Author: Amy Stewart
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Type of book: 1914-1915, women trying to be independent, life on a farm, sisterhood, survival, secrets, accident, mystery, comedy, justice, weapons, attempted murders
Year it was published:2015
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 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.
“A smart, romping adventure, featuring some of the most memorable and powerful female characters I've seen in print for a long time. I loved every page as I followed the Kopp sisters through a too-good-to-be-true (but mostly true!) tale of violence, courage, stubbornness, and resourcefulness.” — Elizabeth Gilbert
Main characters included Constance, Norma, Fleurette and their mother who has recently passed away. There are male characters, but for simplicity's sake, they weren't very good towards the women, aside from their brother. The girls' mother is best described as old fashioned and someone who hates and/or looks down on Jewish people. She is also more of a hermit and wanted for all of her girls to settle down and get married. She is also, in some cases, incapable of making her own decisions. Constance is the eldest sister and seems to be lacking control of her own life, often letting Norma or her mother decide everything. One time when she did decide to do something, it came with very disastrous consequences. Throughout the book she develops her powers of keen observation and being protective of her family and trying to get and give justice to others. Norma is the middle sister who is obsessed with pigeons and earlier in the womens' lives was more of a leader than Constance and the mother were. She is very independent minded and will not follow conventional thoughts or ideas. The youngest, Fleurette, is best described as a talented sewer and dressmaker as well as high strung and someone who wants to be on stage or in Hollywood and also someone who is a drama queen and loves acting the part.
Eventually anyone can regain control of their lives
The story is in first person narrative from Constance's point of view, and not once did it veer off to give Norma's or Fleurette's points of view, but the reader sees everything through Constance's eyes. The story moves along at a pace that's not too slow nor too fast and the author seems to know the right number of things to include that makes the story perfectly balanced; that is, while reading the book, I was never bored with the characters nor with the situation, but instead I was dying to know what happens next.
When I started to read the book, I thought it would be a romantic comedy type book that would be set in early 20th century. I was right about the comedy aspect, but oh boy was I wrong about the romance. I think this is a rare book that doesn't have a situation where the heroines get their men. In fact, the book focuses a lot on family relationships, particularly the sisterly bond between Constance and her two sisters Fleurette and Norma which I've greatly enjoyed as well as their attempts to live by themselves without anyone's help. Throughout that year of 1914, a lot of things happen and Constance matures a lot throughout the novel, getting ready to take on additional responsibilities and finally starting to be in charge of her own life. The story greatly drew me in to it and once you start, you won't be able to stop.
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4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)