Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Girl Waits with Gun
It didn’t help that Norma had all the girlish charm of a boulder.

Girl Waits With Gun has one of the most fascinating premises that I have come across. A woman made a Sheriff (US's first) after she stands up to some goons? Give me more! I'll happily drink up to that!

Constance Kopp and her sisters - Norma and Fleurette - were riding into town on their buggy (this is 1914) when an automobile driven by Henry Kauffman comes smashing into them. The rogue Kauffman denies any wrongdoing and gets his muscled henchmen to intimidate the women. Towering over most men in her town, Constance barely registered any fear and so sent letters to Kaufmann asking him to pay. Kauffman however knew where the women were staying and his threats reached their home as well. This drives Constance to complain to the Sheriff, who resourceful as he is, struggles with Kauffman quite a bit.

I don't know if that sounds like an enticing enough summary to you, but if it does not, please ignore most of it and go read the book anyway! Right from the beginning of this book, I was hooked. The three sisters - even pessimistic Norma - felt very realistic and I couldn't help but cheer them along the way.

Constance Kopp was quite a feminist especially by 1914 standards. She believed women can do anything they set their minds to. As spinsters, both Constance and Norma would have easily kicked up a scandal in any town but they didn't seem to care. Sheriff Heath was a wonderful character and a feminist too (almost but certainly exceeding 1914 standards), especially when he alone refuses to appear condescending or paternal to the sisters because they are women and don't have a man to protect them.

Much of this story is rooted in facts. The Kopp sisters were indeed involved in an accident while riding on their buggy and Henry Kauffman did indeed refuse to pay for the damages. Sheriff Heath did spend a considerable amount of time trying to establish grounds to arrest Kauffman. But there are sundry other minor characters who add plenty of flair to the novel but didn't exist in reality. Amy Stewart also includes several genuine letters and published news articles that add to the atmosphere of the book.

Honestly, my only complaint was I wish I knew Constance Kopp. To steadfastly refuse to ask a man to protect her and to stand up against dangerous men, in an age when women were considered second class citizens definitely required lots of guts. Although both Norma and Fleurette brought their own unique personalities to the book, it was Constance who won my heart - this from someone who doesn't easily identify with her bookish characters even when she appreciates them.


I received this egalley from the publisher for free for review.

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