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Brave Enemies by Robert Morgan
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Brave Enemies

by Robert Morgan

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I did not like this book. I felt a disconnect from all the characters, so I rarely understood why they did certain things. Most importantly, I did not understand why Josie loved John and vice versa. Their relationship seemed to be dropped out of the sky. I'm sure the author felt like he was laying the groundwork for their relationship, but I never saw it as anything more than platonic until it was consummated. The book is inundated with Bible verses, which makes sense on one level as John is a preacher, but I rarely felt that they added to the story, and thus it just seemed distracting. I also found it a bit absurd that no one ever figured out that Josie was really a girl unless they actually touched her breasts. I mean, I don't recall her binding her breasts in any way, and she's pretending to be a boy in his late teens who sings soprano (not even alto!). I don't know a lot about music, so maybe this isn't as uncommon as I think it is, but it all seemed a bit hard to swallow.

However, the part I found most objectionable was its (in my opinion) cavalier treatment of rape. I don't think there was a single man who was alone with Josie and knew she was girl that did not try to have sex with her, regardless of whether she gave consent. John never seems to notice or care about Josie's traumatic past - he's too busy yelling at her for deceiving him as to her sex. The overall feeling I got was that if a man is alone with a woman, it doesn't matter if she gives consent, or if he's married to someone else, he will be unable to stop himself from trying to have sex with her. That is, needless to say, ridiculous. I'm glad that other people seem to have enjoyed this book, but I found it absurd. ( )
  legxleg | Feb 17, 2008 |
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I was the only one nearby who wasn’t running around.
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In the 1780s, unrest ruled the Carolinas. Settlers were arriving to clear forest glades and ridges as the Cherokees withdrew; British forces were pillaging as the patriots mustered for battle. Robert Morgan's stunning new novel tells a story of two young people caught in the chaos and war raging in the wilderness. Only sixteen years old, Josie Summers murders her abusive stepfather and, wearing his clothes to disguise herself as a man, flees the family farm. Almost immediately lost in the snowy woods, she accepts a young Methodist preacher's invitation to assist in his itinerant ministry. When Joseph's true identity is revealed, the Reverend John Trethman is racked with guilt at having shared his home with a young woman and then falling in love with her. His solution is to marry Josie, performing as both minister and bridegroom. Not long after their wedding, John is kidnapped by British soldiers and forced to minister to their wounded and bury their dead. Josie again disguises herself as a man and joins the North Carolina militia to avoid being taken for a spy. On January 17, 1781, in a wooded pasture called the Cowpens, Josie is gravely wounded in the patriots' victorious battle and despairs of ever seeing John again. Robert Morgan's description of the battle of Cowpens is as vivid and intense as any in Revolutionary War literature. Brave Enemies is a story of romance and enduring love, of the struggle to build a homeland as one era is dying and another age of freedom and discovery is being born.… (more)

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