“Girls Waits With Gun”, by Amy Stewart

Allow me to introduce you to the sisters Kopp – Constance, Norma, and Fleurette. What makes them so special? Well, for one thing, these spirited ladies were real.  It’s a book of fiction, yes, but many of the characters are people who truly existed, but the story that swirls around them is somewhat fictionalized.  Ms Stewart aimed at accuracy in certain aspects of her telling of the high adventures of the Sisters Kopp, starting right at the beginning with a smash up between the rowdy new invention,the motor car and a horse drawn carriage by a beloved equine of the family, Dolley.

The year is 1914.  The surly, spoiled Henry Kaufman, gin smuggler of ill repute hurls his motorcar headlong into the carriage of the sisters three and Dolley, and refuses to pay for damages, which they feel is his responsibility,  What ensues is a twisting tail of stalking, harassment, and gun shooting lessons with the local sheriff.  Everyone knows of Mr Kaufman’s reputation for too much booze, too much privilege, a misplaced sense of entitlement and low morals.  This mix becomes dangerous as winter sets in in earnest and the spoiled boy and his band of thugs begin a campaign of terror against the sisters who are relying on dwindling resources to get them through the winter in a remote homestead with little going for it.

The beginning of this story was seeded from the research of a previously published book by Ms Stewart, The Drunken Botanist, which introduces us to a ne’er-do-well  by the name of Henry Kaufman.  A story in a newspaper of that day splashed the headlines of a collision between a fellow of the same name and three sisters on a horse-drawn buggy. This story was so intriguing, thanks to those indomitable sisters and the outcome of that fateful day, the story had to be told.  Of course Amy Stewart’s telling was spot on for suspense, capturing the essence of the three very different women as they struggle to get through one of  the worst winters they’ve ever experienced made worse by the kidnapping threats, arson attempts, and harassment from the Band of Surlies lead by Kaufman.

This story was a fun, intriguing and captivating read top to bottom.  It’s definitely captivated my inner suffragette’s heart with these feisty women working with little and gaining so much in return.  They’re independent and remain so throughout their time in this story though now I’m curious to hear more of their adventures. The next in this series (yes, there’s more) is entitled Lady Cop Makes Trouble, which I can’t help but feel it’s both a play on words and a teaser of things to come.  Let’s just say Constance finds her calling and runs with it.

Grab this one and you’ll be hooked to join them as they sure0footedly march along through their lives and grow into their own presences in just after turn of the century  United States.  You’ll love their quirky lovable ways, laugh with those attention-grabbing, obscure headlines Norma is so fond of and the fashion stylings of Fleurette making her mark on society as it matures into the industrial age.

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