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Etta

3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  589 Ratings  ·  189 Reviews
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 debu ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 24th 2009 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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The Help by Kathryn StockettThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan BradleyView Points and Points of View by Clive BlakeCutting for Stone by Abraham VergheseLet the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
Beautiful Books for Summer 2009
33rd out of 84 books — 79 voters
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Best Westerns
235th out of 748 books — 980 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,217)
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Amy
Feb 20, 2009 Amy rated it did not like it
Shelves: vine, 2009
I really wanted to love this book.
It had everything going for it – a gun toting kick ass heroine, a historical mystery, my favorite genre (historical fiction), my favorite time period, and even a preferred historical fiction style of mixed media – journal entries, newspapers, and straight up fiction.
Only a little bit into the book, I conceded to myself that the dialogue was a little flat, but at least the action was interesting and the character of Etta had potential. While it might not be as a
...more
Misfit
Feb 15, 2009 Misfit rated it liked it
Raised in the lap of luxury by her adoring father, eighteen-year-old Lorinda Jameson gets the shock of her life when she's left orphaned and with a mountain of debt - including huge gambling debts to the Black Hand mafia, who are determined to kill or maim anyone who can't repay. A family friend arranges for Lorinda to travel west and take employment as a Harvey girl, and now going by the name of Etta Place she serves meals to diners in Grand Junction Colorado. Everything goes well in her new li ...more
Karen
Oct 08, 2010 Karen rated it it was amazing
I absolutley loved every page of this book and wished it was 500 pages instead of 300. Historical fiction based on facts of "Etta", the girlfriend of The Sundance Kid (of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid fame). Great story telling starting in 1898 Philadelphia going on to Grand Junction, Colorado and ending in New York City. The author makes you feel like you are riding on the horse behind her. Was glad to finish it only in the fact that I couldn't get anything else done but read this book!
Andrea Dowd
Apr 30, 2009 Andrea Dowd rated it liked it
I won this book on GoodReads--thanks so much!

"Etta" is the imagined tale of an actual woman. Etta Place ran around with Butch Cassidy and was the "wife/partner" of the Sundance Kid. Then, she disappeared and now one knew anything else about her or her life. There is a ton of speculation about who and where this woman was, so what's a person to do but make up something super cool about her?

And that's what Gerald Kolpan did with "Etta". Etta is Lorinda Jamison, Philly socialite who is left orphane
...more
Noe Crockett
Apr 28, 2009 Noe Crockett rated it liked it
Not that I'm well-versed on outlaws of the Old West, but I do know a little and I had never heard of Etta Place. Apparently she was a female outlaw who ran with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but little is known about her.

The author of this novel took what little is known about her and filled in the blanks with fiction. The book bounces around between traditional storytelling, Etta's journal entries, newspaper articles and letters from the Sundance Kid to his father. The format makes it re
...more
Kristen
Jan 01, 2010 Kristen rated it it was amazing
There is a ton in this book and I ended up listening to it on audible, despite having a print copy of the ARC. I am a huge fan of adventure novels - especially ones with strong female characters. That is EXACTLY what this book is.. an adventure novel with all sorts of adventures. A historical fiction about Etta Place - a real woman who was part of the Wild Bunch.

I really made up some serious excuses to listen to this novel. I loved the romance, the suspense and really the time period in which th
...more
Sean
Mar 03, 2010 Sean rated it it was ok
Great potential that simply fell short... I was very interested until about half way through then I had to force myself to go further. I even enjoyed a little bit here and there, but really I found there to be too many stories that mad little sense all thrown together. More of an awww how beautiful Etta is, what a nice thief, how kind, thoughtful, and beautiful. blah blah blah... Just when you thought there would be great description of scenery and emotion and building of characters... you get l ...more
Todd Stockslager
Jun 05, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Acceptable career-starter

Almost nothing is known for certain about the true history of Etta Place (probably not her real name), who was the amour of Harry Longbaugh, the Sundance Kid who famously, with Butch Cassidy, was the leader of the outlaw Hole in the Wall Gang at the turn of the 20th century as the Wild West was being reined in by iron horses and barbed wire fences. Her real name, her birthplace, her family, her occupation, her history after Butch and Sundance died in a South American sh
...more
Maria
Feb 22, 2014 Maria rated it did not like it
(Audio book version) This is one of those books that started out pretty good, then just got worse and worse, until I finally just hated it and couldn't wait for it to end. It's a fictionalized story of Etta Place, the paramour of the Sundance Kid. Not much is known about her. So the author, with apparently not much research, just made up a story about her.

