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Girl Waits with Gun

by Amy Stewart

Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart X
Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2015, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2016, 448 pages

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Power Reviewer
Cloggie Downunder

Excellent historical crime fiction.
Girl Waits With Gun is the first book in the Kopp Sisters series by NYT best-selling American author, Amy Stewart. When, on a fine July day in 1914, silk factory heir Henry Kaufman recklessly drives his motorcar into the buggy conveying Constance Kopp and her sisters to town, the ladies suffer minor injuries but the buggy, their only means of transport, is wrecked. Henry and his thuggish friends make to drive off, but Constance refuses to be intimidated, vociferously insisting that he accept responsibility for the damage, which astonishes onlookers and annoys Henry.

By November, the Kopp sisters have been the target of verbal abuse, written “Black Hand” threats, damage to their home and attempted arson, and Constance’s sister Norma is convinced that withdrawal would have been a better course of action. Of course, sixteen-year-old Fleurette, so far protected from the world, just finds it all terribly exciting.

It’s not just the demands for reparation that have attracted the ire of young Kaufman: Constance also seems to have involved herself in a possible kidnapping case in which Kaufman is implicated. And even with Sheriff Robert Heath allocating deputies to protect the sisters, they seem to be in dire straits when the latest threat arrives.

Readers new to the Kopp Sisters series may be surprised learn from Stewart’s Historical Notes and Sources that Constance Kopp and her sisters were real people, much as described, as are quite a few of the other characters. Many of the events that form the plot also occurred, if not always when stated. Stewart takes the known historical facts and fleshes them out into a marvellous tale.

What won’t amaze is the utter dependence and powerlessness of women at this time in history. Stewart effortlessly portrays the characteristics of everyday life of the early twentieth century and clearly demonstrates how different life was over a hundred years ago. Miss Kopp, however, is clever, resourceful and persistent, although not even these qualities can protect her from some adverse events. Her fierce protectiveness of her sisters adds to her appeal.

The print column headlines to which the sisters continuously draw each other’s attention, or occasionally invent to suit their particular situation, are often a source of humour. There is some first-rate detective work done, and the last line will have readers eager for the next instalment, Lady Cop Makes Trouble. Excellent historical crime fiction.
Sylvia

Girl Waits with Gun is Riveting
I could not put this down. The heroine's war against a rich young man who thought he was entitled to ride roughshod over the rights of women had a true flavor of being from another era.
Nae Priest

Rompin' Stompin' Read of a Book!
I loved, loved, loved this book, but I suppose that is pretty obvious by the very short time it took me to gobble this one up. Two days ... shoot I am not sure I ever got through a Longmire novel as quickly as I read this one and that is a really big compliment indeed! Starting in the summer of 1914 this fictionalized account about Constance Kopp, one of the very first female deputy sheriffs, is a rompin' stompin' riot of a read from the very beginning to the end! Packed with rotten bad guys who like to toss bricks into windows and shoot guns at houses, arsonists, baby kidnappers and 2 sisters who were somewhat reluctantly dragged along with her as Constance embarks on the mission of receiving repair of and payment for a wagon she was riding in that was broadsided by car ... a car loaded with the aforementioned bad guys no less! By the end of this 2-day readathon I was actively casting the movie for this one in my mind because if it does not get picked up for that somebody is missing a sure thing.
CarolK

Give a Girl a Revolver
Girl Waits With Gun is a delightful romp. Though the plot is quite sinister, it is done in a lighthearted way. It seems suitable for those of you who do not care for graphic violence. The sisters, Constance, Norma and Fleurette Kopp are vividly drawn, each exhibiting their own quirky personalities. On an outing one-summer day in 1914, a motorcar driven by a wealthy factory owner, Henry Kaufman, broadsides their carriage. Though not seriously injured, the carriage needs extensive repair. Mr. Kaufman refuses to pay. He becomes the major suspect in the threatening and harassment of the Kopps and possibly others who work for him. Based on a true event, Stewart blends fiction and fact providing a fine historical tale of the country’s first female deputy sheriff. Stewart’s writing easily places you on the streets of the New York City borough of Brooklyn and the towns of Patterson and Hackensack, New Jersey with her descriptive narrative of time (early 1900’s) while also providing a realistic picture of the Kopps home and life. Stewart leaves us suspecting there may be another case in Constance Kopp’s future.
Power Reviewer
Claire M. (New York, NY)

Girl Waits with Gun
This delightful adventure reminds me of Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames; adventure series for girls back in the 50's. This is an adult version but one of historical fiction. Our chief heroine, Constance Kopp is taller, braver, and quite formidable for a woman in 1914. She and her sisters are traveling to town in their horse drawn buggy when they are hit by the car of an industrial mogul which begins a tale of kidnapping, guns, and 3 sisters who confront the issues of the day in definitely feminist ways.
Barbara (Cherry Hill, N.J.)

Girl Waits
This book grabbed me from the start even though I put the book aside and restarted several times, I knew I wanted to wait until I had time to savor. I loved the story. I love the cover, and want to frame it. You can judge this book by the cover. Not only did the cover draw me in, but so did the early part of book.

The author did a wonderful job of creating three well developed personalities and back stories for the three Kopp sisters-Constance, Norma and Fleurette.
The book is narrated by Constance with humor and wonderful descriptions. There are some shocking revelations that are rolled out so subtly that you have to keep reading.

A well-researched work of historical fiction that also exposes the beginnings of the long road ahead for women with desires to remain independent.

One of my favorite paragraphs describing the collision of a changing world..."Everyone knew that the horse was never to blame in these collisions. A horse could watch where it was going, but an automobile with an inattentive driver could not."

Recommended for historical fiction readers, people from NJ, pre-WWI, sister stories and book clubs.

I hope a movie or series is made from book's characters. This book is a 2015 favorite!
Ann W. (Cashiers, NC)

Girl Waits With Gun
What a wonderful read. I so enjoyed meeting the Kopp sisters, especially Constance! What an enviable character and actual person of history! I marveled at her intelligence, her resilience, and her incredible bravery. In 1914 and 1915 a woman getting a gun to guard her home and family from real and frightening danger, and three sisters coping with brutal cold, food shortage and being shot at seems hard to believe. Stalwart and resourceful Constance, Norma and her pigeons, and Fleurette, with her delightful 14-year old outlook at life, provide an entertaining and unusual story. I loved reading about these three historical women, one of whom became one of our nation's first deputy sheriffs.
Mary P. (Bellingham, WA)

Girl Waits with Gun
This historical novel, set in New Jersey in 1914, about one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs is great fun. The Kopp sisters, orphans, hold onto their farm, despite the attempts to persuade them that they need a man around the house. A gangster dares to challenge their claim for payment of repair debts for their buggy, but they are persistent, and this persistence gets them into trouble, conquered by bravery, smarts, and stubbornness. I.d call this a yarn, a long true, with embellishment, story, drawn from newspaper accounts. The writing is bright and crisp, conversational. I am looking for a sequel. A woman like Constance will surely have more adventures as a deputy sheriff.

Beyond the Book:
  The Real-Life Kopp Sisters

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