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Kopp Sisters #1

Girl Waits with Gun

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A 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.  

408 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2015

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About the author

Amy Stewart

26 books2,435 followers
Amy Stewart is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen books, including Girl Waits with Gun, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, The Drunken Botanist, and Wicked Plants.

She lives in Portland with her husband Scott Brown, a rare book dealer.

Stay connected with Amy via her newsletter , where she offers cocktail recipes, creative inspiration, book recommendations, and more!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,080 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer Masterson.
200 reviews1,169 followers
November 18, 2015
4.5 Stars for "Girl Waits With Gun"! This book was so great for me! This is a rarity because I'm not a historical fiction fan. It takes place in the early 1900's in New York and New Jersey.

This is a true story of three sisters living on a farm in NY in 1914 and one incident that spurred this story. I'm afraid to give away too much but what I will say is that there is mystery and secret told in this novel but it is done in a sweet and gentle manner. There are also early 1900's New York City thugs thrown in that truly add some fun to this story!

I loved all three Kopp sister's, but I just adored the main character who was telling the story in first person narration, Constance! Very easy to read and get into and the book flows smoothly throughout. I read the last 150 pages in one day. That's unusual for me but I was completely absorbed in this book. If you like historical fiction, or if you are like me and dabble in it, I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews598 followers
July 5, 2016
Update: Just wanted to share that this book is $5.99 on Kindle right now. I just seconds ago finished the next book - "Lady Cop Makes Trouble"- of this trilogy series.
The last time I was interested I enjoyed a series was the Dragon Tattoo Books...( a couple years before they even hit the U. S.) .., so LONG ago....
These stories are Historical Fiction - Sooo enjoyable!! I'm thinking....TV series a some point??? I've no idea. But ...check out reviews - the price is good right now for the first book.

"Girl Waits With Gun", by Amy Stewart, is genuinely enjoyable, and compulsively intimate.

"How do three girls manage the running of a household on their own? Is there not uncle
some other male relation who could take you in?"
"Haven't any of you received a proposal of marriage in all these years?"

"The Kopp sisters do just fine on their own. They lived in the countryside and already
Knew how to handle a hunting a rifle, and proven quite competent with a revolver. And of course the attack was unprovoked. How would three girls in a buggy incite an
oncoming automobile to plow directly into them?"

"But as soon as the reporters left, Sheriff Heath turned somber again"
SHERIFF HEATH is a good guy! WE LOVE HIM, too!

"Frances Kopp and wife Bessie lived in a neighborhood of modest thoroughly modern bungalows in Hawthorne". They raised two children in an American house of the twentieth century. They didn't want any furniture from the farmhouse. Frances didn't want to live like his
sisters. Frances felt his sisters was his responsibility. He wanted to sell the farm - felt it was a bad idea to leave his sisters alone in the country.

"Harry Kaufman, Silk Dryer, of Paterson, crashed his automobile into the buggy of the Kopp
sisters. He refused to pay $50 for the damage done, and their suit was instituted.
Anonymous letters began to arrive, threatening all sorts of disaster. Armed men began to prowl around the house after dark, and shots were fired to terrorize them.
WE DON'T LIKE HARRY KAUFMAN ( or his hoodlum friends) BAD MAN!

This is a very smart, classy, witty, entertaining, 'fun' historical fiction story ( several other memorable characters I haven't mentioned). Great Ride!!!
The book cover - with 'gun' ( awesome in my opinion), does not indicate graphic
violence, (which I appreciate).
Strong women with strong personalities!
This is powerful inspiring tale ---One of my favorite books this year!!

Thank You to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, Netgalley, and Amy Stewart!!!
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,156 followers
April 3, 2016
OH. WHAT. FUN. I admit it.....the classy book-cover illustration is what drew me in on this one, and I'm glad it did!

GIRL WAITS WITH GUN really is a fun-time read (with a twist) about the tenacious Kopp sisters, a tough 6' Constance, in particular, who stands firm to protect her kin. "I would stand on the corner all night with a gun if that's what it took to keep those men away from her." ("her" being the youngest spitfire (and beauty) of a sister Fluerette)

Based on real events and real people, this historical work of fiction set in 1914 all begins with a crash involving hooligans who think they can sleaze their way out of trouble resorting to brick-letters and shots fired in the dark of night....not to mention kidnapping, but that's another story, and with Sheriff Heath on the job and the sisters all "packin" well it turns out to be quite an adventure that all comes to a somewhat predictable, but possible sequel-ish (I hope) end.

Now, there are two sentences in this story I did not like: "I don't like cats" and a "Neither do I" but I got over it. Really enjoyed it!

Profile Image for Esil.
1,118 reviews1,363 followers
August 27, 2016
I didn't know Girl Waits with Gun was based on a true story until I read the acknowledgements at the end. It read very much like fiction -- good fun fiction. The book tells the story of the three Kopp sisters, who lived on their own in rural New Jersey in the early 20th century. The story is narrated by the oldest sister Constance, who is six feet tall, smart as a whip and determined to deal with an arrogant rich local factory owner who has been terrorizing her and her sisters. The tone of the story makes it feel like fiction -- Constance's voice is light, matter of fact and brimming with good humour. But this isn't fluff -- especially now that I know it's based on a real story. The sisters' background is complex and interesting, and the story highlights the challenges for women trying to live independently in the early 20th century. Although the characters are drawn with fairly broad strokes, I found myself really liking them -- especially Constance, her sisters and the local Sheriff. This was a fun read with some meat to it. It turns out that this is book one of a series featuring the Kopp sisters. I got my hands on an advance copy of book two which comes out shortly and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how this holds up as a series.
Profile Image for Candi.
622 reviews4,714 followers
May 22, 2017
"When I allowed myself to think about the brevity of the time ahead of me, and the futility of spending any more of it on cooking and mending and gardening, it frightened me so much that I almost couldn’t breathe."

