turned upside down after her house is ransacked by the Union Militia. The story shows how dark and gritty the time period could really be and makes the reader understand the conflicts that people went through during the Civil War from Adair’s point of view. Aside from following Adair, the novel also follows Major William Neumann, a military man that Adair meets while in a woman’s prison who becomes one of the main characters as well. The book was very enjoyable and kept me wondering about what would happen next. The only thing that I did not care for about this book was the fact that it did not use quotation marks. If the book had quotation marks, then it would be very difficult to find anything “irritating” or “wrong” with the book. Jiles also did a good job about doing a lot of research beforehand regarding the history of the war, which led to the story being more believable. One piece of evidence that shows that Jiles did a lot of research was the primary source(s) at the beginning of each chapter. The only major improvement I see that could be made would be to add quotation marks. It is a little thing that makes a huge difference, but the reader is eventually able to tell the difference between narration and dialogue. “Enemy Women” is a very good book that I would recommend to other people.
    jubilant_joy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I've read a lot a novels set during the Civil War, but knew little about the events in Missouri and the surrounding area before reading this book. The main character, Adair, quickly gained my admiration and respect for her strength and spirit. I enjoyed the quotes and excerpts from actual Civil War documents (both Union and Confederate) at the beginning of each chapter. They seem to keep the novel grounded in historical fact, even though the characters and compelling story are fiction. Paulette Jiles' writing is outstanding, truly making the setting and emotions of the characters come to life. I found myself reading some passages over just to enjoy the mental pictures her words create. The ending came too soon!
    DeltaQueen50 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Enemy Women is a Civil War novel set in the Missouri Ozarks. Missouri was one of the so-called fringe states where the population was mixed in it's support for either the Federals or the Confederates. This in turn lead to neighbour turning on neighbour, and suspicions and hard feelings running rampant.As the major battles were being fought across other states, Missouri was being trampled by Militia, belonging to both sides. One week the Confederates would ride through seeking food, shelter and plunder and the next week it would be the Union Militia. The atrocities were many and shared by both sides.The story focus is on Adair Colley, a young eighteen year old girl who sees her father beaten and taken prisoner while she and her sisters are turned out on the road. They try to inquire about the whereabouts of their father, but instead, Adair is taken prisoner herself, accused of being a spy. Sent to St. Louis and placed in a woman's prison, she meets a Union major whose job is to interrogate the prisoners. After numerous talks they realize that they have fallen in love, but he is about to be transferred. He arranges for her to escape and she begins a long trek back to her home in the Ozarks searching for her family.Paulette Jiles is a poet, and that certainly shows through in her lyrical writing. She is able to paint pictures with her words and made the story both captivating and authentic. I was bothered that quotation marks were not used, I found it most unsettling. I did however, like the heroine, Adair as I found her to be spunky, strong and believable. Overall a good read about a small corner of the Civil War.
    hammockqueen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I found this book to be entertaining...surprisingly so. Adair takes over and flees with her sisters before being taken prisoner. Will Neumann gives some help but Adair does the work of surviving and escaping and finding her horse Whiskey.
    countrylife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    Paulette Jiles knocked my socks off with her `Color of Lightning¿, so I scrambled to find another of her books. Sockless, again! A strong writer, she gives an authentic voice to her characters, and sets them in vividly rendered locations. Her stories are compelling; the historical events true, around which she weaves her words. In her historical novel, ENEMY WOMEN, Jiles shares some actual letters, written, some by northerners, some by southerners. One letter from 1861: ¿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.¿And so begins a horrible chapter in the history of Missouri. The men of the area were still off fighting in the War Between the States, or acting as gorilla soldiers trying to protect their homes and villages from being ravaged by unscrupulous union soldiers. Women, while feeding their own husbands when they returned from their war duties, were charged as collaborators - enemies of the Union. Homes were burned, menfolk (and often whole families) were killed, or the women and children marched to prisons in St. Louis. Jiles imagines a family set into this moment in history; her main character a young woman, the oldest sibling, and how she reacts to the circumstances in which she finds herself. A fascinating story, start to finish; well imagined and well told. The characters and story both felt true to the times. Her sense of place was perfect, too. I lived, for a short time, in the area depicted. I¿ve walked in the Current River, sat with my children on its pebbly `beaches¿ in Van Buren, hiked through parts of the Mark Twain National Forest, climbed around the boulders of Johnson¿s Shut-Ins listening to the roar of the water. Her descriptions transplanted me right back there. Two notes, though: (1) The one thing this book lacked was a map. In `Color of Lightning¿, I found myself referring back to the maps quite often, and really felt its lack here. Enemy Women was an earlier work; perhaps reprints will include a map. (2) As I began this book, it initially bothered me that the words `spoken¿ by the characters were not shown in quotes. But I wasn¿t bothered long. It was a seamless technique that at least worked for her in this time and place. A taste (p.12): ¿So it was in the third year of the Civil War in the Ozark Mountains of southeastern Missouri, when virginia creeper and poison ivy wrapped scarlet, smoky scarves around the throats of trees, and there was hardly anybody left in the country but the women and the children.¿Highly recommended.
