Girl Waits With Gun

Girl Waits With Gun

Book - 2015
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From the New York Times best-selling author of The Drunken Botanist comes an enthralling novel based on the forgotten true story of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

Constance Kopp doesn't quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding fifteen years ago. One day a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family -- and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared. "A smart, romping adventure, featuring some of the most memorable and powerful female characters I've seen in print for a long time. I loved every page as I followed the Kopp sisters through a too-good-to-be-true (but mostly true!) tale of violence, courage, stubbornness, and resourcefulness." -- Elizabeth Gilbert
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.
ISBN: 9780544409910
Characteristics: 408 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Sisters Constance, Norma and Fleurette Kopp encounter Henry Kaufman, boorish owner of a silk-dyeing factory, in a most unexpected and unpleasant way: his car runs into their horse buggy. In the process of seeking reimbursement for damages, they receive threatening letters and are harassed by him ... Read More »

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Mar 27, 2020

The reclusive Kopp sisters have their buggy damaged by a reckless group of men in a motor car. Constance, the oldest sister, attempts to receive payment for the damages. It would have all ended there if Henry Kaufman, the wealthy owner and driver of the car, had paid up. Instead, he went on a weird campaign of intimidation, and the sisters turn to the law for assistance. In the year that follows, their home is damaged, the youngest sister is threatened with white slavery, they all learn how to shoot a gun, and Constance conducts a working partnership with the sheriff.

The sisters are running out of money and are fending off their brother's well-meaning insistence that they move in with his family. Their life is odd and reclusive, due to their mother's preferences. Many things change for them: Constance, Norma, Fleurette, Dolley the horse, and the pigeons. At the same time, the status of women is changing in the U.S. And Constance needs a job.

This is a quirky book, and is worth the time to read it.

Oct 29, 2019

I loved the Kopp sisters and the true story aspect. The trial part seemed tacked on, the ending somewhat contrived. Twists and turns made the first half of the book more interesting. The cat  hating comments were awkward, seemed out of place, and made me mad. Otherwise, a fun read. Great humor and the setting had great historical details.

Oct 04, 2019

A car slams into the wagon the Kopp sisters are riding in and their lives are changed forever in the aftermath. The facts that Amy Stewart used to build a framework for this novel are substantial. Newspaper accounts and quotes from the threatening letters sent into the Kopp home via brick and USPS give a telling account of this time period. Henry Kaufman truly was a villain and deserved to be convicted. Sheriff Heath was a gentleman and a lawman committed to justice. In God's providence, an unfortunate accident leads to a much-needed vocation for Constance Kopp. Readers who enjoy the Kopp Sisters might also want to check out the Gaslight Mystery series by Victoria Thompson featuring a late 19th century midwife.

Sep 09, 2019

Found this gem on the suggested reading shelves - merci, library staff. Superbly written with very human characters; the story is intriguing , yet amusing, and engaging. Convinced it was a very special book, I passed it on, which almost immediately got someone onto the whole series!

ArapahoeFelicia Feb 13, 2019

Based on the one of the first female sheriffs, this story highlights a no nonsense woman and her tough sisters who won't let the bad guys win!

Nov 09, 2018

Wonderful, quick read with intriguing characters, strong women, interesting plot-captures the period-a truly fun read-looking forward to reading the other 3 in the series

Oct 04, 2017

What a fun read!
Part fiction, part history, part suspense, part comedy. This book has it all.
Can't wait to read the sequel.

Jul 31, 2017

It's easy to say that I enjoyed this book, and I appreciated the comfortable tone and mood of the story in general.

Good things:
1) I liked the humor. There are many smile-worthy moments, and it helps lighten up the story.

2) The easy-to-read tone. The tone is very laid back and intriguing.

3) The characters and the relationships between them. This was both a bad and a good thing. I was really into Kopps' sisterly connections, but it certainly overshadowed the mystery aspect of Girl Waits with Gun. The emotional parts definitely got to me.

4) Constance can be pretty tough at times.

5) I liked the link between the title and the story.

Bad things:
1) Not enough mystery, in my opinion.

2) I wasn't that interested near the ending, and the story felt like it was dragging on.

3) The antagonist didn't appear in the story enough. There were too little appearances made by the bad guy that I couldn't really hate him or even know him. A lot of the things he did seemed to make no sense whatsoever, and I wasn't exactly convinced that he performed all of those crimes for no reason. Some parts were predictable and didn't make much sense.

Anyway, I liked the book, and it was good. It's an enjoyable read and written for a great audience.

CRRL_MegRaymond Jul 27, 2017

A (literal) run-in with a wealthy factory owner sets the Kopp sisters on a path that will include threats, bricks, and even guns after the driver refuses to pay for damages.

FindingJane Jul 07, 2017

This fictionalized account of a true historical figure rings with verve, danger, solid characterization. The author has fleshed out and teased forth this story and padded it with well-imagined dialogue. It is also a fine microscope on early 20th-century living in America. This is a novel of immigrants, vagrants, criminals, workers, fallen women, lost children, city life and farm existence.

The sisters Kopp are formidable women, even the seemingly flighty Fleurette. When they band together, you see the fierce love that lies between them as well as the arguments that manage to reveal the close ties binding them. When they get embroiled with the vicious and amoral Henry Kaufmann, their bonds are tested but ultimately hold firm.

Henry is that kind of villain you truly despise. Having attempted to kill his own brother when he was only five, he’s only worsened with time and age. He’s grown more cunning but holds petty grudges and cannot bear slights. He keeps the worse kind of company and has let the mechanisms of his father’s business slide because he prefers foolish and hair-brained schemes to actual industry. There’s nothing appealing about him and you yearn for him to meet his just desserts. Because this basic indecency makes him a one-dimensional character, the author wisely spends little time on him and his cronies, choosing instead to show us the mundane workings of the Kopp sisters.

In a time when single women must marry, catch a husband or remain dependent on male relatives, Constance Kopp chooses differently. She mightily resists her brother’s constant urgings for her to live in his household, where she and her sisters would wind up becoming nothing more than shriveled aunts performing minor household chores and becoming little more than beggars at the table. Yet Constance yearns for more than the hardscrabble existence of the dwindling farm on which she and her sisters reside.

Ms. Stewart takes us deep into Constance’s thoughts so that we understand the powerful drives she has to be independent, hard working and yet longing for the comfort of big-city life. The gap between her wishes and her life holds no problem for Constance. This novel is a thrilling detective story and a feminist tract set before women received the vote. Constance Kopp is a female protagonist of unusual strength, depth and (dare I say it?) height and you cheer for her all the way.

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Jul 31, 2017

jmli thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary
Jul 31, 2017

After their buggy collides with a silk man's automobile, the Kopp sisters face threats and harassment from the party at fault.


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Jul 31, 2017

Violence: Shooting and threats against the Kopp sisters


Add a Quote
Jul 31, 2017

"'My sisters and I have no one but each other,' I said at last, 'and if anyone should take up a handgun in their defense, I will be the one to do it.'"

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