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Etta

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Etta Cover

ISBN13: 9780345503688
ISBN10: 0345503686
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Beautiful, elusive, and refined, Etta Place captivated the nation at the turn of the last century as she dodged the law with the Wild Bunch, led by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Her true identity and fate have remained a mystery that has tantalized historians for decades. Now, for the first time, Gerald Kolpan envisions this remarkable womans life in a stunning debut novel.

Kolpan imagines that Etta Place was born Lorinda Jameson, the daughter of a prominent financier, who becomes known as the loveliest of the citys debutantes when she makes her entrance into Philadelphia society. Though her position in life is already assured, her true calling is on horseback. She can ride as well as any man and handle a rifle even better. But when a tragedy leads to a dramatic reversal of fortune, Lorinda is left orphaned, penniless, homeless, and pursued by the ruthless Black Hand mafia.

Rechristened “Etta Place” to ensure her safety, the young woman travels to the farthest reaches of civilization, working as a “Harvey Girl” waitress in Grand Junction, Colorado. There, fate intervenes once more and she again finds herself on the run from the ruthless Pinkerton Detective Agency. But this time she has company. She soon finds herself at the legendary hideout at Hole-in-the-Wall, Wyoming, where she meets the charismatic Butch Cassidy and the handsome, troubled Harry Longbaugh, a.k.a. the Sundance Kid. Through a series of holdups and heists, Etta and Harry begin an epic and ultimately tragic romance, which will be the greatest of Ettas life. Then, when Etta meets the young and idealistic Eleanor Roosevelt, her life is changed forever.

Blending a compelling love story, high adventure, and thrilling historical drama, Etta is an electrifying novel. With a sweeping 1900s setting, colorful storytelling, and larger-than-life characters, Etta is debut that is both captivating and unforgettable.

Review:

"The sketchy details of the life of Etta Place, outlaw and paramour of William 'Sundance Kid' Longabaugh, are imaginatively filled in by first-time novelist Kolpan in this winning tale of the Wild West. After her wealthy father's disgrace and demise, Etta departs Philadelphia society and heads west to become a Harvey Girl on the railroad in Colorado, where a series of misadventures leads her to the Hole-in-the-Wall gang. Romanced by Longabaugh and the fugitive lifestyle, Place earns an integral part in the gang through her shooting and riding skills as well as her beauty and sophistication. Pursued by the police, Pinkertons, the Black Hand and rival desperado Kid Curry, Etta and the Sundance Kid make their way across the country, diving from one daring adventure to another. The novel is not without its flaws: Etta's friendship with a young Eleanor Roosevelt and her encounters with other luminaries can seem precious, and her proto-feminism feels too canned. But the wide-screen drama of Etta's life makes these choices forgivable, and Kolpan's snappy storytelling makes it impossible not to want to ride along as the characters careen toward their tragic ends." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

Gerald Kolpan is an Emmy Award-winning television reporter in Philadelphia. Prior to his television career he wrote for newspapers and magazines nationwide and was a frequent contributor to NPRs All Things Considered. Etta is his first book.

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Krista Smith-Moroziuk, May 4, 2009 (view all comments by Krista Smith-Moroziuk)
Gerald Kolpan brings this larger than life character alive in this fast moving tale. She was a remarkable woman in a remarkable time. You can't help but wonder how her life would have turned out if her mother had lived after giving birth to her, or if her father never committed suicide. Surely there wouldn't be a book about her.
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readersrespite, April 18, 2009 (view all comments by readersrespite)
American historical fiction is a tricky genre. For one thing, there isn't too much American history to choose from. Two hundred years is a relatively short time frame and when much of that period was taken up by western expansion, you end up with a lot of novels grouped under the Western genre heading.

Gerald Kolpan's debut novel, Etta, might have been just another western or frontier romance book but for one thing: Etta Place was an actual person.

Those of you familiar with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are bound to recognize her: Etta Place was Sundance's girl (possibly wife?). One thing is for certain, Kolpan couldn't have found a character more laced with possibility.

Very little is known about the real Etta Place, other than she did indeed exist. There's even a photo of her and Sundance. We know she was a member of Cassidy's Hole in the Wall Gang and a pretty darned good outlaw. But eyewitness accounts of the day also say that she was an incredibly refined woman with the manners and bearing of a well-bred young woman of wealth.

But aside from this, nothing is known about Etta. Readers had to wait for Kolpan to come along, fill in the blanks with his rich imagination and give us Etta's story.

The story is beautifully presented and Kolpan's suppositions are surprisingly plausible. The journey from Etta's priviledged upbringing to a tough Hole in the Wall gang member is seamless and her great love with Sundance is both delicate and gritty, befitting the times.

If I had any complaints, it would have be the brevity of Butch, Sundance and Etta's time in South America. As the story drew to a close, it's as if Kolpan wanted to fit too much information in too few pages and the result was a slightly hurried ending that could have been more fleshed out.

But that complaint shouldn't stop you from reading Etta. It is a fabulous example of just how good American historical fiction can be....even if the cover suffers woman-with-her-head-cut-off syndrome.

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Product Details

ISBN:
9780345503688
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Kolpan, Gerald
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Frontier and pioneer life
Subject:
West (u.s.)
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Western stories
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090324
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9.55 x 6.6 x 1.15 in 1.2 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Etta Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345503688 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The sketchy details of the life of Etta Place, outlaw and paramour of William 'Sundance Kid' Longabaugh, are imaginatively filled in by first-time novelist Kolpan in this winning tale of the Wild West. After her wealthy father's disgrace and demise, Etta departs Philadelphia society and heads west to become a Harvey Girl on the railroad in Colorado, where a series of misadventures leads her to the Hole-in-the-Wall gang. Romanced by Longabaugh and the fugitive lifestyle, Place earns an integral part in the gang through her shooting and riding skills as well as her beauty and sophistication. Pursued by the police, Pinkertons, the Black Hand and rival desperado Kid Curry, Etta and the Sundance Kid make their way across the country, diving from one daring adventure to another. The novel is not without its flaws: Etta's friendship with a young Eleanor Roosevelt and her encounters with other luminaries can seem precious, and her proto-feminism feels too canned. But the wide-screen drama of Etta's life makes these choices forgivable, and Kolpan's snappy storytelling makes it impossible not to want to ride along as the characters careen toward their tragic ends." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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