Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
The title is taken from a newspaper headline in 1914. Three unconventional sisters are living on a small farm near Paterson, New Jersey. Tall, independent Constance Kopp and animal-loving Norma are raising their pretty teenaged sister Fleurette after their mother’s death. When a car driven by factory owner Henry Kaufman crashes into their horse-drawn buggy, Constance sends him a bill for the damage. When there’s no response, Constance delivers another bill to the factory, and gets into a confrontation with Kaufman. This begins months of trouble for the Kopp sisters. The sisters are harassed, bricks are thrown through windows of their house with notes, and Fleurette is threatened with kidnapping. With the help of Sheriff Robert Heath, Constance and Norma are prepared to defend their home and younger sister. Constance also tries to help Lucy, who works as a silk-dyer for Kaufman, and whose young son is missing after a strike. Sheriff Heath is very supportive, but his resources are limited, and the sisters may have to move into town and live with their brother Francis and his wife. What’s truly remarkable about this suspenseful book is that all of the characters except Lucy were real people. The pace intensifies, the writing style is descriptive, and the settings are vividly drawn. Subplots are added, conversations imagined, and Norma’s fondness for homing pigeons is entirely fictional, but the well-developed characters, genuine suspense, and an incredible true secret that is gradually revealed to the reader all add up to a memorable first novel. Find out more about the sisters on the author’s website, or wait for the planned sequel.