Review: The Rebel Wife
After the Civil War left her family penniless, Augustus (Gus) was forced to marry a wealthy man who made his money in a less than desirable fashion. When her husband dies from a blood fever ten years later she comes to realize that her reputation has suffered because of him. She doesn’t know where her husband’s money is so she finds herself penniless all over again. Desperate, Gus turns to Simon, a former slave and old family servant, to help her find the stash of money her husband hid away. It seems that others are after the money as well, so Gus and Simon need to figure things out fast.
I generally don’t read much historical fiction, but I enjoyed The Rebel Wife by Taylor Polites. Set in post Civil War Alabama, the book is very well researched and rich with atmosphere. Told from Gus’s point of view, the book shows how powerless and repressed women and blacks were at the time.
I really liked the character of Gus. She started out as a typical woman of the time period, with no control over her own life, but when she realized that she had no one to rely on, she took action in an exciting climax to the book. She became determined and remained loyal to those who helped her. Reading about her life made me very glad I didn’t live at that time.
I have a feeling that historical fiction lovers will enjoy The Rebel Wife even more than I did. I think the one thing that kept me from loving it is the fact that it’s told in the present tense – for some reason that bothered me. With the meticulous research and attention to detail he put into this book, I feel sure Polites has a big future ahead of him.