Friday, April 8, 2016

Book Review: Girl Waits With Gun

Well, I wasn't sure I would get this review up on time but I did it, I'm calling that my victory for the week and will get back to working on my spring round-up post I suppose.

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Sisters Constance, Norma, and Fleurette have a brother but no father and no husbands and thus live a reclusive, quiet life in the year leading up to the first world war. Which is exactly how they like it, being secretive of nature, having a dark past, and little money, all of which are helped by being withdrawn from the world. But when a local gangster crashes into their carriage all that eldest Constance wants is a fair recompense for the damage and finds that the world isn't precisely as dangerous as their mother always said but that it can be very frustrating indeed.

I was a little thrown off when the book introduces itself as a story that begins in the summer of 1914, the year Archduke Ferdinand was shot. I expected that the story would match that worldly establishing note but it never did, it's not necessarily a problem but it's one of many times where the story didn't play out quite as I expected.

I was a bit taken aback by how little I cared for the characters by the end, I simply didn't find any of them very sympathetic. Oldest Constance comes the closest, like the others she is still a bit too naive for my taste but her determination and the greater knowledge she has of their situation makes her a bit more likable. Norma and Fleurette felt a little too stereotypical however; Norma is "the country woman", brusque and uninterested in the world outside of a very specific hobby, it often felt like she was trying to will the world away and pretend that their incoming money problems didn't exist, something that was a little at odds with some of her past actions. And Fleurette was what stories tell me 16 year olds are like, dreamy and petulant she seemed like a hideous pain and I had no sympathy for her siblings who practically refused to treat her as the young adult she was. 

All of that combined with the story and there just wasn't much for me to latch onto. Again, the story is like the characters, realistic to a degree but unlikable for it. I was fine with how Constance's case took a very long time but yet, for all her actions there just wasn't much for her to do in the story. She doesn't leave the story very much changed (none of the characters do) and the world is only a little different for her actions, simply put the story lacks impact. I am fine with stories that rest more on the shoulders of their characters than on the plot, like Nella Last's War, but I suppose the characters didn't feel nuanced enough for this to work. This isn't a bad book per-say but it wasn't a book for me. Apparently it is based off of the real life Kopp sisters (I was wondering when the story started with the titular quote) and I am a bit curious in reading more about them but I'm afraid that's as far as my interest in this series goes.