Constance Kopp is a woman ahead of her time. She may be living rather peacefully with her sisters on a farm in New Jersey just outside of the big city of New York, but that doesn’t mean she’s quite satisfied with her domestic life. Oh, she loves her sisters well enough – the often cantankerous Norma and the beautiful and slightly spoiled Fleurette. However, something is missing from her life, perhaps some excitement and fulfillment. Those elusive elements are hard to come by for a woman of the early 1900s. When Constance and her two sisters make the unfortunate acquaintance of Henry Kaufman, owner of Kaufman’s Silk Dyeing Company, life will become anything but dull. When her family is threatened, Constance won’t stand by and watch. She needs more than just help from the local sheriff, though; she needs a gun and a quick lesson in how to shoot it! "My sisters and I have no one but each other, and if anyone should take up a handgun in their defense, I will be the one to do it."

What follows is a really fun adventure of sorts, based on real people and true events. I seriously enjoyed this book! Constance is strong and witty and there is much to admire about her. Norma and Fleurette have quirky personalities that make them thoroughly entertaining as well. Sheriff Heath… now here’s a guy that recognizes the value of a competent woman. His interactions with Constance are priceless. Girl Waits with Gun may not be a literary masterpiece, but it is far from being a light read. There are some great historical bits, and it provides an interesting glimpse at the life of women, in particular single women, in early twentieth century America. There are some twists and turns in the story that keep it completely engaging throughout. The fact that Constance Kopp truly existed is intriguing enough to make me want to learn more about her life. I plan to read the second in the series to see what shenanigans she might get herself mixed up in next!
Profile Image for Linda.
1,286 reviews1,329 followers
October 22, 2016
Uh, huh! A girl gets her foot in the door...and, by the way, there's something adding a bit of weight to her stylish 1914 fringed handbag.

Once upon a time, there were three sisters. Three Kopp sisters: Constance, Norma, and Fleurette. They lived very dry, day-to-day lives on a small farm outside of Paterson, New Jersey. But fate ran broadside into their horse-driven wagon one day as they approached the outskirts of town. An out of control motor vehicle with a gaggle of loud men slammed mighty steel into their wagon. A vicious argument and a quick exit by the ring leader left the sisters reeling with injuries and destruction.

But fate would visit these nefarious men as well. The Kopp sisters don't take such wild behavior lightly, especially Constance. Armed with a receipt for the damages, Constance visits the offices of the silk dye baron. A game of treacherous cat and mouse ensues. The safety and well being of the sisters is at stake here as the men retaliate in very dangerous and life-threatening ways.

Amy Stewart presents a highly entertaining, while gripping, read. Her main character, Constance, doesn't fit into the usual femme fatale role of the maiden turned detective. Constance is a tall, sturdy, solidly formed female. No love interests as of yet. No Valentines in the mailbox kind of woman. Bravo, Ms. Stewart. Constance leads with an extremely well-developed brain and intellect thanks to the actual true-to-life Kopp sisters.

Stewart inserts a few zig and zag subplots into the mix and we're off to the races with a tasty storyline. She's added such zing to the surround-sound of life at the turn of the century on the streets of New York City. Good stuff. Really good stuff.

I actually started with Lady Cop Makes Trouble. (Goodreads Giveaway) That is the second book in this roaring series. I believe that Amy Stewart has quite a hit with the Kopp sisters at her side. Will be looking forward to more adventures with this unconventional, zany trio who prove that female wiles can often outstep their male counterparts any day of the week.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,077 reviews59k followers
November 13, 2016
Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart is a 2015 Mariner Books publication (e book- library edition)

Constance Kopp is my kind of heroine!

Based on the real -life adventures of Constance Kopp, this first book in the Kopp Sisters series has Constance doing battle with the owner of a silk factory after his car collides with her horse and buggy.

Determined to force the man into paying restitution for the damage he caused, Constance slowly emerges from the isolated life she’s been living, becoming more embolden when her family is threatened.

Finally, Constance can face her past and embrace a new chapter in her life, which would help pave the way for women to have a career in law enforcement and proving herself to be an inspiration, while showing compassion and determination in seeing justice done.

Constance harbors some shocking secrets by 1914 standards, and so has retreated to a quiet farm life, living with her sisters. The accident proves to be a catalyst for Constance as she rises to the occasion after receiving threats and being blackmailed.

This is no shrinking violet! Constance is my hero, but all the sisters are distinctive, and play a huge part in how things play out.

This is very cool historical mystery, which moves along at a good steady clip, has charm and character, wonderful dialogue and a fair amount of action and adventure to round things out. I enjoyed every minute of it!!
Profile Image for Carol.
834 reviews499 followers
October 10, 2015
The Hook - The cover Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart and title. Little did I know the truth of the latter?

The Line”In my mind, Henry Kaufman existed only in those moments when I had seen him, and the rest of the time he was still and quiet, like a marionette hung backstage by his strings, motionless until someone took him up and sent him skittering back to life.”

The SinkerGirl Waits With Gun is a delightful romp. In the summer of 1914, the sisters Kopp set out in horse and carriage on a mundane trip to purchase mustard powder and a new claw hammer.

Fleurette, the youngest is driving, this against the better judgment of her eldest sister, Constance. In a flash, a black motorcar comes barreling towards them. With no way to avoid a collision the automobile hits them broadside. Though all are shaken up, no real harm is done. Not so the carriage; it’s a goner. The driver of the
automobile appears to be a man of privilege, described as

“handsome if not for an indolent and spoiled aspect about his eyes and the tough set of his mouth, which suggested he was accustomed to getting his way.”

