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.
The best part of this book, the way Stewart provided the backstory of Constance’s accidental stumbling into position of deputy sheriff. Constance evolves and ferrets who she is in her self-discovering sojourn as we read of one inspiring woman tapping into her authentic self.
Constance, a maverick, fascinating, in short a remarkable woman. A woman refusing to fit into societal expectations, norms. Constance wanted to pursue a career, however, her mother disagreed with her desires, as well as the era proving difficult. Infrequent snippets of her past reveal threads weaving this woman into who she truly is today. The much younger version of Constance is a sharp contrast to the mature woman we are privy to, her attempt in navigating life leading to a few dicey situations on the precipice of ruin, fortunately her family serves by her side.
The reader will receive a crash course in the happenings of circa 1914, Stewart creates a vivid setting complete with detailed accouterments. The tension of females is felt as time warrants change as women demand and fight for more than their predecessors. Constance’s bravery and courage for nonconformity must have caused her peers to pause, perhaps they lacked the determination Constance possesses, once again she inspired even the ones remaining silence yet wishful.
The pace felt sluggish, also a lot of peripheral scenes distracted and dragged in certain portions, really serving no merit translating to padding as opposed to purpose.
Stewart provides a smart take on an incredibly new-fashioned woman.
Amy Stewart is the author of seven books. Her latest, Girl Waits With Gun, is a novel based on a true story. She has also written six nonfiction books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world, including four New York Times bestsellers: The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Bugs, Wicked Plants, and Flower Confidential. She lives in Eureka, California, with her husband Scott Brown, who is a rare book dealer. They own a bookstore called Eureka Books. The store is housed in a classic nineteenth-century Victorian building that Amy very much hopes is haunted.
Stewart has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many other newspapers and magazines, and has appeared frequently on National Public Radio, CBS Sunday Morning, and–just once–on TLC’s Cake Boss. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the American Horticulture Society’s Book Award, and an International Association of Culinary Professionals Food Writing Award.
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