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. (From the book jacket.)
What a terrific read! Amy Stewart has taken the bare bones of a historical case, and fleshed them out into a wonderfully entertaining story. The Kopp sisters, Constance, Norma, and Fleurette, are all unusual women for their time, and each in her own way. I admired steadfast Constance greatly, made allowances for flighty little Fleurette (she’s only a child), and absolutely loved curmudgeonly Norma. I feared for their safety as the gang’s harassment campaign built in intensity, and cheered their perseverance.
Woven into the main story of the feud are other little mysteries–some I think you’ll guess rather quickly, and others that came as big “Ah-hah!” moments. All the way through, the story was completely engrossing. I’m so happy to know that Stewart plans to write more stories featuring Constance Kopp and Sheriff Robert Heath; they are a wonderful new crime-fighting partnership!
And with this post, I wrap up another highly entertaining RIP season. What a prime crop of books passed through my hands this year! I spent some time browsing a bookstore yesterday and picked up two Minette Walters titles I haven’t read yet, and am wondering if I can hold off on them until next year…? Probably not. Maybe a better idea would be to institute a monthly RIP Reads feature? Hmm…