His companions are a rough tumble lot of rats. When Constance Kopp demands payment, wealthy businessman Henry Kaufman refuses to take responsibility. Constance does not give up lightly and suspects Kaufman and his cronies of harassing she and her sisters.

Though the plot is quite sinister, it is done in a lighthearted way. It seems suitable for those of you who do not care for graphic violence. The sisters, Constance, Norma and Fleurette are vividly drawn, each exhibiting their own quirky personalities. Stewart’s writing easily places you on the streets of New York City, Patterson and Hackensack, New Jersey with descriptive narrative of time (1914) while also providing a realistic picture of the Kopps home and life.

Stewart blends historical fiction with this true-life story of the country's first female deputy sheriff and gives us a new heroine in Constance Kopp. I’m certain we will be seeing more of her.

For a behind the scenes look at the real characters visit http://www.amystewart.com/characters/

Profile Image for PattyMacDotComma.
1,485 reviews842 followers
September 14, 2019
Get down!’ I shouted, but it was too late.
The automobile hit us broadside, its brakes shrieking. The sound of our buggy shattering was like a firecracker going off in our ears. We tumbled over in a mess off splintered wood and bent metal. Our harness mare, Dolley, faltered and went down with us. She let out a high scream, the likes of which I had never heard from a horse.

If I were writing ‘headlines’ for carrier pigeon messages as Norma Kopp does, I’d have title this Kropp Sisters Come a Cropper

This is based on, and inspired by, real people and real events, but the author explains at the end what facts she had to work with and what liberties she has taken. I’m glad she did, because this is delightful.

These are serious times. It opens in 1914, at the beginning of World War One. There are a few automobiles on the road, but many people use horse-drawn buggies and carts, and delivery vans are often wagons pulled by draft horses.

[Not a spoiler, just a personal note:]

The Kopp sisters are on their way to the shops when silk merchant Henry Kaufman’s automobile slams into their buggy, which overturns, pinning them underneath. As they are helped out, we meet the narrator, Constance, 35, who is a formidable six-footer and protective of her sisters.

Sister Norma is complaining about being manhandled by the kindly butcher and other locals, while the youngest, Fleurette, (for whom the word flibbertigibbet might have been invented) “stared up at us with wild dark eyes. She wore a dress sheathed in pink taffeta. Against the dusty road she looked like a trampled bed of roses.”

Constance and Norma seem okay, but when Constance checks Fleurette’s foot, it is obviously injured and painful. Fleurette looks at her feet.

“She was wearing the most ridiculous white calfskin boots with pink ribbons for laces.
‘Are they all right?’ she asked.
I put my hand on her back to steady her. ‘Just try to move them. First your ankle.’
‘I meant the boots.’

That’s when I knew Fleurette would survive.”

Fleurette is an imaginative, dramatic teenager, so understandably self-centred and dreamy, but she does adore the older sisters and looks for Norma.

Look at Norma,’ she whispered with a wicked little smile. My sister had planted herself directly in the path of the motorcar to prevent the men from driving away. She did make a comical sight, a small but stocky figure in her split riding skirt of drab cotton. Norma had the broad Slavic face and thick nose of our father and our mother’s sour disposition. Her mouth was set in a permanent frown and she looked on everyone with suspicion. She stared down the driver of the motor car with the kind of flat-footed resolve that came naturally to her in times of calamity.”

And thus we meet three interesting women, each a force to be reckoned with in her own way. They live off their savings on a small farm outside of town, which means the loss of a buggy is a major financial blow. Constance has words with the driver, who is not somebody to tangle with, but faced with her height and presence, and Norma slamming his car door closed, he can’t avoid them.

As the biggest and eldest, Constance takes over the ‘negotiation’ of compensation with a man who’s not used to anyone expecting him to do as they ask. We find he’s had a pretty good time of it, taking advantage of very poor workers, especially young girls, and he and his thuggish friends present a very real, violent threat to the Kopps.

I enjoyed the whole story, the farm, the family’s background, Normas’s homing pigeons and the inventive newspaper headline messages she has them carry home. She clips real ones from the papers, but adds her own to the mix.

“Variations on Girl Fined for Disorderly Housekeeping’ arrived any time I failed to do my part of the washing up. ‘Large Percentage of Women Recklessly Follow Prevailing Fashions Without Knowing Why’ was delivered after Norma objected to Fleurette’s silk tunic embroidered with birds of paradise, her attempt to copy the fashions of Paris.”

Alongside the affectionate humour are reminiscences of a hard father, a difficult mother, and how the girls grew up. I knew nothing of the strikes by the silk workers and how they were starved into submission. Hard times indeed!

That’s the enemy they’ve made, someone who would resort to violence to get his way, and does. There are some scary times for these women who insist on living on their own and not with their wonderful brother and.his family. I couldn’t help thinking that as much as he and his wife adored his sisters, it would have made an awfully lively addition to their household.

We meet the sheriff and find out how Constance ends up waiting with a gun. Most enjoyable with a serious story and good-natured humour. I should mention that this is the first of a series with the same characters, but more fiction than fact. I know they're popular!
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,322 reviews2,142 followers
January 11, 2019
What a great start to new series, especially knowing that the story is based in fact and that Constance Kopp really was one of the first female deputy sheriffs.