Now, to me, "historical fiction" is basically one of two things:

1. A story about a fictional person who lives during a historic time, or
2. A t
...more
Rusty
Feb 10, 2016 Rusty rated it really liked it
I don't often read the author's comments before I read a book but this time I did. It helped me understand how and why the author built the story around the little known Etta Place. She was a member of the Hole in the Wall Gang but not much more is known about her. We do find e a photo of her with Harry Longbaugh, who was probably her lover. The tale uses what little information can be found about Etta enhanced by the activities of the gang.

The reader finds lots of action coupled with encounters
...more
Elaine Cramer
I've given up on this book for now, possibly forever. So little time, so many books, right? I picked this book more or less at random, from reading the summary. Well, from skimming it. It sounded like a western with a female character. It is that, along with being a historical fiction about the woman known as Etta Place, lover of The Sundance Kid, and speculatively Butch Cassidy. However, in this re-work of history, she is only Sundance's lover.

Because I didn't thoroughly read the summary, the f
...more
Sarah H
Jun 10, 2013 Sarah H rated it really liked it
Inventive and imaginative historical fiction. Etta Place--sweetheart of the Sundance Kid--doesn't have much of a bona fide biography, so Kolpan invents one and seems to have had a great time doing so. Nasty outlaws, honorable cowboys, Pinkerton detectives, scary Mafioso precursors and a dizzying variety of historical figures (Buffalo Bill to Trotsky) cartwheel through the book--and it all works. A fun summer read.
Wiley1827
Nov 09, 2015 Wiley1827 rated it it was amazing
Great writing about an fascinating story. Creative development of terrific events and people who fit the unknown reality of Etta and her pals. Great period expository and fill-in on public characters that author used to flush out a good life story. Sadness and inspiration abide without sickly moaning or misery in the story. Adventure with fetching believable commentary by Etta and others in her story. The mystery is not resolved completely but certainly creatively. Even so, it inspires me to wan ...more
Wanda
Nov 05, 2010 Wanda rated it liked it
I didn't like this book quite as well as Karen but was still a good read. Karen was right in that it would make a wonderful movie and I pick Angelina and Brad Pitt for the stars!
Jill Manske
Jul 11, 2014 Jill Manske rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating book that really captures the wild west spirit. Kolpan introduces real people and real events into the storyline so masterfully that you forget it's a work of fiction. That Etta Place could really be Lorinda seems totally believable. Even the "news" stories seem authentic. Kolpan has put his journalistic research skills to good use. Nonetheless, it''s a romanticized version of the Wild Bunch, with only one of them (Kid Curry) coming off as brutal and murderous. Like "Butch ...more
Jan
Nov 07, 2014 Jan rated it did not like it
What a huge disappointment for a story line & popular fictional premise. The fiction piece about BC&SDKid movie has thrilled many since it's inception & become somewhat of a cult following (I never miss the return on TV.) Etta could have been so much more than what is presented here IMO. I didn't bother finishing it beyond the 4th chapter. Yes, I realize this is just another POV of the mysterious lady. For me it was silly chatter. Give me Outlander by Gil Adamson any day for capable ...more
Tammy
May 30, 2009 Tammy rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kellyreaderofbooks
Apr 28, 2009 Kellyreaderofbooks rated it did not like it
I had really hoped to like this one. It sounded so interesting: historical fiction based on the girlfriend/companion of outlaw the Sundance Kid. And she even helped with some of the hold-ups! What more could you ask for in a book?

I couldn't have been more disappointed. The character of Etta is so flat; and it's never clear WHY she's doing what she does, or how she feels as she's robbing and gun slingin'. Also, for a book that should be packed full of action and adventure, there isn't a whole lot
...more
Paul Pessolano
Feb 04, 2011 Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it
If you looking for a good historical novel that takes place during the later 1800's and early 1900's, "Etta", would be a very good choice. The story is based on an actual person but little is known of her. Historians have tried to find out more about her, but as the author admits a lot of her story is left to the imagination.

Lorinda Jameson was born in Philadelpha of prominent parents. Her father, unfortunately, became overextended and was into the Philadelphia Mafia, also known as "The Black Ha
...more
Sara
Mar 23, 2009 Sara rated it liked it
Not much is known about the legendary Etta Place who ran with the Outlaw bank robbing Hole- in-the-wall gang at the turn of the century. Where the historical record leaves off, Gerald Koplan steps in telling Etta’s imagined and incredible life story in his debut novel, Etta. Etta begins the story as a tom-boy debutante, lovely even though she prefers horseback riding and shooting to the tedium of parties. When her dad commits suicide, leaving her in financial ruin and threatened by some of his s ...more
Tara Chevrestt
What an excellent story! I absolutely loved it. Half of it is true, half is made up, but it is historical fiction at its finest. Very little is known about the real life Etta Place, the lover of the Sundance Kid, but Kolpan takes what he does know and elaborates and adds to it and comes up with the most entertaining and spunky heroine. Beginning in 1898, we meet Lorinda Jameson, a wealthy debunte whose father kills himself, leaving her destitute, motherless, and owing money to the "mob" of that ...more
Michele
Apr 18, 2009 Michele rated it really liked it
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
...more
Roger Miller
Jun 15, 2012 Roger Miller rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I would have given it a 4 or 5, I did not like how in the end Harry Longbaugh became a socialist. It was a good wake up call that in that generation there was a real call for equality for the worker, who many felt were mistreated. That we often forget that Banks and trains were targeted by bandits because the perception was that they had more than they needed and they had so much if would not be missed. The reality is if you think the wild bunch stole from the rich and gave to the poor, and star ...more
Valerie
Apr 20, 2009 Valerie rated it it was amazing
We all know the legends about Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, and many other anti-heroes of the West. But did you ever wonder about the women who loved them – like Etta Place? Little is known about the real Etta Place – her history, her legendary romance with the Sundance Kid, even her real name. In this fictionalized account, discover what might have happened…

What if Etta Place was really a Philadelphia debutante whose father was dealing with the wrong people and owed them a lot of money? W
...more
Bonnye Reed
Dec 11, 2014 Bonnye Reed rated it really liked it
Shelves: keepers
Excellent book - fictionalization as far as Etta goes, but fit into historically correct southwestern newspaper reports, journals and stories of the times. This novel rounds out the character and life of the Etta we get a brief glimpse of in the Butch Cassidy/Sundance Kid/Hole in the Wall Tall Tales of the turn of the 20th century. Gerald Kolpan brings to life a feisty, intelligent woman with adventure in her soul and the Pinkertons on her trail. I found myself rooting for her from the first pee ...more
Cheryl
Dec 29, 2008 Cheryl rated it really liked it
There hasn’t been much information known about Etta Place, the girlfriend of Harry “The Sundance Kid” Longbaugh. So when author, Gerald Kolpan, first heard about this, he became very intrigued and began to research all he could about Etta Place.

Mr. Kolpan’s first novel, Etta is a fictional story of just who Kolpan imagined Etta Place might have been and where she came from.

Lorinda Reese Jameson was born to a banker and his wife. When she was just eighteen years old, her father took his own lif
...more
Kate
Jan 17, 2009 Kate rated it liked it
Etta is a step back in time, a window into the US at the turn of the century. I admired Kolpan’s ability to show us both the wild west and the refinement of New York and Philadelphia. The story at times kept me on the edge of my seat and was peppered with memorable characters.

Still, it was lacking a bit. Most of it was on the surface, Etta stuck in the tide of events that felt were conveniently put there for the benefit of the book. While I can appreciate the painstaking research and attention
...more
Kiersten
Feb 27, 2010 Kiersten rated it did not like it
This book wasn't terrible, certainly not as terrible as some of the other books I've given one star to, but it was just lacking. Halfway through I realized that it wasn't going to be what I expected and I just kind of wanted it to be over. Etta Place, the Sundance Kid's girl, is a totally mysterious and intriguing character, and the premise was great, as was the background and childhood that the author created for this real-to-history character, about which very little was known. But that's abou ...more
 Marla
Quick, interesting read. Not a great discussion book, but entertaining and enjoyable.

Likes:
* Kolpan's imagined life of Etta Place, the Sundance Kid's girlfriend
* Laura Bullion/Della Rose, the tough, lady-of-few-words, Harvey girl roommate of Etta
* Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid seemed like tough, interesting, loyal, Robin Hoods
* Pinkerton agent, Detective Siringo, was a worthy opponent
* Life as a Harvey girl, a waitress in a Harvey Restaurant
* Etta being a superb horsewoman and shot
* Harry's let
...more
K
Jan 02, 2009 K rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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