As the War for Independence wore on into the 1780’s, the Carolina upcountry was an extremely dangerous place to be. Settlers, who had labored to clear the land after the Cherokees withdrew, found themselves being mustered for battle as British forces infiltrated the forests and pillaged their hard-won farms. Robert Morgan’s stunning new novel tells a story of two young people caught in the chaos and war raging in that wilderness.
Only sixteen years old, Josie Summers dresses herself in her murdered stepfather’s cloths to disguise herself as a man and runs away from her family farm. She is almost immediately lost in the impenetrable snowy woods and thus eagerly accepts a young Methodist preacher’s invitation to assist in his itinerant ministry. When “Joseph’s” true identity is revealed, the very righteous Reverend John Trethman is racked with guilt at having shared his home with a young woman and, even worse, having fallen in love with her. His solution is to “marry” Josie, performing as both minister and bridegroom.
When John is kidnapped by British soldiers and forced to minister to their wounded and bury their dead, Josie is on her own once more. This time, again disguised as a man, she joins the North Carolina militia. On January 17, 1781, in a wooded pasture, pregnant Josie is trapped in the battle known as Cowpens---the turning point of the Revolution----and despairs of ever seeing John again.
Brave Enemies is a story of enduring love and of the struggle to build a homeland as one era is dying and a new age freedom and discovery is being born.