GIRL WAITS WITH GUN

Amy Stewart

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Drunken Botanist comes an enthralling novel based on the forgotten true story of one of the nation’s first female crime fighters.

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 from city to country fifteen years ago. When a powerful, ruthless factory owner runs down their buggy, a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks,

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From the New York Times best-selling author of The Drunken Botanist comes an enthralling novel based on the forgotten true story of one of the nation’s first female crime fighters.

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 from city to country fifteen years ago. When a powerful, ruthless factory owner runs down their buggy, a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their farm. The sheriff enlists her help, and it turns out Constance has knack for outwitting (and disarming) the criminal element that might just take her back out into the world and onto a new path in life. Quick-witted and full of madcap escapades, Girl Waits with Gun is a story about one woman rallying the courage to stand up for and grow into herself — with a little help from sisters and sheriffs along the way.

Through Amy Stewart’s exuberant storytelling, Constance Kopp catapults from forgotten historical anecdote to unforgettable historical fiction heroine — an outsized woman not only ahead of her time but sometimes, even, ahead of ours.

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  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Hardcover
  • September 2015
  • 416 Pages
  • 9780544409910

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$27.00

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About Amy Stewart

Amy Stewart is the award-winning author of six books, including the bestsellers The Drunken Botanist and Wicked Plants. She and her husband live in Eureka, California, where they own a bookstore called Eureka Books.

Praise

A National Indie Bestseller
A New York Times Editors’ Choice
A September 2015 Indie Next Pick
One of NPR’s “Best Books of 2015”
One of People‘s “Best Books of the Fall”
One of the Washington Post‘s “Notable Fiction Books of 2015”
One of USA Today‘s “New and Noteworthy”
One of New York Post‘s “Must-Read” Books
One of Cosmopolitan‘s “24 New Books to Read this Fall”
One of Paste Magazine‘s “15 of the Best New Books in September 2015”
A Publishers Weekly “Best Book of 2015”
One of BookPage’s “Best Books of 2015”
One of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s “Best Books of 2015”
One of Publishers Lunch’s “Favorite Books of 2015, From the News Editor”
A Publishers Marketplace Buzz Book of 2015, Fall/Winter

Stewart gives us three sisters whose bond — scratchy and well-worn but stronger for it, as can happen with family ties — is unspoken but effortless. Girl Waits With Gun might sometimes be a story in which truth is stranger than fiction, but it also makes for pretty charming fiction.”—NPR

Fans of strong female characters will find their new favorite heroine in Constance Kopp, who takes a bold stand against a gang that is threatening her family. Debut novelist Amy Stewart’s Girl Waits With Gun is a historical thrill ride, racing through funny, tragic, and terrifying scenes. Even better, it’s based on the true story of one of the United States’ first female deputy sheriffs and her brave, amazing sisters.”Cosmopolitan, “24 New Books to Read this Fall”

An American answer to Maisie Dobbs.”—USA Today

It’s set in 1914, but its heroine, Constance Kopp, feels about 100 years more modern as she boldly takes on a gang hellbent on destroying her family.”—Glamour

Discussion Questions

1. From horse-drawn wagons to carrier pigeons, the norms of 1914 obviously no longer exist today. Talk about the world Constance and her sisters live in, in New Jersey and on their farm. Are there any aspects of life in 1914 you wish had survived?

2. After Henry Kaufman’s first visit to their farm, Constance views her sisters from afar and thinks, “They looked like those fuzzy figures in a picture postcard, frozen in place, staring out from some world that no longer existed” (p. 52). What is the world that no longer exists? Why is it gone, and what has replaced it?

3. What is it about Lucy Blake’s story that haunts Constance so? Why do you think she helps her when interfering with Henry Kaufman has already brought a threat to her family?

4. It’s clear that Constance is a unique woman for her time. But Sheriff Heath is also unusual in that he takes the Kopp sisters seriously when no one else would. Why do you think he helps them? What would you have done in their shoes?

5. At their Wyckoff farm, both Norma and Constance were encouraged to continue their mother’s “family tradition” of fear and distrust. In what ways did the sisters fall in line, and in what ways did they fail to heed her warnings? Do you think they felt justified in ignoring her warnings?

6. On page 384, Fleurette suggests that their year of harassment at the hands of Henry Kaufman was also the most interesting year of their lives, and therefore might not have been such a bad thing in the end. What if it were you—would you agree with Fleurette?

7. The author created a signature cocktail for the book called the New Jersey Automobile based on an actual 1910s-era cocktail called the Automobile. What would Norma think about an alcoholic beverage being named after their run-in with Henry Kaufman?

8. There’s a lot of talk these days about characters’ likability. Would you call the Kopp sisters likable? Do you think they even liked each other? Did you suspect the family secret? When did you figure it out?