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.
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|Title of eBook: Etta|
|Release Date: 03-24-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Chapter OneAs she stood in the freezing foyer of the townhouse at 11 West 37th Street, Etta was less than sure she had arrived at the correct address. Could this gloomy cave really be home to the niece of the President of the United States?
Looking into the library, she could see that the furnishings were dark and worn, their cheap lace doilies soiled, the room's carpets stained and threadbare. The deep green velvet draperies covered far more of the windows than they should have on such a bright winter's day and the marble of the foyer floor, which would have been the pride of any such house, was softly cracked at its corners. Etta had difficulty imagining that such a dreary place could actually contain the living ray of light she had encountered in the settlement house or shelter any member of one of the country's oldest and most respected families.
Eleanor Roosevelt emerged from a side door into the foyer and held out both her hands.
"Oh, Mrs. Place," she said, beaming that crooked grin, "I'm so glad you've accepted my invitation to luncheon. I hope it wasn't too sudden."
"The pleasure is mine, Miss Roosevelt," Etta replied. "I have so looked forward to this and it would have suited me to the ground had it been sooner still."
"I suppose neither of us is all that keen at the thought of eating yet another meal alone. Please, come this way."
Eleanor draped her arm through Etta's and led her through a small warren of narrow rooms and into the kitchen. There, in the far corner, close to a cheerful, blazing hearth, was the servant's table, elegantly set for two, with a nearby sideboard neatly prepared for tea. A young ma...