The three Kopp sisters, Constance, Norma and Fleurette, are all delightful but it is Constance's story and she really must have been a remarkable woman. When the family's home life is threatened she takes on a powerful local business man and defends her sisters and their farm against all kinds of threats and attacks. Eventually she gains the help of the local Sheriff, impresses him with her talents and gains a new job.

The source notes at the end of the book make great reading too and show that many of the characters and the newspaper headlines which are quoted in the book are facts. Now I want to know more about life in Bergen County in 1914 and what Constance did next.
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,233 reviews1,046 followers
September 16, 2015
While en route from their farm to town in their horse-drawn carriage, three sisters are crashed into by a group of men in a motorcar. The men look like a bunch of disreputable toughs, but that doesn't dissuade Constance Kopp from asserting her rights and demanding to be paid damages. Little does she know that the reckless driver is Henry Kaufman, a wealthy but somewhat deranged mill owner, and that his friends are in the Mafia. But even when she finds out, she refuses to back down from demanding what she is rightfully owed. The situation escalates into blackmail and violent threats, as Constance stands firm and seeks to protect herself and her sisters, while remaining independent.

The book is based on a true story - Kopp and Kaufman really did have their legal battle; Kopp really was the victim of threats and harassment, and she really did become one of the first American female police deputies. Amy Stewart has provided a fascinating archive of photos and newspaper articles about these characters on her website: http://www.amystewart.com/characters/

However, I felt that the book draws out a small story a bit too much. If it had been about half the length, I would've loved it. But the repeated incidents of confrontation and harassment began to feel a bit repetitive, and the fictional subplot involving a kidnapped illegitimate child felt like filler material. It's still a fascinating glimpse into life in 1914 New Jersey.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are solely my own.
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,114 followers
September 10, 2017
I remember when this book first came out and everyone was reading it. I let it slip by because I thought it was a feminist western, and, okay, I had it wrong. I enjoyed this story of the Kopp sisters, especially Constance, the woman-turned-detective/police-assistant.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,376 reviews929 followers
September 16, 2015
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

He looked up and said, in a loud, plain voice, “She’s not a regular lady.”

Indeed, Constance Kopp was quite a woman for her time. Constance Amelie Kopp was born in 1878 and as an adult was recorded as being six feet tall. Yes, Constance Kopp was a real-life woman and is credited as being one of America’s first female deputy sheriffs. Little is known of the women but what is known paints a most interesting picture. Amy Stewart gathered as much information as she could and the necessary enrichment truly brought her and the people associated with her to being. Girl Waits With a Gun starts off Constance’s story with a buggy accident involving her and her sisters, Norma and Fleurette, in 1914. The individual responsible for causing the damage and irreversibly damaging their mode of transportation, was one Henry Kaufman, a wealthy silk factory owner. Constance sends him repeated notices of the amount of damage he is responsible for, $50, and when he fails to respond to her goes to collect from him personally. This sets off a long year of harrassment from Kaufman and his associates where they suffer through having bricks thrown through their windows at night to letters threatening to kidnap their youngest sister Fleurette and sell her into white slavery. Not willing to lay down and accept this, Constance goes to the police with the hope that she can put her trust in them to put a stop to the menace in their lives.

Girl Waits With a Gun was an unexpected delight for me but was much more slower paced than I would have figured. I went into this expecting some sort of crime fiction with a historical flair being that it’s set in 1914. This was decidedly less focused on the crime itself but of Constance and of the story behind her becoming a deputy sheriff, and how it was nothing but a complete accident. This story leaned more towards historical-fiction/cozy mystery territory but is unmistakably the smartest story of the genre I’ve read. It took me a solid week to read this and while I had to pace myself, I never lost any interest in this charming tale.

Constance was a fantastic character and imaginably a remarkable individual in her own right. On Amy Stewart’s website she lists a quote from Constance where she said: “Some women prefer to stay at home and take care of the house. Let them. There are plenty who like that kind of work enough to do it. Others want something to do that will take them out among people and affairs. A woman should have the right to do any sort of work she wants to, provided she can do it.” That was the kind of woman she was, one who refused to fall into typical social expectations of the time. In her earlier years she expressed an interest in pursuing a career, as a lawyer or a nurse, but her mother inevitably discouraged that and kept her at home. The story touches briefly and only occasionally on her past when she was around eighteen years old and what truly molded her into the woman she is today. While I loved her take no crap attitude in her mature years, I really loved seeing this younger part of her that was still coming into her own and learning the ways of the world. The situations she found herself in for that time may have been irreversible and life-changing but not only was she strong-willed but she had a supportive family to back her up. She was quite an inspiring individual and I do hope we haven’t seen the last of Constance Kopp.

“…if I could give her one silent gift […] – it would be this: the realization that we have to be a part of the world we live in. We don’t scurry away when we’re in trouble, or when someone else is. We don’t run and hide.”

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Profile Image for Margitte.
1,177 reviews540 followers
April 20, 2017
A novel based on the forgotten true story of one of the nation’s first female deputy sheriffs.

The blurb describes the book the best:
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.

Reading it as a fictional biography (or biographical fiction), or a novel based on a true story, makes a difference in the approach to the book. It is a gentle, but highly interesting saga about three sisters who had to fend for themselves and made it happen!

And kudos to the late Roberth Nelson Heath, the sheriff of Paterson in Bergen County who appointed the formidable miss Constance Kopp as first Deputy Sheriff in America in 1914. What a man!

The saga floats along on an even keel, lacking the suspense thriller elements that could have turned this novel into something exciting, or emotionally riveting. But as I said, the story is based on real people and their descendants, it is thus understandable that much respect is bestowed on the real families.

Yes, it was a great read! As a biographical novel, it was very well written, and excellently researched.

