Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart

I usually avoid novels about historical figures, because I'm constantly wondering how much of the story is real and how much is invented. But as far as I can discover, there is very little known about Constance Kopp, the heroine of Amy Stewart's novel Girl Waits With Gun, so the author was able to let her imagination run wild—something she does with wit, style, and charm.

Girl Waits with Gun is set in 1914 New Jersey, where sisters Constance, Norma, and Fleurette Kopp are living in isolated, semi-genteel poverty on their family farm. When a wealthy factory owner crashes into their buggy, Constance, the eldest, requests $50 as recompense. Her seemingly reasonable demand infuriates the man, who responds with rapidly escalating threats and intimidation. The Kopp sisters turn to the local sheriff for help, but soon discover that they will need to play an active role in their own defense.

Girl Waits With Gun is packaged like a mystery, although most of it feels like a historical slice of life story. The three Kopp women are such appealing, distinct characters that any one of them could have served as the novel's heroine, and Stewart does a superb job of depicting the rapidly changing world of early 20th century New Jersey. This is a series sure to appeal to fans of Laurie R. King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes stories or Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen mysteries: anyone looking for a thoughtful, unconventional, female-centric take on historical fiction.
Posted by: Julianka


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