I liked everything this book – it’s a semi-true historical story with a strong female character, and it’s set in an interesting time. More than that, it’s a fun story full of drama and adventure.
Constance Kopp lives with her two sisters on a farm in New Jersey in 1914. At the age of 35, she’s lived a quiet life. Her main goal is to maintain her independence and keep the family farm going.
Now I was starting to wonder if I would live my whole life out here. I worried that I was destined to die in the same bed my mother had died in, leaving nothing but a cellar full of parsnips and uneven rows of stitches along cuffs and collars that nobody even remembered me making.
On a ride into town (Paterson, NJ), a car runs into their carriage. When Constance tries to get reparations in the amount of $50 from the driver, a wealthy factory owner, she finds her life turned upside down. The driver and his thugs make death threats, throw bricks through their windows, and threaten to abduct Constance’s pretty young sister Fleurette.
Girl Waits with Gun is the story of how Constance learns to protect her family, but more importantly, she learns that her strength and intelligence are good for more than just keeping up the farm.
This book is written with intelligence, humor, and heart. And I don’t say that about too many books. I loved the relationships between Constance, Norma, and Fleurette, and even their brother and his wife. Stewart draws complex, well-rounded characters. Norma loves newspaper stories and carrier pigeons, and Fleurette loves fashion and drama. These characters are selfish in some ways but also care deeply about each other.
Even our villain Henry Kaufman is described in an interesting way:
He would’ve seemed entirely harmless if there hadn’t been a cold distance in his eyes and an angry set to his mouth. Here in this factory, he seemed like a man who didn’t want what he had, but also didn’t have exactly what he wanted.
You sort of know how this story ends before it even begins, because the book “jacket” will tell you this is the story of the first female deputy sheriff. But that doesn’t detract from the book. As Constance struggles to make sense of her life, and to find something in her life she can commit to, the reader knows the answer long before she does. But it’s worth the wait.