Enemy Women: A Novel
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Enemy Women: A Novel

3.8 117
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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Toronto Globe and Mail
“ENEMY WOMEN deserves the Pulitzer Prize.”
Anna Quindlen
“I loved…it provides the greatest suspense a story can offer: will someone we’ve come to love persevere and prosper?”
New York Times Book Review (cover)
“…remarkable happens...it becomes inspired… Adair becomes a storyteller in order to survive. And so - triumphantly - does Paulette Jiles.”
New York Times
“This is a book with backbone, written with tough, haunting eloquence.”
“Jiles paints the struggles of the era with the same intensity as Charles Frazier’s 1997 bestseller Cold Mountain …”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“…beautifully written passages…a real page-turner.”
“...[G]ifted Missouri historian...acutely portrays Missouri’s logistic misfortune as a hotbed of both Union and Confederate violence.”
Kaye Gibbons
“Enemy Women is all strength and poetry, as are history’s grandest ordinary women and extraordinary writing.”
Gordon Lish
“You know what it means when there is Paulette Jiles inside? Be smart. Open the book.”
Carolyn Chute
“ENEMY WOMEN...has a Homeresque feel to it. Like something written by an old soul.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Jiles has created an unsentimental yet tender world of destruction, despair, and hope that’s a joy to inhabit.”
Washington Post
“Comparing Enemy Women to Cold Mountain doesn’t quite do Jiles’s novel justice.”
(cover) - New York Times Book Review
"…remarkable happens...it becomes inspired… Adair becomes a storyteller in order to survive. And so - triumphantly - does Paulette Jiles."
People Magazine
"Jiles paints the struggles of the era with the same intensity as Charles Frazier’s 1997 bestseller Cold Mountain …"
The Barnes & Noble Review from Discover Great New Writers
Set in war-torn Missouri during the Civil War, Enemy Women is a timeless story of a heroine who perseveres as the world around her crumbles.

Three years into the war, the Union militia is burning homes throughout the eastern Ozarks in retaliation against the families whose men fought for the Confederacy. Although Squire Colley, a justice of the peace, has maintained neutrality in the conflict, his family does not escape the militia's wrath -- their home is burned, their possessions stolen, and Colley himself is arrested for "disloyalty" and taken away.

Colley's 18-year-old daughter, Adair, joins her sisters, who set out on foot to find their jailed father and demand his release. But before long the stakes are raised, and Adair herself is accused of espionage. Her interrogator, Major Neumann, urges her to confess, but Adair refuses to admit to crimes she did not commit. Eventually, the major is transferred to another jurisdiction, but not before a romantic interest in Adair has been kindled. He helps her plan an escape from prison and promises to find her when the war is finally over. In poor health, and with virtually no possessions other than two gold pieces, Adair sets out to find her family and rebuild her life. (Spring 2002 Selection)