The only thing that got me scared was the terrible cold, deep snow and threatening ice. Talk about atmospheric! Brilliant!

I'm off to the next book in this saga.

For more information on the real people in this story, visit amystewart.com

Or another good source:
Profile Image for Carolyn (on vacation).
2,245 reviews643 followers
January 24, 2019
This was such a great read, made even more delightful by finding out that it was based on the real Kopp sisters and their run in with a real underworld character. The eldest sister and main character, Constance Kopp, really was 6 ft tall and went on to be appointed the first female Deputy Sheriff.

Set in the 1914 in Bergen County, New Jersey, the three Kopp sisters, Constance and Norma in their mid thirties and 16 year old Fleurette, live on a fairly isolated farm. Since their brother married and moved away and their mother died, they've always managed on their own but after an incident with the manager of a silk factory their home and safety is threatened. But these girls are not weak, simpering women; they are smart and feisty and more than capable of fighting back, especially once the Sheriff teaches them to shoot. An excellent start to a series I know I am going to love!
Profile Image for Crystal Starr Light.
1,357 reviews832 followers
February 6, 2017
Bullet Review:

Probably could have been 3-stars were it not for that effing boring ending, the fact the last two hours were about 1 hour and 50 min of padding and it ended with Sheriff Heath offering Constance a deputy job. I MEAN SERIOUSLY, that is one of the most exciting parts of this real life story and it's LITERALLY the last line of the book.

Boring. Padded. Cliched. Nothing extraordinary with the writing - won't be continuing this series and probably not the author's other works either (no offense - the real story is 170% more interesting than this book).

Full review:

Constance Kopp was a real life woman who also happened to be the first female deputy. Amy Stewart discovered this fascinating woman while researching Henry Kaufman for a different book and had to write about this woman and how Henry Kaufman harassed her and her sisters, until the Kopp sisters won their day in court.

Sounds fascinating, right? It sure as hell does, because that's the reason I bought the ebook and then the audible book when it was the daily deal. I love reading about extraordinary women in history - the innovators, the way-pavers, and so on.

The unfortunate thing is that this book was far too long and bloated for the story it had, and the characters and writing were not good enough to make me forgive it for being long and bloated and boring. And that's a crime right there - being a boring book. Crappy books, even silly dorky ones like Tinker aren't so bad because at least they can amuse me with their silly dorkiness. Boring books just make me somnolent.

Although the book begins by immediately leaping into the altercation that starts off this series of events - Henry Kaufman colliding with the Kopp buggy - the book just wanders and piddles around until the bitter end of the trial. (It turns into Perry Mason for a bit at the end, in a weird turn of events.) And good lord, the kidnapped baby subplot! What a waste of time and a source of obvious padding! I got so infuriated that I considered skipping these pitiful sections every time Lucy and her dumb baby came up.

While all this is going on, we the readers learn the Kopp Sisters "Big Secret" - something I figured out by the 18% mark. I'll spoiler tag it because I'm nice, but really, if you can do simple math, you can figure it out. The problem with this "Big Secret" - it doesn't build Constance's character and is irrelevant in the end. Not to mention it relies on a bit of author witchery wherein characters act one way before the reader learns the "Big Secret" and suddenly change in demeanor to other characters when the reader learns it. There is no "big revelation" at the end, nor is there a "Come to Jesus" moment with all the sisters. Instead, it was just a way to pad things out - and once again showing sex happening to a woman instead of a woman being an active participant.

That's the other thing that bugs me about this book - so much of this book, I felt Constance just let stuff happen to her, or other people act instead of taking charge. Sure, she does pursue repayment despite Norma's insistence to "Let It Go" - but the way she talks about Eugene having sex with her is just so distant! I get women of the 1910's were women of a different era, but it was effing creepy! Also, I was SO UPSET when Norma tells Constance she should be a detective - why couldn't CONSTANCE have thought that and then discussed it with Norma?! Oh noooooo, we can't have women deciding things about their lives! It has to be handed to them! And then the final sentence of this book made me want to ragequit - if it wasn't the final sentence!

Constance isn't the only character I felt was tepid in this book. Norma and Fleurette, the other two major characters, felt like caricatures - Norma is a recluse who likes pigeons! Fleurette is a spoiled brat who acts like she's 12 instead of almost 17! (I read one reviewer who was confused about her age - how Constance says she's 13 and then Fleurette later turns 17. No wonder because Fleurette ACTS like a 12/13 year old!!) Henry Kaufman is EVIL! Lucy is a hardworking loving mom! Sheriff Heath works hard! His wife is a mean harpy (how dare she care about her husband and worry for him working so hard, the witch with a b!). No one really grows and changes. No one is beyond the couple of adjectives and attributes that are hastily attached to them. They were all flat, boring people whom I didn't care about and who wouldn't exist in real life.

Taking a step back, this isn't a horrible book. It certainly has better morals than many others and isn't egregiously bad. It's just the problems I found with it really pushed all my buttons in that bad way. I like female protagonists who actually take charge - don't call our protagonist "gutsy" if she basically takes a back seat and lets life happen to her all the time! I don't like unnecessary, cheesy plots meant only to pad the story. And why bother having a Big Family Secret when it does NOTHING to the characters or the story???

Moral of the Story: I got a refund for this through Audible. Thank you Audible, for being so kind and giving refunds, even for things I ordered some time ago. This makes me even more pleased that I signed up for your service. I wish I could do the same with my Kindle ebook but oh well.

