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This is an extraordinary novel by any standards. It's got a touching love story set in an appalling civil war that brutalises pretty much everyone involved. Some of it is very hard to read, whether the narrative of Adair and her Major, or the interspersed documentary records of actual testimonies. Sometimes it's very funny, others frightening and shocking. What makes it unusual is its focus on women, children and "incidental" people and animals. I'm a huge reader; I really recommend this book to men and women alike. Chick lit it most definitely isn't.
I found the writing first class and the narrative absorbing. I was fascinated by Jiles' depiction of Adair Colley and her grit, bravery and endurance. The atmosphere was very effectively evoked. Good, exciting stuff and well-researched! I found the Civil War period extremely engrossing.
Der Roman spielt in den Südstaaten während des amerikanischen Bürgerkriegs. Frauen verlieren ihre Männer und oft genug auch ihr Heim. Grotesk werden sie pauschal verdächtigt, sie könnten den Feind durch Unterstützung und Spionage unterstützen: „Enemy Women“. Manche werden denunziert und verhaftet, viele sind obdachlos. Flüchtlingsströme entstehen. Parallelen zur Gegenwart werden deutlich, ohne dass man mit der Nase draufgestoßen wird. Neben der weiblichen Hauptperson tauchen immer wieder andere Frauengestalten auf, deren Schicksale und was der Krieg aus ihnen gemacht hat (im Guten wie im Schlechten) schlaglichtartig beschrieben werden. Keine Romanze! Der Stil der Autorin ist kraftvoll und berührend. Zugleich ist alles sehr gut recherchiert. Sogar ein Quellenverzeichnis ist vorhanden. Den einzelnen Kapiteln sind Zitate aus Quellen vorangestellt, die ein wenig wie ein griechischer Chor wirken. Habe dies und andere Bücher von Paulette Jiles im englischen Original gelesen. Verstehe gar nicht, warum man noch keine deutschen Übersetzungen findet, anscheinend noch nicht mal von „News of the World“, kürzlich ja mit Tom Hanks verfilmt. Paulette Jiles: unbedingte Empfehlung!
Well written and researched historical novel about the Civil War which took place in the state of Missouri. Most Civil War history that I have read takes place in the Southern states in the East. Missouri was considered Union, but actually northern Missouri was Union and southern Missouri fought with the Confederacy. Although slavery was allowed, very few in Missouri actually had slaves. However, like all confederate states, southern Missouri suffered greatly under the Union Militia and Reeves (CSA) who were both more interested in murder, plunder and burning down homes. If you like Civil War history you will enjoy this book.
I don't generally read historical fiction - but this book. Sigh. The subject pulled me in, and the character held me. The protagonist is my favorite type of character. Resourceful, upbeat, and sassy. Can't say enough good things about this book! Going to get more of her books.
This was SUCH a good read! The story was well plotted and written and the characters well drawn. Each chapter began with historical quotes collected by, well, historians 🙂 from people who were eye witnesses to the Civil War, or by those who shared memories handed down from their ancestors, with occasional news articles about the war as it happened. In addition to all that goodness, the author’s research was obviously extensive and meticulous. Her depiction of battle scenes put you there, hearing cannon boom, feeling the ground shake, and smelling the smoke. Her research into medical practices at the time, especially by “steam doctors,” was fascinating. Annnnnd, it was a love story!
I am a student of the Civil War and thoroughly enjoyed this journey through war-torn Missouri. All the coverage of the Civil War goes to the great campaigns and cataclysmic battles, but the other side of the story is communities destroyed by old animosities and national politics. Missouri never technically left the Union but tens of thousands of her citizens sided with Secession and fought the war against other Missourians. Of particular savagery was the militias, loosely-organized bands with no strategic purpose than to rob and kill whomever they saw as the enemy.
Adair Colley's father is "arrested" for being "disloyal" and she goes after him. This lands her in a Union prison and in front of an officer who becomes more than her interrogator. She escapes and becomes Odysseus finding her way home. I love the historical extracts that give the reader first-hand accounts of the time.
Paulette Giles is a poet and it shows in her language describing everything from a prison to a parlor to a swamp. She knows horses too. If you want to know what happens to a society divided by politics that resorts to war, study Missouri in the 1860s. This is a good way to spend time if you are required to stay home.