Janet Maslin
This is a book with backbone, written with tough, haunting eloquence by an author determined to capture the immediacy of her heroine's wartime odyssey. And Ms. Jiles, in her debut novel, has brought spellbinding intensity to the process of leading readers backward through time.
New York Times
Publishers Weekly
HFor Adair Randolph Colley, at 18 the eldest daughter of a widowed Missouri Ozarks schoolmaster and justice of the peace, the Civil War becomes personal when her father, who has remained neutral in the conflict, is arrested by the Union militia, their home is nearly burned and their possessions stolen. At the start of this spirited first novel, Adair and her two younger sisters try to follow their father's captors, but Adair is falsely denounced as a Confederate spy. At the prison in St. Louis, upright commandant Maj. William Neumann is embarrassed to be interrogating women and has requested a transfer to a fighting unit. He's touched by Adair's beauty and spirit and asks her to give him some information so she can be released. Instead, she writes the story of her life, augmented by folk tales and fables, and he finds himself falling in love. When he gets his reassignment orders, he proposes marriage and asks her to escape, promising to find her after the war. Thus begins a long and terrible journey for each of them. Poet and memoirist Jiles (North Spirit) has written a striking debut novel whose tone lingers poignantly. Not a typical romantic heroine, Adair has the saucy naevete of an unsophisticated countrywoman and the wily bravery born of an honest character. Jiles's strengths include a sure command of period vernacular and knowledge of the social customs among backwoods people, as well as a delicate hand with the love story. Sure to be touted as a new Cold Mountain, this stark, unsentimental, yet touching novel will not suffer in comparison. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Poet and memoirist Jiles (North Spirit) enters new territory, both historically and stylistically, with her first novel, which is set in the Missouri Ozarks during the Civil War. Adair Colley is 18 years old and leads a happy, untroubled life with her father, brother, and younger sisters on the family homestead in southeastern Missouri until the war, in the form of the Missouri Union Militia, touches them. After taking the family's possessions, the militia sets fire to the house and barn. Brother John Lee escapes to the woods, but patriarch Marquis Colley is accused of disloyalty, badly beaten, and taken away, leaving the three girls on their own. Though innocent, Adair is soon arrested for spying and sent to prison in St. Louis. How she survives that institution's abominable conditions, falls in love with the major in charge, and manages to return to her old home make for an enthralling narrative. Very little has been written about the degrading condition endured by female prisoners, who were often unjustly accused, and the details that Jiles unearthed via her research add much to our knowledge of the Civil War. Recommended for all public libraries. Ann Fleury, Tampa-Hillsborough P.L., FL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-A well-told historical novel related by a young woman who was imprisoned during the Civil War. The story begins in southeastern Missouri where spoiled, outspoken Adair Colley, 18, lives with her bookish father, crippled brother, and two younger sisters. When Tim Reeves's Union militia burns their house and barn, taking her father prisoner, Adair and her sisters set off on horseback to plead for his release. Their brother has escaped both the army and Reeves's band by hiding out with Southern guerrillas. Adair is denounced as a spy and taken to prison, where she shares a cell with prostitutes. Soon she comes in contact with Major William Newmann, who tries to convince her to turn in her brother so she can be released. Instead of a confession, Adair composes an elaborate fairy tale. The major is unable to deny his feelings for her, and urges her to escape just before he is transferred to the front lines. The rest of the book deals with her risky trek home and the major's exploits in battle and subsequent release from the army. Similar to Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (Atlantic Monthly, 1997), this love story gives vivid descriptions of the dangerous countryside and glimpses into the horrors of war and its aftermath. Chapters begin with contemporary journal entries, letters, and news stories. Magical, lyrical, and hauntingly beautiful, this title is a must read for its strong female protagonist and a side of the Civil War not usually dealt with in history books.-Pat Bender, The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A remarkable debut chronicles the challenges a young woman, falsely imprisoned as a spy during the Civil War, faces when her home is destroyed and her heart given to the enemy.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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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.

What People are saying about this

Anna Quindlen
“I loved…it provides the greatest suspense a story can offer: will someone we’ve come to love persevere and prosper?”
Kaye Gibbons
“Enemy Women is all strength and poetry, as are history’s grandest ordinary women and extraordinary writing.”
Carolyn Chute
“ENEMY WOMEN...has a Homeresque feel to it. Like something written by an old soul.”
Gordon Lish
“You know what it means when there is Paulette Jiles inside? Be smart. Open the book.”

Meet the Author

Paulette Jiles is a poet and the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the bestselling novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, and The Color of Lightning. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, Texas.

Brief Biography

Southwest Texas
Place of Birth:
Salem, Missouri
B.A. in Romance Languages, University of Missouri