    redheadish on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    A really good book based during the civil war time in Missouri mainly about the rebel women of the war that were taken to prison for war crimes. Very interesting and was a good read!
    jamaicanmecrazy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    This is a grim story, necessarily so, due to the theme of survival during the American Civil War. However, it is also a love story between a man and woman on opposite sides of the conflict, between a woman and her horses, and the propensity of the human spirit to persevere when the world around is cruel and unflinching. As another reviewer commented, the format was at first a little difficult, but soon augmented the tempo of Jiles' prose. I loved it. Also recommend Doctorow's The March.
    wispywillow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    It annoys me when books don't use quotation marks for dialogue. Adair was very, very irritating as a protagonist for most of the book, but toward the end when she grows up a little, she's a little more tolerable.The only parts I really liked about this book were the description of the horses and the bits of history at the beginning of each chapter.
    Suuze on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    This book is written in the vernacular of the remote regions of Southern Missouri during the Civil War. The lead character is a likeable and admirable 14 year old girl who instantly draws you into the story. She enables you to see things through her eyes as she endures the trials and tribulations of the Civil War.As much as I've read about that awful war, this book offered a different perspective. People who lived in battle zones, or even near the periphery, suffered horribly. Yet th...more This book is written in the vernacular of the remote regions of Southern Missouri during the Civil War. The lead character is a likeable and admirable 14 year old girl who instantly draws you into the story. She enables you to see things through her eyes as she endures the trials and tribulations of the Civil War.As much as I've read about that awful war, this book offered a different perspective. People who lived in battle zones, or even near the periphery, suffered horribly. Yet they faced every day with courage and a plodding resolve to somehow get through it all.I loved the poetry of the author's writing, often rereading a particularly touching or descriptive sentence. She is also a poet as well as a writer of novels, and it shows.Very enjoyable, I will likely reread, and will most definitely recommend to my book club and friends.
    readingrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    I had some mixed feelings about this book. Usually I really enjoy a book that takes place in an area that I'm familiar with because it really brings the setting alive for me. However in this case I was perhaps too familiar with St. Louis city because when the author took literary license (more than once) with the geography of downtown St. Louis, it immediately threw me out of the story. I really enjoyed the quotes from various historical documents and civil war texts at the beginning of each chapter and learned a great deal I didn't know about the civil war, however I found the author's technique of moving the plot ahead using a series of marvelous coincidences slightly annoying.
    cindyloumn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    At first I didn't like this book. But the more I read it the more I liked it. It's very depressing, and sad. About what happened in Missouri during the Civil war. Liked the female character, but she still was sort of dense at times. And the couple fall in love sooo fast, you wonder what attracted them to ea other? Sort of ends without tying up alot of ends.
    MarianV on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
    A civil war story that takes place behind the lines. While the main battles are fought to the south & east. rural Missouri remains in a state of constant struggle as local militias, some for the South, some for the North & others merely opportunists out to grab whatever they can, fight guerilla wars where the main victims are women & children.Most of the novel is told from the point of view of a young woman who is arrested by Union forces because her father sympathizes with the south. She spends months in a prison for women in St. Louis.Other voices join in the narrative & ENEMY WOMEN shows a full, balanced portrait of life lived in a world where law & order has broken down & only the most strong & brutal survive.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Unsulual story, learned so many facts about the Civil War.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago