Etta by Gerald Kolpan
A Novel

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Synopsis

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 woman’s 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 city’s 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 Etta’s 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.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Gerald Kolpan

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Gerald Kolpan, author of Etta (2009), previously was a contributor to NPR's All Things Considered and for twenty years was the Emmy award-winning features reporter for Philly's WXTF-TV. He lives in Philadelphia.
 
Published March 20, 2009 by Ballantine Books. 338 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Westerns. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Etta

Kirkus Reviews

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There Etta encounters a virginal Eleanor Roosevelt (who, soon enough, becomes her beloved “Little Nell”), and she joins Colonel William Cody’s Wild West show (where she subs for the departed Annie Oakley).

Mar 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Etta: A Novel

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USA Today

It may be impossible to read Gerald Kolpan's Etta and not imagine the young dark-haired beauty Katharine Ross.You might recall, it was Ross' fetching portrayal of Etta Place in the 1969 classic Western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid that raised public interest in one of the Wild West's most i...

| Read Full Review of Etta: A Novel

Look At OKC

Imagining the fate of characters pulled from fact or fiction has become standard stuff in the book trade.

| Read Full Review of Etta: A Novel

Huntington News

Philadelphia journalist Gerald Kolpan was intrigued enough by the movie to write "Etta: A Novel" (Ballantine Books, $25, 336 pages), which takes the sketchy information about the real life Etta Place and re-imagines her as Lorinda Jameson, the orphaned daughter of a prominent Philadelphia financi...

Mar 24 2009 | Read Full Review of Etta: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

The Story: Very little is known about Etta Place, the beautiful Wild West outlaw who, in the 1900s, won the heart of Harry Longbaugh, also known as the Sundance Kid.

Mar 16 2009 | Read Full Review of Etta: A Novel

Book Blogs

I've always enjoyed reading western-themed novels and Etta by Geald Kolpan is a very entertaining story.

Apr 21 2009 | Read Full Review of Etta: A Novel

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