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Enemy Women 3.8 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 117 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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Enemy Women” by Paulette Jiles is a thrilling historical fiction set back in the 1800’s in the time of the Civil War. Jiles perfectly depicts a passionate, courageous, and suspenseful tone throughout her book. The story was told in third person; however, the characters spoke in first person. The main characters in the book are Adair Colley and William Neumann. Adair is a seventeen year old girl living with her father, brother, and two sisters in Missouri. The Union Militia come and capture her father.Her and her sisters set off to find him along dangerous roads. From the time she sets off she is met with misfortune. She is separated from her sisters and sent to prison. While in prison however, she meets William Neumann, Major Neumann is to be her interrogator; however the two fall in love and he helps Adair escape. This book is primarily about Adair travelling alone on her way home. We see her struggles as she wanders through the dangerous territories of the Civil War. The intended audiences for this book are those who enjoy reading historical fiction and those who want to get a different take on life during the Civil War. So many books based on the Civil War are from the perspective of a soldier however; this book is different in that it is shown form a civilian’s perspective. I generally enjoyed reading this book however; there were some parts in it that the reader would need a background in Civil War to understand what was going on. This book was an easy read but Jiles did not use quotation marks. For the first few chapters the reader has to really pay attention to the book because it gets confusing but as the book progresses it gets easier to understand. Jiles did an excellent job in portraying the life of a civilian woman during the Civil War and the fact that she used real events made the book even more interesting to read. This book could be majorly improved by adding quotation marks to it to make it more understandable. Also adding a more detailed ending to the story could have made the book a more memorable piece of literary work.
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a person who reads quite a lot, I felt this was a waste of my time. The plot drug and I lost interest. The fact that there were no quotation marks to punctuate quotes by the characters was confusing. The information cited from historical sources at the beginning of each chapter often did not relate to the events in the chapter. The actual history of the Civil War period in border states is very interesting, but this fictional effort did not do justice to the times.
AshBizzle More than 1 year ago
Enemy Women is a historical romance novel set in the antebellum era proceeding into the Civil War that’s jam-packed with historical primary sources related to the story!   Enemy Women is definitely a must read for any history geek, romance-holic, or suspense junkie. It’s a third person story that begins by displaying martial brutality against the Colley family at their home in Missouri. Adair Colley a beautiful, young woman is left with her two younger sisters after her father and brother disappeared after the corrupt Union militia ransacks their home. As Adair and her sisters pursue the men who took her father, Adair is arrested falsely for treasonous charges. Once it feels like all is lost; Adair finds love in an unexpected place. The story divides into following the lives of Adair and Major William Neumann a Union Army soldier who is tasked with interrogating women with such accusations pressed against them. Once Adair is free from prison Neumann is called to fight on the battlefield. When they couldn’t possibly feel any further apart all they can have is trust and commitment, but can they survive? Jiles keeps the reader on their toes hoping for the star-crossed lover’s safety as the reader is absorbed by the surreal imagery of the Civil War.  Enemy Women is truly a gem amongst other novels of the genre, never have I been so enchanted by the historical sources that align perfectly with Jile’s story.  Paulette Jiles wrote a 4.5/5 with the only flaw in my opinion being the over-cramming of sources near the end of the story distracting the reader from the conclusion. I would recommend to anyone who wants to squeal like a teenage girl and get a history lesson along the way!-Ash Bishop
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles is a well written novel combining both historical and fictional elements. The novel is great for young adults looking for information on the Civil war along with a fictional story to keep their interest.The genre could best be described as a historical-fictional to its historical elements along with its fictional characters that are put through historical events. The tone is set in a perspective shared between the two main characters Adair and Major Neumann whom meet later in the novel and fall in love with one another. Neumann is a major in the Union militia while Adair is an average civilian that is falsely accused of spying by the military and sent to prison. Along the way there are many graphic scenes that should be view by mature young adults as they paint the picture of how viscous the civil war was. Overall I personally liked the novel based on its successful mixture of historical information and fictional story. It keeps the reader engaged in the novel as they become addicted and read from cover to cover. However, in the novel Jiles uses a writing style which excludes the use of quotation marks. This makes it hard for the reader to distinguish between conversations that take place between characters and the rest of the story. After a little bit of reading however the reader will get use to this style and become comfortable with it. This novel has peaked my interest into looking at Jiles' other novels as they all seem to be similar in differing ways based on their covers. I would recommend this novel to any young adult that is interested in the civil war and enjoys a good story. Bryce Helton
