Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Formats: Ebook, Hardcover
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
From the New York Times best-selling author of The Drunken Botanist comes an enthralling debut 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.
What Did I Think About the Story?
The Kopp sisters are unlike any in fiction I have come across before! Each has her own quirks but all three - stubbornly willful Constance, bullish Norma and dramatic Fleurette - are intelligent, outspoken and incredibly resourceful, making for quite the combination. The very fact that the three live alone together happily on a farm out in the country is remarkable given the time in which they live. None of the men who come into contact with them knows quite what to do or what to expect from them, least of all the brutish Mr. Kaufman who expects them to roll over and give up after he causes the buggy accident that changes all their lives forever.
I think my favorite aspect of the novel, beyond my admiration for what Constance accomplishes by refusing to let the wrongs done to her and others go unchecked, is the introduction of what I think of as more modern law enforcement tactics in the beginning of the 20th Century. Not only does Constance do her own detective work, something not normally done, we get to see the meticulous collection of both forensic and photographic evidence, stakeouts, private investigations, the use of media (in this case newspapers) to influence the way a case is viewed by the public and sentencing deals done between police and criminals in exchange for information. There's even a courtroom drama towards the end of the novel.
An interesting twist added to the crime drama element is the slow unraveling of a long buried family secret that is revealed to the reader in flashbacks and memories. This secret, and the revelation of the paranoid and phobic way their mother raised them, is the very reason the sisters have so isolated themselves from society and determined that outsiders, even police, cannot be trusted. This buggy accident, while awful and traumatic for a number of reasons, does serve some good in bringing the sisters out of their own world somewhat and forcing them to realize that, at times, everyone needs help.
On the downside, I did find that the story dragged in parts. There are aspects added, such as Norma's slightly obsessive interest in her carrier pigeons, that didn't seem to add anything to the story and from the author's notes aren't based in the history known of the Kopp sisters. Another aspect that slowed the story down somewhat was the inclusion of a missing child case that Constance refuses to let go. While I found it interesting I'm not overly sure why it was included, other than to highlight the fact that Constance would make a good detective. I felt the close relationship between Constance and the sheriff was also made to insinuate some sort of attraction between the two, but that didn't seem to end up going anywhere.
Overall, Girl Waits with Gun is an entertaining and enlightening look into a unique, true to life woman who did her part to change the way society looked at the capabilities of women in law enforcement. There are moments of humor, heart and suspense and I'm so happy Amy Stewart brought these wonderful women's stories to the public. They really are unforgettable!
What Did I Think About the Cover?
I love it! For me it fits the novel wonderfully, with the newspaper copy along the sides and the black and white coloring that just screams "extra, extra!". The red adds a good pop of color and makes the woman on the cover, who I assume is Constance, look daring and tough. I'm not sure that the woman is what I would imagine for Constance or any of the Kopp sisters, but she is brazen and lovely regardless. It definitely makes me think of cops and robbers and grabbed my eye.
My Rating: 3.5/5.0
Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of Girl Waits with Gun in exchange for an honest review. Be sure to continue below for more information about the author, the book, the rest of the blog tour and your chance to win a copy!
