"Girl Waits With Gun: A Novel" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), by Amy Stewart
One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs got her unexpected start when a car rammed into her horse-drawn buggy, upending her quiet farm life.
This is the true-life backdrop of the new novel "Girl Waits With Gun" by Amy Stewart, author of the best-seller "The Drunken Botanist."
The book is set in New Jersey in 1914 and follows Constance Kopp as she tries to recover damages from the driver, a surly factory owner who sent threatening letters warning her to back off. As the situation escalated, shots were fired at the house that she and her sisters lived in, and the local sheriff deemed it prudent to give them revolvers to protect themselves.
The yearlong saga gives Kopp "the realization that we have to be a part of the world in which we live. We don't scurry away when we're in trouble, or when someone else is. We don't run and hide."
Well-written with sharply drawn characters and the occasional plot twist, "Girl Waits With Gun" is an absorbing throwback to a bygone era. The story does lag at times and one wishes it explored Kopp's experience in the pioneering job, an area left completely untouched by the author.
Quibbles aside, it's a solid book, and Stewart's helpful notes allow readers to appreciate just how much of the tale is true.