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
D-Faircloth1985 More than 1 year ago
Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles is a well written historical fiction novel, giving an accurate description of the life of a woman during the Civil War. The novel is set during the American Civil War and is based around Adair Colley and Major Neumann. The book's tone is somewhat of that of survival, Adair constantly trying to survive and make it to return home and to see Major Neumann again. The book is written from the third person limited point of view, allowing for the reader to know the thoughts of Adair and the Major but no other characters. The mood is that of urgency, Adair in a fight to survive both the sickness and the journey back home to her home and the Major. Adair Colley and Major Neumann are the major characters of the novel, as the reader sees the war and their journey's through the characters eyes. The audience is meant to be young readers and others who take an interest in the Civil War and historical fiction. I personally enjoyed this book because I have always had an interest in the Civil War and the lives of people during the war. I particularly liked how Jiles managed to capture the characters' personalities and the seemingly realistic lifestyles of people during the Civil War. Jiles did an excellent job while writing the novel, accurately describing the lives of people during the wartime era. It could be improved if Jiles went more in depth with the effects of the war on Neumann and the battles in which he fought. However, other than that, I cannot think of any other improvements, an excellent novel.
Justin Byrd More than 1 year ago
Enemy Women is a historical fiction that takes place during the civil by Paulette Jiles. It is in an omniscient point of view with a suspenseful mood. The author tone is seems to shift from intense to a more depressed tone depending on the situation in the story. The main character is Adair Colley, an eighteen year old who has her father arrested and taken away by a man named Tom Poth. While seeking information about her father with her two sisters she is accused by a cynical family named that is referred to as the Upshaws for spying. In prison, Major Neumann is assigned to Adair’s case. He is the second main character. While spending time with Adair, he notices that she is different and later falls in love with Adair. Neumann wants to help Adair escape and wants to marry Adair but he cannot as he gets transferred to a fighting unit. He helps Adair escape and the two find themselves taking separate journeys as Neumann must go through the hardships of war and Adair must go through the hardships of traveling home. The book is a good historical insight and should be intended for historically profound students/scholars. They book in general was a huge pleasure to me as it provided insight on actual historical events that happened during the civil war. People who pick up this book will be in a ride for exceptional character development and a new experience never before seen in civil war accounts. What I disliked about the book specifically was the pacing as you will find zipping through chapters confused due to the inconsistency. The author did a good job of providing a new view point on the civil war. Most civil war pieces are told from the union or from the confederate sides but this give an input from the neutrals that are often miscounted for. She also provides quotations of events that are occurring right before each chapter which helps the reader make connections. Besides the pacing, the author could have done a better job with her structure and organization. Also the book lacked quotation marks with made it difficult to differentiate narrations from conversation. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an entertaining historically fiction account of the civil war. Justin Byrd
BradenRichardson More than 1 year ago
Enemy Women is a Historical Fiction Novel written by Paulette Jiles.  The book is based in the middle of the civil war in Missouri where some of the bloodiest fighting occurred. This story transends many genres such as love, revenge, and courage. The main characters are Adair Colley: a girl from backwoods Missouri that is forced to leave her home and go on a terrible oddessy that includes a stint in jail, wondering across the badlands of Missouri, and encounters with hostile Union Soldiers and Major Will Neumann: a by the book Union Officer whose sense of honor gets him tossed from the comfy desk job at the jail into the chaos that is battle during the Civil War. The story displays graphic violence and other breif moments of adult content, so it is intended for a mature audience.  I enjoyed reading this book because the author did a good job of keeping the plot suspensful even though it was not totally centered around the battles of the Civil War.  The sense of not knowing what Adair or Major Neumann were  going to do next always kept me on the edge of my seat and never wanting to put the book down. The Book also include a huge amount of Archaic language which makes the reader feel like they are back in the 1860's when the events of this book were taking place. On the other hand there were a few things that I disliked such as the fact that the authoer did not use quotations and gave Adair's Journey much more attention than that of Major Neumann. In my oppinion the author did an amazing job of blending a love story with a historically acurate action story. The only way it could be improved would be to add an ending where Adair and and the Major get to be reunited. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to learn about the history of the Civil War or the history of Womens  Rights. -Braden Richardson 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles is a historical fiction book set in Missouri during the Civil War.  