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2785480,255 (3.68)48
When Lorinda Jameson's bankrupt father commits suicide and the infamous Black Hand mafia is dispatched to collect his debts -- or her head. The young orphan and Philadelphia debutante rechristens herself "Etta Place" and goes West to earn her keep as a waitress in a remote railroad outpost. But fate and murder soon intervene, and Etta joins forces with Butch Cassidy's notorious gang, The Wild Bunch. In their hide-out at Hole-in-the-Wall, Wyoming, Etta meets Harry Longbaugh, a.k.a. the Sundance Kid, and begins the passionate and tragic romance that will be the great love of her life. Every step of the way, Etta's life on the lam is fraught with danger and excitement.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
Recently my daughter and I had a movie night together and watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (aside: they don't make 'em like Messrs. Newman and Redford anymore). Love that movie, and always have. It reminded me that buried in a pile somewhere was Etta, which a dear LT friend had read and reviewed years and years ago, so I dug it out.

Hardly anything is known about Etta Place, companion to Mr. Harry Longabaugh, aka the Sundance Kid. Here, Gerald Kolpan imagines her life as a sweeping saga beginning in wealth and privilege and driven to outlaw life following pursuit by the mafia and a stint as a Harvey Girl. The book is fun, if far-fetched, and Etta is a very strong character who lives life on her own terms, conducting herself with grace and grit. I do enjoy books that mix the real with the fictional -- Etta here is mostly fiction as so little is known about her, and in addition to Cassidy and Sundance, she mixes with Eleanor Roosevelt, "Buffalo" Bill Cody, and Charles Siringo, the famous Pinkerton detective.

I enjoyed the book but... this quibble is perhaps unfair: I often resist watching movie or TV adaptations of books because the production rarely matches the story as I've created it in my head. This book suffers from the reverse. I love the movie so much that the book just doesn't fit into the same place in my brain occupied by Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, and Ms. Etta Place.
1 vote AMQS | Feb 2, 2016 |
Initially seemed promising, but Etta developed into a female Forrest Gump taking on the identities of Annie Oakley, Eleanor Roosevelt's love interest, a member of the Hole-in-the Wall Gang and the Black Hand... Ludicrous is a more apt description. Disappointing. ( )
  Jeanne.Miller | Nov 12, 2014 |
Etta, the novel, felt to me like a western Robin Hood. Yet I enjoyed it, anyway. With so little known about the historical Etta, the author’s imaginings of how a society lady may have come to such a place in her life seemed perfectly plausible. I enjoyed the natural weaving together of the imaginary and the historical figures. Theodore Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt sharing pages with the likes of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Kid Curry, Annie Oakley, and Siringo. The personalities he gave to each of them were very fitting to his story, and his settings were, likewise, quite real. Using news articles, Pinkerton files, and fictional diaries to ice things together was a nice touch. The only parts I didn’t enjoy were the Trotsky/Marxism segments. I suppose that must have been part of the actual history, but its inclusion felt forced into the story line. In the author’s notes, there was an explanation of which subjects had been “tampered with” for the sake of the story, and which characters were fictional. Nicely done. Altogether, a very enjoyable western. ( )
  countrylife | Jul 20, 2012 |
I have long been fascinated by the American West, how it was discovered and settled, and the legends and stories of the people behind it’s history. The Wild Bunch, led by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid , were some of it’s last outlaws. The beautiful and mysterious Etta Place, Sundance’s companion has certainly developed into a legend herself. Etta by Gerald Kolpan takes the few facts known about this woman and gives us an entertaining story of what “might have been” weaving famous people and actual events throughout.

This turn-of-the-century story shows us both the last days of the wild west and the booming growth of the eastern States. It was a time of great change in America with new people, new inventions, and new political ideas pouring in. Gerald Kolpan envisions Etta as a daughter of a prominent Philadelphia family. Her mother id dead and her father has become an alcoholic and a gambler. He takes his life leaving his daughter to face the mess of debts he has left behind. The worst of these debts was owed to “The Black Hand” a criminal mob who intend to collect. With help from the family lawyer, she gets a new identity and is hired on to be a Harvey Girl in the new railway restaurants that were springing up along the western rails. She eventually comes into contact with Harry “Sundance Kid” Longbaugh and they fall in love.

I really enjoyed this imaginative story and the author’s use of letters, diaries and newspaper articles woven together gave me a real sense of time and place. My only drawback, and it is a big one, was that the characters felt a little one dimensional and flat. So kudos to the author for a great story, and giving me lots of information about the time period, but unfortunately Etta never became a book that involved me deeply or one that will linger in my memory. ( )
2 vote DeltaQueen50 | Jun 14, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This debut work of historical fiction is based on the real-life Etta Place, the woman who had a romance with Harry Longbaugh, aka the Sundance Kid. Very little is known about her, so Gerald Koplan took real people and events and crafted a work of fiction around them.

Lorinda Jameson is a young woman when her father commits suicide because of his overwhelming debts. She is forced to flee Philadelphia when her father’s debtors come knocking. She becomes a Harvey Girl, waiting tables in Grand Junction, Colorado. Forced to kill a kill a prominent citizen who was attempting to assault her, she finds herself on the run once again. She ends up in the company of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang with the Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy. And there her adventures really begin when she becomes one of the gang, robbing banks and trains.

It was interesting to read Koplan’s story about a woman we know so little about, but I felt the writing could have been tighter. Hopefully with time and practice his writing will improve. ( )
1 vote justpeachy | Jun 18, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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Manhattan - Mrs. Lorinda Jameson Carr, wife of the late Ralph Worthington Carr, died at her Fifth Avenue apartment late Wednesday morning.
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When Lorinda Jameson's bankrupt father commits suicide and the infamous Black Hand mafia is dispatched to collect his debts -- or her head. The young orphan and Philadelphia debutante rechristens herself "Etta Place" and goes West to earn her keep as a waitress in a remote railroad outpost. But fate and murder soon intervene, and Etta joins forces with Butch Cassidy's notorious gang, The Wild Bunch. In their hide-out at Hole-in-the-Wall, Wyoming, Etta meets Harry Longbaugh, a.k.a. the Sundance Kid, and begins the passionate and tragic romance that will be the great love of her life. Every step of the way, Etta's life on the lam is fraught with danger and excitement.

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(From the back of the book) Next to nothing is known about the real Etta Place - where she came from, what her real name was, or what became of her after her legendary romance with the Sundance Kid. This spellbinding nvel imagines that Etta is a Philadelphia debutante whose father's death leaves her orphaned, bankrupt, and a target of the infamous Black Hand mafia. She then flees west using an alias: the name of the street on which she grew up.

Etta initially earns her way as a "Harvey Girl" waitress in a remote Colorado railroad outpost, but after narrowly escaping a violent crime she joins forces with Butch Cassidy's notorious gang, the Wild Bunch. At every step, Etta's life on the lam is marked by danger, excitement, and encounters with dynamic characters. She falls in love with the Sundance Kid, grows close to a young Eleanor Roosevelt, impersonates Annie Oakley in Buffalo Bill's famous Wild West show, and eludes kidnapping and the noose. Weaving together diary entries, Pinkerton Detective Agency memos, newspaper articles, and historical documents (all richly imagined), Gerald Kolpan makes a fiction debut that is both captivating and unforgettable.
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