That said, you may like the book. It seems like most of the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and I've been called a Negative Nancy before, so you make the call. Take charge of your life and decide what you want to do - don't be like Constance and let life happen to you!
Profile Image for Paul Bryant.
2,215 reviews9,892 followers
July 18, 2019
This is what you call “light reading”, as in, like a balloon, and as I was lightly reading there was a little voice somewhere inside me, an annoying voice, it comes and goes, I’m sure you know what I mean, and it said “Shouldn’t you be reading THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV or THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO and not this pleasingly pleasant confection, this time-wasting jeu d’esprit, if I may, all about the three Kopp sisters and their troubles with a bunch of louts who threaten kidnap and house burning in the New Jersey countryside way back in 1914?” – kind of a longwinded sentence for an inner voice to be formulating, your inner voice may be less tendentious and more to the point than mine, but the upshot is that this novel is kind of fun, yes, but it has to be admitted it’s the kind of fun that maiden aunts would appreciate, if they still exist. (I haven’t seen one in years.) In these 400 pages there are way more doilies than methamphetamine addicts and there is not a single solitary corpse as far as I could see, in fact, not much to laugh at.

I remember the driving instructor said “I would like you to drive so that if there was a cup of tea sitting on the bonnet of this car not a single drop would be spilled”. This novel drives like that.

Three of the gentlest, gossamer-thin stars ever seen. Amy Stewart needs to take them in before it starts raining.

Profile Image for Biblio Files (takingadayoff).
579 reviews292 followers
August 27, 2015
Historical fiction can be tricky. It's tough to pull together something that is historically authentic, in addition to the usual fiction requirements of being plausible and a good story. In Girl Waits With Gun, Amy Stewart seems to have got the historical aspects right, and has given us characters that are realistic and that we care about. It's based on events that actually happened around a hundred years ago.

I just couldn't get excited about this story though. The pacing was too leisurely for me so that I found myself skimming to the next chapter. And in the end, the events didn't seem to add up to an entire book-worthy story. Still, the writing in this one and her non-fiction is addictive, so I'll be looking for her next book, whether fact or fiction.
Profile Image for Connie G.
1,735 reviews477 followers
April 6, 2016
I loved the book cover featuring the self-assured Constance Kopp in her stylish hat. The title of the book comes from an actual newspaper headline from 1914 when Constance took part in a sting operation to help capture the men who were threatening her family.

A collision between a buggy carrying the three Kopp sisters and an automobile driven by the gangster Henry Kaufman was the start of a year of terror. Constance tried to collect money from Henry to pay for the damaged buggy. Henry and his gang of thugs sent threatening letters by "brick mail" through the windows of the sisters' New Jersey isolated farmhouse, escalating the dangerous attacks as the year progressed.

The book is full of interesting characters and a family secret, loosely based on history. The sheriff was a kind, decent man who taught the women how to shoot a revolver. Constance was a tall courageous woman who wanted a career outside the home. Norma was smart, reserved, and stubborn with a hobby of raising carrier pigeons. Fleurette had a dramatic flair and a talent for dressmaking.

This was a witty, suspenseful trip back to another era. I was happy to read in a NPR author interview that there is a sequel in Amy Stewart's plans.
Profile Image for Barbara**catching up!.
1,394 reviews805 followers
October 20, 2015
4.5 stars: From the start, I loved this novel. The main character, Constance Kopp, is hilarious in her inner musings and in her dialogue. Author Amy Stewart chose to write her with aplomb, which is an unusual characteristic for a woman in the early 1900’s. Of course, being historical fiction and written with much research, it could be assumed that Constance would have needed to be indomitable to become the country’s first Deputy Sheriff. The title of this novel is taken directly from a headline in a Philadelphia Sun news article. In fact, much of the novel includes direct newspaper headlines that Stewart researched, along with real letters that Stewart incorporates in the novel. This attention to detail makes the novel amusing because, well, it’s REAL!!

The three Kopp sister characters are enjoyable in their own individual way. Each sister has her own unique personality that Stewart wrote in a way that the characters play off each other in fun dialogue. Also, these are women who chose to live alone together on a farm in a time that all women were tended to by men-folk. Not these sisters; boldly independent these women were feminists before their time.

This is an intelligent, enjoyable, and fun read. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and wants a pleasurable read. If Stewart writes another Constance Kopp caper, I’m definitely reading it, even if it’s pure fiction. Stewart has proven to be a wonderful fiction writer.
Profile Image for Lorna.
719 reviews418 followers
July 12, 2022
Girl Waits With Gun is the historical fiction account of the adventures of Constance Kopp by Amy Stewart. As the author states, she pieced together newspaper accounts, court documents and other sources from the public record as she spun her delightful historical narrative about the Kopp sisters in the first book of the series Kopp Sisters. I became quite involved in this novel as one is introduced to the three Kopp sisters, namely, Constance, Norma and the youngest sister, Fleurette, and their struggle to live independently on the family farm. This adventure-filled and terrifying year for the Kopp sisters began in the summer of 1914 when their carriage was broadsided by an automobile driven by the notorious Henry Kaufman of Kaufman Silk Dyeing Company.

What evolves over the next year is a combination of a mystery and character study, the myriad social problems in the early twentieth century, and an unfolding of the gravity of the times. This narrative includes many of the societal issues such as the power of the Teamsters union, strikes and walkouts, kidnappings, and the Black Hand crimes and threats. During this year of unrest and threats, the Kopp sisters eventually are all trained by the sheriff and his deputies to shoot a gun when it was felt that the armed police presence and surveillance at the Kopp family farm may not be enough protection. This all culminates in a criminal trial in which the Kopp sisters are all called on to testify about the events. This was the first in the series and I will definitely be reading more of the Kopp Sisters books.

