Taylor Polites

Taylor Polites received an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University, where he was awarded the Norris Church Mailer Scholarship for this novel. He teaches in the Wilkes University Creative Writing MFA program, at Roger Williams University and the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island with his small Chihuahua Clovis. He is at work on his next novel. Visit his website here.


THE REBEL WIFE: A Novel (2012)

This “gloriously gothic”* novel about a young widow trying to survive in the violent world of Reconstruction Alabama is “history with a heartbeat, lovingly described and yet a true page turner” (Providence Journal).

Brimming with atmosphere and edgy suspense, The Rebel Wife presents a young widow trying to survive in the violent world of Reconstruction Alabama, where the old gentility masks continuing violence fueled by hatred, treachery, and still powerful secrets. 

Augusta Branson was born into antebellum Southern nobility during a time of wealth and prosperity, but now she is left standing in the ashes of a broken civilization. When her scalawag husband dies suddenly of a mysterious illness, she must fend for herself and her young son. Slowly she begins to wake to the reality of her new life: her social standing is stained by her marriage; she is alone and unprotected in a community that is being destroyed by racial prejudice and violence; the fortune she thought she would inherit does not exist; and the deadly fever that killed her husband is spreading fast. 

Augusta needs someone to trust if she and her son are to escape. As she summons the courage to cross the boundaries of hate, The Rebel Wife presents an unforgettable heroine for our time.

“This engrossing novel about a resilient heroine in the post-Civil War South has all the drama of the era and none of the clichés.”O, The Oprah Magazine

“Passionate and brave. It removes the skin of an era…  A fascinating, genre-subverting historical novel.”—Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin

“A richly detailed portrait of Reconstruction-era Alabama. . . . Nimble, engrossing . . . builds to a vivid climax.”Publishers Weekly

“The suspense is exquisitely honed . . . pulled back just in time to make for a wonderfully chilling—yet over-heated—read.”Booklist

Rights: Simon & Schuster, North America

All other rights: Union Literary