Friday, April 15, 2011

ENEMY WOMEN by Paulette Jiles: Review

This was the first book written about the Civil War period that I have read in a couple of years. I flew through the book,  because it was exciting and interesting, only to be disappointed for days by the way it ended, or as I thought, didn't end!

Adair Colley is a young woman living in the near Ozark Mountains of Missouri. Her family is left alone until near the end of the Civil War, because her father decides to stay neutral. Things change when the Union Militia comes to their house and takes her father, and also burns down their house. Adair and her two sisters head out to find out where their father was taken and why. Their brother, who has a crippled arm, joins the Confederate Militia in retaliation. Once Adair and her two sisters arrive at their destination, and go in to ask questions regarding their father, Adair ends up being arrested as a Confederate spy. She had rubbed a family the wrong way on their journey to find her father, and they had also watched her talking to her brother, who was in a confederate like uniform (butternut homespun by that time!) Anyways, this family told the Union officials that she was a spy, and they arrested her and took her to prison in St. Louis. During her time in prison she meets a Union Major, William Neuman. He hates his job, which is to interrogate women to find out if they are spies, and has requested a reassignation to a different unit. Before his change of orders goes through, he tries to convince Adair to admit to some form of spying, so that he can get things over with and set her free. She ends up writing stories about her family and town rather than admitting to any form of spying. He begins to fall in love with her, because of her strong personality and beautiful looks, and she reciprocates his feelings. About the time they realize their mutual feelings for each other, his orders for a change of duty go through, and he is to head South for more fighting. He promises to find her after the war, gives her money, and tells her how to escape. During all of her time in prison, Adair has developed consumption, so her health is not great, but she decides that it's time to make her escape and she does so. She travels South to her home, hoping that after the war her family will all end up back there. Major Neuman ends up in a battle in the South where he is wounded, and is supposed to have his arm amputated, but chooses not to, and instead makes his way to Adair's family home. After a long and hard journey for Adair, she makes her way home, only to find that her home and land has been sold and that her family is not there. She ends up hanging around her old home for awhile, trying to figure out her next move, and all of a sudden she sees Major Neuman nearing the house calling for her. She waits a minute and then gets up to walk toward him. Then it ENDS!

I loved the book, until the end. When the book ended I wanted to throw it against a wall. I was so angry at the NON ending of the book! I'm horrible. I sped through the book, barely putting it down because I wanted so badly for Adair and William to be reunited at the end and for their to be some type of closure. Well, Adair dying of consumption and William most likely dying of a gangrenous arm, was NOT the ending I wanted! I suppose I should be happy that they were reunited at all, even if they were both headed towards death. But, the romantic in me wanted to know what was going to happen with them! Were they going to get married? Were they going to move to Texas and make a home like they planned? Or, were they going to die in each other's arms? I just hate when novels end like that. I want a novel to END, not just kinda end. I hate when I'm really into a novel, and really become attached to the characters, only to be left hanging by not knowing what happened! Even if Jiles had Adair and William embrace at the end, or speak to each other at the end I would have been happy.

It WAS a great book, don't get me wrong. I really had trouble putting it down. I just felt so let down and lost by the way it ended. I have this problem with a lot of books though. When it ends, and I've become attached to the characters, I really want to know how their future turns out. Maybe that's why I stick to historical fiction. In stories about Kings and Queen's, I know how the story ends, so I'm not disappointed when my favorite character gets beheaded or something?

I definitely do recommend the book, because the whole way to the end was full of excitement and adventure. I read it every chance I had, and learned a lot about what was going on in South East Missouri during the Civil War. It also reacquainted me with Civil War fiction, so I can definitely see myself reading more in the near future.

(Excuse any misspellings or typos, I wrote this while substituting! I'll proofread it later!)

No comments:

Post a Comment