"I got a revolver to protect us," said Miss Constance, "and I soon had use for it."
--New York Times, June 3, 1915
Profile Image for Emily.
706 reviews2,045 followers
November 18, 2015
He looked up and said, in a loud, plain voice, “She’s not a regular lady.”

This book was delightful and witty and charming and definitely makes my list of favorites for 2015. It's reminiscent of Cinnamon and Gunpowder, but with a tighter, sharper historical context. The characters are based on real people - this is actual historical fiction! - and I'm impressed that Amy Stewart was able to write such a quickly-moving, entertaining story based on real events. This format can force authors into falling back on "facts" instead of letting characterization and story take a front seat (the disappointing The Painted Girls comes to mind), but this novel reads like a truly character-driven story. It's a treat.

In 1914, the three Kopp sisters are peaceably driving their buggy in the streets of New Jersey when an automobile collides with them head-on. The driver, a wealthy silk man, refuses to pay for the damages, and that ignites a feud that will carry on for the next several months. Constance attempts to collect the money they're owed - the sisters can't afford to lose the money given that they're living on savings on their farm - and the embarrassed silk man starts a targeted harassment campaign. As it escalates, Constance and her sisters are pressured to move in with their brother, or at least find a male relative to "take care of them," but she chooses to go through the justice system for resolution.

It's incredible how little protection the law is able to provide them, and it's a fascinating read purely to see the historical strictures that the Kopp sisters functioned within. (There's a great scene where the three of them dare to take off their stockings at the beach to wade in the water. These types of details are so interesting and make me grateful to have been born in an era where I can wear all the ugly monokinis I want.) Constance is willing to go to the police to resolve her issues, but she's contrasted with another harassed woman who has been effectively silenced through violence. She's an extraordinary woman, and it's only her own resolve and strength - growing throughout the book - that allow her to pursue the justice that the Kopps are owed.

The relationship between the sisters is fantastic. The dynamics between them made me laugh aloud several times:

Fleurette had a knack for overhearing everything ... In fact, the only way for Norma and I to have a private conversation was to walk out to the middle of our meadow, where we could speak quietly to one another while looking in all directions to be assured that Fleurette was not creeping up on us—though as soon as she realized what we were doing, she would come running at us, and we’d have to finish our conversation in rapid-fire monosyllables to get it over with before she flopped, panting, at our feet.

This was so good and so much fun to read. Go get it immediately.
Profile Image for Blaine DeSantis.
921 reviews118 followers
January 5, 2017
Wow!!! A great read, a novel based on true life character Constance Kopp and her two sisters. This appears to be the first of a series on Constance, as the author has quickly come out with a 2nd book. It is a fun and fast read. I usually have 3 books going at one time and one book always pulls ahead in my reading and this was the one for me as I dashed through the last 200+ pages of this book. Constance and her sisters are under attack by a local silk mill owner and his cronies, and this book documents the case and all of what happened from their initial confrontation with these men and the final resolution to her case, as well as another case that involves the same man. Really enjoyed this book and it is a testament to Constance and her ability to never give up and see things to a resolution.
November 27, 2015
I was really looking forward to reading this book based on the reviews I’d read and I was not disappointed. This is one of the most enjoyable reads that I’ve had all summer.

The Kopp sisters live on a farm outside of town in New Jersey, the time is 1914. Ever since the death of their mother, their brother, Francis, has been trying to convince them to move in with him and his family in town but the sisters have done very well living on their own.

Norma is the eldest and she and Constance do most of the farming and upkeep of the property while their youngest sister Fleurette keeps house and sews for herself and the home.

It is during one of their occasional visits to town that their buggy is hit by an automobile driven by the wealthy owner of a silk factory. Not only are Constance and Fleurette hurt physically, their buggy is damaged almost beyond repair. A request for payment for damages from the driver, Henry Kaufman, results in him driving away without taking Constance seriously.

What follows is an engaging and enlightening tale of the sisters taking on the Kaufman family in their continued request for payment for damages. They endure threats, both verbal and physical, with bricks thrown through their windows and then bullets fired at their home. The sheriff posts deputies at their home and finally manages to make Kaufman pay for the damages to the buggy but the terrorizing of the sisters in their home and town continue. This finally forces the sisters to learn how to shoot a revolver and it’s the sheriff himself who gives them two guns to protect themselves.

There are surprises in store for the reader with more than one mystery going on and a secret that has been kept for more than 15 years. We also learn about the silk industry in New Jersey at the time and the conditions under which the workers toil.

This is a top notch historical fiction read with most of the story based on facts. The characters are unique and fully developed. If you choose to read the book please be sure to check out Amy Stewart’s website as there are pictures of New Jersey during this time period along with pictures of the real Constance Knop who became one of the first female deputies in New Jersey. There are pictures of the other sisters as well. I really enjoyed the website.

Anyone who enjoys historical fiction as well as book clubs would enjoy this book. I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ellis.
1,217 reviews137 followers
July 19, 2016
Although I didn't find this book romping or hilarious, I liked it well enough. If you picked it up because of the cover (if anything, that's Fleurette, not Constance, and she didn't get nearly so much freedom with the gun) or the blurbs you'd likely be disappointed, but we all know that you're not supposed to judge etc. Mostly this made me wonder exactly why, as a society, we find pregnant unmarried ladies to be such hopeless tramps, or why the burden of a child should fall solely on a woman (I mean, I've had a baby, I know why but good grief, it takes two to you know), or why exactly we consider these babies to be an abhorrent burden in the first place. I get that it's not an ideal situation to have your eighteen-year-old get knocked up , but for heaven's sake why does it have to be such a scandal? Spoiler in this just bummed me out, I guess. It was a bit of a hoot that everyone wanted to know if the Kopp sisters had an uncle or someone who could take them in while they were quietly being awesome by themselves out on their farm, and it's interesting to ponder why exactly their mother, who contributed nothing to the household, somehow made it more legitimate since no one wanted to swoop on the girls until she died. As a fan of clever characterization, there's some passages here that are just brilliant.

