01 September 2015

Today's Read: Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart

Girl Waits with Gun by Amy StewartWhat would you think of three sisters who lived alone on an isolated farm at a time when women were supposed to marry young and have a man to protect them? If you think they might cave under threats and violence, think again. Constance Kopp is willing and able to do what it takes to defend herself.

Our troubles began in the summer of 1914, the year I turned thirty-five. The Archduke of Austria had just been assassinated, the Mexicans were revolting, and absolutely nothing was happening at our house, which explains why all three of us were riding to Paterson on the most trivial of errands. Never had a larger committee been convened to make a decision about the purchase of mustard powder and the replacement of a claw hammer whose handle had split from age and misuse.
Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015, p. 1)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: 1914; Paterson, New Jersey; surrounding towns and countryside
  • Circumstances: When a rich silk merchant, Henry Kaufman, crashes his car into the Kopp sisters' buggy, he refuses to make restitution. Little does he know that bullying and violence will not work on these strong women. The ensuing feud makes the newspapers and draws the attention of the law.
  • Characters: Constance, the eldest sister who tells the story; Norma, the middle sister; Fleurette, the much younger sister; Henry Kaufman, the silk merchant; Robert Heath, the sheriff; various townsfolk, women at the silk factory, a Kopp brother, and gangsters.
  • Genre: historical mystery
  • Themes: feminism, independent women, family secrets, fairness
  • Real life! Stewart wrote her novel based on a true story, which she came across when researching another book. Constance Kopp was one of the first women detectives and worked in conjunction with Sheriff Heath to catch Kaufman and his band of thugs. The incident involved shoot outs, threats, blackmail, and a sting operation.
  • Notes on the writing: I've read only the beginning of the book, but I've gotten far enough along to feel confident about Stewart's style and her sense of humor. This is sassy, action-packed, and filled with amazing period details and fantastic characters.
  • Some fun things to know: The title of the book comes from a real-life headline about the Kopps. Stewart clothed the sisters and furnished their house with items available in the 1908 Sears catalog. I learned these facts and more from a great NPR interview (click the link to read it yourself). You can see photos of the characters at Amy Stewart's website.
  • Bonus! At BEA this past May, Amy Stewart was handing out cards with the Girl Waits with Gun "signature cocktail." It's too fun to keep to myself, so I embedded the PDF here. Click the image to enlarge it or head on over to Stewart's website to download your own copy.


rhapsodyinbooks 9/1/15, 6:52 AM  

I enjoyed this book as well. I rally like Amy Stewart.

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 9/1/15, 7:43 AM  

I'm really looking forward to reading this one! And - I love the intro!!

Becca 9/1/15, 8:33 AM  

Sounds interesting!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 9/1/15, 8:46 AM  

Sounds different for sure, but not sure it's for me.

Karen White 9/1/15, 8:50 AM  

This one looks like fun!

Karen 9/1/15, 8:55 AM  

I added this book to my Amazon Wish List after reading the review in Sunday's NYT Book Review!

bermudaonion 9/1/15, 8:59 AM  

I love strong women, especially when they go against the norm. This sounds really good!

Anonymous,  9/1/15, 9:35 AM  

Very interesting quote and intro. I think I'll have to look into this one. Great cover, too, thanks for including it.

picky 9/1/15, 10:42 AM  

I reviewed this today! Such a fun book - AND I didn't realize it was based on a true story until I got to the end.

Cleopatra Loves Books 9/1/15, 10:46 AM  

Another new to me author and I like this intro very much - I want to know more.

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian 9/1/15, 11:01 AM  

This one is in my reading queue. After your post I can't wait to get to it.

Literary Feline 9/1/15, 11:22 AM  

I will be reviewing this one tomorrow on my blog. :-) I loved it. :-)

Laurel-Rain Snow 9/1/15, 11:24 AM  

I have been noticing this one and wanting to pick it up. I love books with strong female characters...and I would love seeing the women put the bullies in their place.

Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

SuziQoregon 9/1/15, 11:58 AM  

I've been eyeing this one for a while. Just found out I'll be getting it from LibraryThing Early Reviewers - Yay!!

Margot 9/1/15, 12:10 PM  

This is my kind of story. I like observing the actions of strong women, especially in a historical setting where their behavior is not the norm.

Anonymous,  9/1/15, 2:45 PM  

Ooh I like the sound of this one! Thanks for sharing :)

My TT: https://thebookbrief.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/teaser-tuesday-20/

Anonymous,  9/1/15, 3:16 PM  

Sounds really good.

Trish 9/1/15, 3:29 PM  

oh this looks like such a fun read!

trish - my teaser

(Diane) bookchickdi 9/1/15, 5:33 PM  

I love a sassy story! I met Amy at BEA and thoughts he was so interesting, I can't wait to read this one.

Monica's Bookish Life 9/1/15, 9:18 PM  

I love this intro, and I'm looking forward to reading this novel!

Unknown 9/2/15, 11:42 AM  

This book sounds great. The characters and the story remind me of the Australian TV series "Miss Fisher Mysteries," which I love.

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 9/3/15, 8:59 AM  

I'm definitely reading this one - as soon as my copy arrives! I enjoy Stewart's writing style so I'm optimistic I'll love it.

Daryl 9/3/15, 9:32 AM  

i feel as if i read a review of this book this past Sundaty in the NYT Book Review BUT i dont think it was ... i would i am sure recall that title ....

Claudia 9/3/15, 5:11 PM  

Our library hasn't got it yet, but am looking forward to this book.

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