Book: A girl waits with a gun

Girl waits with gun

By Amy Stewart

(408 pages, fiction, 2015)

In the summer of 1914, Constance Kopp and her two sisters, Norma and Fleurette, were traveling in their horse-drawn buggy to Paterson, New Jersey, when a car hit them! The car flips their buggy, pinning Fleurette underneath. They release her and she has minor injuries, but the buggy is in pieces. The car’s owner, Henry Kaufman, refuses to pay the damages even though it’s clearly his fault. Kaufman and his hooligan friends begin to terrorize the Kopp sisters, who live alone on a farm outside of town. The men throw bricks through their windows with threatening letters attached, and shoot the women and their house!

But Constance, who is six feet tall, and her sister Norma get guns and learn how to shoot them. Fleurette is the beloved pretty baby of the family who is normally more interested in fashion designing and directing skits. She is frightened but also fascinated by the events and all the attention they generate. Life is generally rather dull on the farm. But not right now! Their sister Norma is a funny and stubborn character who is handy around the farm and very involved in training her carrier pigeons. And she loves showing her sisters outlandish newspaper headlines.

The year is stretching. Constance continues to seek reimbursement for damages and Kaufman continues to refuse. But the sisters are made of solid material. They are determined to continue and live alone on the family farm.

By turns thrilling, gritty, and funny, this book is based on true events and the real Kopp sisters. The Kopp sisters are remarkable characters. The headline “Girl Waits with Gun” was an actual headline in the Philadelphia Sun on November 23, 1914.

I can’t wait to learn more about the unusual and charming Kopp sisters. And I’m lucky because there are seven Kopp sister novels in all!

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Robbin Bailey

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