"'That's good,' I said. 'Now move your ankles and your toes.'
She was wearing the most ridiculous white calfskin boots with pink ribbons for laces.
'Are they all right?' she asked.
I put my hand on her back to steady her. 'Just try to move them. First your ankle.'
'I meant the boots.'
That's when I knew Fleurette would survive." And that's when the reader, in the first four pages, without any blah blah about "This is who Fleurette is" nonetheless knows exactly who Fleurette is. Color me extra pleased that Constance ran out of book before she could hook up with the sheriff. Here's hoping that she does not do so in the inevitable sequel.
Profile Image for Jaylia3.
752 reviews132 followers
October 3, 2015
When the three Kopp sisters drove into town, they had no idea it would unleash a crazy chain of events and a world of trouble. The combative owner of a local silk factory ran them down with his automobile, flipping and crushing their horse drawn buggy, and then refused to pay for the damages. Constance Kopp kept after Henry Kaufman for restitution, their funds were limited and it was only right that he should compensate the sisters, but she had no idea how aggressive, antagonistic and dangerous he would be. Kaufman and his goons threatened their lives, set fire to their home, threw bricks through their windows, and shot bullets around the isolated family farm where sisters lived by themselves. But the Kopp women, especially six-foot-tall no-nonsense Constance, weren’t about to back down. They armed themselves, patrolled their property, and with the help of police set traps to catch their tormentors.

One of the best things about this lively, entertaining book is that it’s based on a true story--the newspaper articles printed in the text are real and the catchy title “Girl Waits With Gun” was one of the headlines. Other than the bare facts not a lot is known about the actual sisters, but the author did a great job creating distinct personalities for them. While the story doesn’t have the fastest pace it is suspenseful, and I loved reading all the colorful and evocative details about life in the early days of the last century.
Profile Image for DeB.
1,000 reviews252 followers
June 21, 2016
For a change, a VERY short review... This was recommended to me by a GR friend and I say, Thank you so much! The summary describes the nuts and bolts, the cover is delightful but I needed a push. If someone asked me about this crazy, delightful, endearing novel, I would say:

"It's ANNE OF GREEN GABLES for GROWNUPS!" Mystery, same time period, headstrong women, klutzy and smart, orphans, farms... So, just go read it!!!

Profile Image for Angela.
601 reviews41 followers
June 23, 2015
This book is a wild ride. It's 1914, an era where women are expected to stay home and take care of the family. Already, the Kopp sisters are an anomaly—rather than move in with their brother, Francis, they opt to live on their own on the family farm following their mother's passing. And they do quite well for themselves, thank you very much.

They're skilled at isolation, until an automobile runs into their buggy on the road. A simple request for payment for damages spirals into threatening letters from the driver, visits to the police station, and the sisters learning how to use a revolver in self-defense. Constance Kopp finds herself traveling around New Jersey and New York, gathering whatever information she can to make sure this well-to-do menace is put in jail.

The Kopp sisters aren't your average turn-of-the-century women, and from the start you love their brash and seemingly unladylike personalities. The best part? This all happened, and Constance ultimately became one of America's first female deputy sheriffs. Now that's the kind of history I'm interested in. They don't hide the fact they're unmarried, and they don't pretend they want to be anything but who they are. Even when men are shooting at their house and throwing bricks through windows, they don't even consider moving in with their brother—the "man of the house"—because they can protect themselves. It's women like these who paved the way for the rest of us.

Also: Kudos to the cover artist, because this book is gorgeous.
Profile Image for LJ.
3,159 reviews311 followers
March 2, 2018
First Sentence: Our troubles began in the summer of 1914, the year I turned thirty-five.

Constance Kopp and her two sisters live on a farm in New Jersey. While in town, their buggy is rammed by an automobile driven by Henry Kaufman head of the Kaufman Silk Dying Company. The harder Constance tries to collect the money due them for damages, the more intense and violent become the threats and attacks on the sisters, causing Constance to seek help from the police and Sheriff Heath. But refusing to pay damages is not only crime of which Kaufman and his gang are guilty.

It’s always a pleasure to come across a book based on real people and cases, and Constance Kopp someone one can’t help but like from the outset. She is capable and doesn’t allow herself to be intimidated. In fact, all the characters are intriguing. How can one not enjoy Fleurette’s sass or Norm’s ingenuity?

Stewart paints a painfully accurate picture of life for unmarried women of this time, and of life for workers in mill towns. However, it is also important to remember that Constance’s experience is not atypical for women today as well.

The plot is very well done. Constance’s past is very skillfully woven in revealing layers and details of her life as the story evolves. The way in which Constance receives her training from everyone, at every step along the way is fascinating. There is also a thought-provoking lesson on people’s sense of duty—“I couldn’t understand how anyone would take hold of a stranger and pout out their troubles. But now I realized that people did it all the time. They called for help. And some people would answer, out of a sense of duty, and a sense of belonging to the world around them.”

The newspaper articles interspersed within the story are an excellent insight into journalism of the time. The fact that they are real, as were the letters included, makes them even better.

“Girl Waits with Gun” is a well-done and fascinating story. It’s a perfect blend of fact as a basis for fiction.

GIRL WAITS WITH GUN (Hist Mys-Constance Kopp-New Jersey-1914) - VG+
Stewart, Amy – 1st of series
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – Sept 2015
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