It has a serious tone. The majority of the book is written from the perspective of Adair Colley, an eighteen year old girl who was falsely accused of spying against the Union. Some parts of the book are written from the perspective of Major Neumann, who was assigned Adair’s case while she was in prison. The two quickly fell in love. The mood of the book is fairly dark; the book is set during the bloodiest war in American history. The intended audience is people who are interested in the Civil War but do not want all of the dry details. The book was very good because it is an interesting story about normal people during the American Civil War. I liked excerpts from historical documents at the beginning of each chapter, as well as the details that showed what the time period was like. I disliked how some parts were vague, and the author did not use quotation marks. Overall, the author did a very good job. If I could change anything, I would add quotation marks, but that was easy to get used to. - Kevin Sanders 6th
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Enemy Women”, written by Paulette Jiles, is an excellent historical fiction novel portraying events during the Civil War. Since the novel is a depiction of the Civil War, the tone of the book is formal and mostly serious considering the war environment. The third person point of view is taken from the two main characters, Adair Colley and Major Neumann. The main character, Adair Colley is an eighteen year old girl whose life changes when she loses her family and home. Major Neumann, the second main character, is a Union soldier that meets Adair while she is in prison and Major falls in love with her. The mood throughout the book is depressing and sad because it involves the acts of war and violence, however, the main characters brightens the mood by adding a hint of romance to the novel. This book is great for teens who enjoy the era of the Civil War or is a history fanatic. If anyone wants to know more about the Civil War times then this would be a great read for them as well. In general, I really enjoy this book because it is a great story of the bravery of a young girl while also portraying the everyday lives around the Civil War. I was disappointed that the author did not include quotation marks because sometimes it was confusing on who was talking at the time. Overall, the author does a great job on this novel because she exposes the readers to life during the Civil War era through an awesome story line and I recommend this book.  -Abri' McDaniel
JessicaRatzin More than 1 year ago
“Enemy Women” is a historical fiction novel written by Paulette Jiles. The tone of this book throughout is very serious and blunt, but there are certain scenes in which it becomes romantic. The main characters are Adair Colley and her family, Major William Neumann, and Adair's horse, Whiskey. Many minor characters pop up here and there throughout the book. The intended audience of “Enemy Women” would consist of anyone who wants to read an exceptional book depicting the Civil War while also wanting to enjoy a splash of romance. I generally enjoyed this book because it gave great historical facts about the Civil War without being boring and the excerpts at the beginning of each chapter really tied everything together between the fiction and the non- fiction. It provided Adair's personal struggles along with the struggles of living during the Civil War and what everyday people faced. I specifically did not like the fact that there were no quotes throughout the book because it was hard to distinguish the difference between dialogue and the text. Also, I did not like some of the word choice. It was hard to understand at times but considering the time period for the book, it was understandable. Besides not having quotes, Paulette Jiles did a magnificent job describing life during the Civil War era and blending the facts with the fictional lives of the characters. The book was written tremendously well and done in a relatable fashion, so it was easy to put youself in the story and absorb the facts that Paulette Jiles incorporated into the book. The book could be improved by adding quotes around the dialogue; it would help to distinguish the difference between dialogue and text and make it easier for the reader to catch on to conversations. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enemy Women is a novel that has a mix of historical and fictional fact. The historical events, such as the battle at Mobile, give’s the book fictional plot a tone like no other. The narrator does a great job of telling Adair’s journey throughout the novel. The tone is extremely emotional. This is due to the trials and tribulations that the main character, Adair Colley, must endure throughout the entire length of the novel. Adair has had her life ripped apart by the Union Militia and intends on piecing her family back together. However, after being imprisoned on claims that she was aiding the enemy by the Upshaw family, Adair meets a gentleman named Major Neumann that will have a great emotional impact on Adair. In prison, the characters of Rhoda Lee and Cloris are introduced. Rhoda Lee becomes in the family way and runs off with her lawyer. Cloris is like the prison bully and immediately attacks Adair. While all of this is happening in prison, Adair has fallen hopelessly in love. Major will eventually aid her in her escape in hopes that they will soon see each other again. This book is intended for a mature audience due to some explicit language. What I loved most about this book was the main character, Adair. She is extremely headstrong and prideful and will do anything to have her family back. However, I disliked the ending because of how undetailed it was. I would have liked for a little bit more and if you’ve read the book you know exactly what I am talking about. The author did a great job with the primary sources at the beginning of each chapter. It gives the reader a better understanding of what is to come throughout the chapter. Enemy Women is a great book and the only thing I would want to change is the brief ending, but that’s about it. I could read this book over and over again and not get tired of it.