Praise for Girl Waits with Gun
“A sheer delight to read and based on actual events, this debut historical mystery packs the unexpected, the unconventional, and a serendipitous humor into every chapter. Details from the historical record are accurately portrayed by villains and good guys alike, and readers will cross their fingers for the further adventures of Constance and Sheriff Heath. For fans of the Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood, and the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mysteries by Laurie R. King.”—Booklist, starred
“Stewart crafts a solid, absorbing novel based on real-life events—though they’re unusual enough to seem invented. Stewart deftly tangles and then unwinds a complicated plot with nice period detail…More adventures involving gutsy Constance, quietly determined Sheriff Heath, and a lively cast of supporting characters would be most welcome.”—Kirkus, starred
“In her engaging first novel, Stewart (The Drunken Botanist) draws from the true story of the Kopp sisters (Constance became one of the country’s first female deputy sheriffs) and creates a welcome addition to the genre of the unconventional female sleuth. Colorful, well-drawn characters come to life on the page, and historical details are woven tightly into the narrative. The satisfying conclusion sets up an opening for future Constance Kopp novels. VERDICT: Historical fiction fans and followers of Rhys Bowen’s ‘Molly Murphy’ mysteries and Victoria Thompson’s ‘Gaslight Mystery’ series will delight in the eccentric and feisty Kopp women.”—Library Journal, starred
“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, author of Eat, Pray, Love
“How could you not fall in love with a book about one of the first female deputy sheriffs and her sisters–especially when it’s written by the enthralling Amy Stewart? Full of long-held secrets, kicked-up dust, simmering danger, and oh yes, that gun—this gritty romp illuminates one of history’s strongest women with a hold-your-breath panache.”—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You
“Girl Waits With Gun makes excellent use of history to put a fresh spin on classic cop-and-crook types. Amy Stewart’s true-life protagonist is a ‘rough and tumble’ version of the early 20th century’s New Woman. She is witty, sharply-drawn, and suffers no fools!”—Suzanne Rindell, author of The Other Typist
“Yowza! Amy Stewart’s debut boasts pomaded gangsters, pistol-packin’ dames, kidnappings, shots in the dark, and everything from Girls Gone Wrong to carrier pigeons finding their way home. You might want to stay up all night reading, you might want to lie down on your fainting couch with a cool cloth on your forehead. Either way, you’ll have the time of your life.” —Robert Goolrick, New York Times bestselling author of A Reliable Wife
“Girl Waits with Gun is fresh, funny and utterly compelling– and Constance Kopp and her sisters are not just great investigators, but completely original women. It was a blast from start to finish and I can’t wait to see what Deputy Kopp gets up to next.”— Lisa Lutz, author of The Spellman Files, How to Start a Fire, and others
“Amy Stewart has crafted the best kind of historical novel; she uncovers an intriguing, all-but-forgotten historical nugget and spins it into a wildly entertaining tale with an engaging, tough-minded heroine. Girl Waits With Gun hits the bulls-eye.”—Daniel Stashower, author of The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War
“Amy Stewart’s debut novel Girl Waits With Gun is an irresistible and thoroughly enjoyable book, a suspenseful historical mystery spiced with marvelous characters, wit, and humor. Is it too soon to beg for a sequel?” —Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule
“Engaging, lively, and substantive, Girl Waits with Gun is a perfect mystery, and the Kopp sisters are
my new best friends. Amy Stewart writes about crime as well as she writes about plants and poisons. I loved this book, and will be first in line for the next installment.”—Sara Gran, author of Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway
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About the Author
Amy Stewart is the author of seven books. Her latest, Girl Waits With Gun, is a novel based on a true story. She has also written six nonfiction books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world,
Stewart has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many other newspapers and magazines, and has appeared frequently on National Public Radio, CBS Sunday Morning, and–just once–on TLC’s Cake Boss. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the American Horticulture Society’s Book Award, and an International Association of Culinary Professionals Food Writing Award.
For more information visit Amy Stewart’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.
Thanks again to the lovely Amy at HF Virtual Book Tours I have one paperback copy of Girl Waits with Gun up for grabs! This giveaway is open to US residents only and all you have to do is enter your name and email address on the giveaway form HERE. Please be sure to enter BOTH your name and email address so I can contact you if you are the winner.
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Girl Waits with Gun Blog Tour Schedule
Spotlight at Build a Bookshelf
Spotlight at Please Pass the Books
Wednesday, September 2
Spotlight at Library Educated
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Thursday, September 3
Review at Book Nerd
Friday, September 4
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Thursday, September 10
Review at Library Educated
Friday, September 11
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection
Monday, September 14
Review at Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, September 15
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Wednesday, September 16
Review at The Worm Hole
Spotlight & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Thursday, September 17
Spotlight at Books and Benches
Saturday, September 19
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day
Monday, September 21
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Tuesday, September 22
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Thursday, September 24
Review at A Bookish Affair
Friday, September 25
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Spotlight at Boom Baby Reviews
Monday, September 28
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Review & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation
Tuesday, September 29
Review at A Fold in the Spine
Wednesday, September 30
Spotlight at Build a Bookshelf
Thursday, October 1
Review & Giveaway at To Read, or Not to Read
Friday, October 2
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Monday, October 5
Review & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Tuesday, October 6
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story