• Shoot Like a Girl: A Prequel Novella to Girl with a Gun

  • By: Kari Bovee
  • Narrated by: Susanna Burney
  • Length: 2 hrs and 14 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Shoot Like a Girl: A Prequel Novella to Girl with a Gun

By: Kari Bovee
Narrated by: Susanna Burney
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Publisher's Summary

She became an American icon. But would she ever escape her past?

Shoot like a Girl depicts the historically fictive tale of a young Annie Oakley's struggles before she becomes the most famous sharpshooting woman of all time.

After the death of her father, Annie is sent to the Drake County poorhouse where she learns to cook, sew, and keep house for other families to help her mother make ends meet. Annie ends up at the McCrimmons, a couple whom she comes to refer to as "the wolves". Cruel and neglectful, the McCrimmons push Annie to the brink of despair. The only bright spot in her dreary existence is Buck, a beautiful buckskinned horse, and the two form a bond.

Despite her resolve to help her family, Annie loses hope of ever seeing them again, as life at the McCrimmons' becomes more oppressive, and she is cut off from all outside communication. Physically and emotionally weak from illness, hunger, and abuse, Annie resigns herself to a life of servitude to the abusive couple. But, when Mr. McCrimmon's continued cruelty to Buck finally threatens the horse's life, Annie takes matters into her own hands and formulates a plan for escape.

©2019 Kari Bovee (P)2020 Kari Bovee

What listeners say about Shoot Like a Girl: A Prequel Novella to Girl with a Gun

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Annie Oakley like you've never seen her!

I actually read this book before diving into Book 1 and it was a great introduction to the Annie Oakley Mystery series. It’s both a cozy little story and a tale that doesn’t turn a blind eye to the tough times Annie had to face as a teenager. I love that this story, and the series, crosses so many genre boundaries – historical fiction, YA, mystery, western.
So I think Annie is like 14 in this book. And she’s sent off to work on another farm via the Dark County Infirmary for a year to bring in much needed money for her family. I believe her mother has just been widowed, again, and there are several younger siblings needing raising. It must be such a big responsibility to basically be the main breadwinner or your family at such a young age. But that’s the base of it. Annie had to grow up fast despite being raised on a little farm outside of a little village.
So she goes from this dirt poor loving family to working or a better-off small family (parents and a baby) but they are rather cruel, lazy, and sometimes drunk. Annie takes on the bulk of the chores, which is honestly what she was being paid to do, but it’s still hard to see the McCrimmons parents ignoring the baby and the farm, including a very old horse. She gets to experience a slice of life outside of her normal and it’s not a pretty slice.
Still, Annie is such an enjoyable character. She’s got her smarts, her sharp shooting ability, and her sweet nature. I can see how these early experiences really shape her core.
Eventually, the McCrimmons get a new horse and Annie becomes very fond of Buck, who is really her only friend there. The story doesn’t flinch away from the assaults Annie fights off. Though I will say the story doesn’t linger on these scenes, keeping them sharp, clear, and short. I also liked that Annie eventually finds some allies and the tale ends on good note.
It’s a great little prequel and I found it worthy for jumping into Book 1. 5/5 stars.
The Narration: Susanna Burney is the perfect fit for Annie, sounding like a young lady. I also liked her harsh voice for Mr. McCrimmons and her dismissive voice for Mrs. McCrimmons. Burney also captured the various emotions of Annie very well in her narration. The pacing was good and there were no tech issues with the recording. 5/5 stars.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own.

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An Adventurous tale you won't want to put down

Author Kari gathered the little-known facts of Anne Oakley's young life before joining Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and weaved a heartfelt journey of all the hardships Anne may have endured before her life of fame. I found myself cheering for the young girl who could outshoot men and who only sought to survive so that she could help her mom and siblings, who faced losing their home after her father's death. The suffering she endured at the hands of the Wolves, the family she worked for to help support her mom, pulled at my mom's heartstrings. Her resilient spirit and determination to keep going and stand up for herself in a time when a women's voice was easily ignored filled my woman's pride senses. The narrator did a spectacular job. I didn't want to stop listening.

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A Fight For Survival!

Shoot Like a Girl is a prequel to Girl With a Gun. The audiobook tells the story of the early life of Annie Oakley. Unlike the other novels in these series, it is not a mystery. Phoebe Ann Mosey (later to be known as Annie Oakley) leaves her home to seek employment to help her struggling family. She goes to work for the McCrimmons as a maid. The McCrimmons mistreat her and are cruel to her. The only light in her suffering is the McCrimmons’ horse named Buck. When Buck’s life is endangered, Phoebe must find a way to escape.

I find the early life of Annie Oakley to be very interesting. Through this prequel, the listeners get to learn more about her as a character and see how she grows in Girl With a Gun. Annie is the breadwinner in the family. She supports them by working and sending them money. Her family’s welfare is her priority. I also like Annie’s sweet friendship with Buck, the McCrimmons’ horse. Buck is her only light during her dark days. He is also cruelly mistreated, and Annie takes care of him. She is passive, and does not have the will to run back home. However, Buck gives her the strength and willpower to escape.

Overall, this audiobook is about family, courage, willpower, and survival. While this was not a mystery, I enjoyed reading about how Annie Oakley overcame her obstacles. This audiobook shows Annie as a strong character to root for. The only thing I do not like about Shoot Like a Girl is that the McCrimmons were stereotypical and not given much depth. Still, this is a short and sweet audiobook to get lost in for a few hours! This audiobook is recommended for those that love listening to horse stories like Flambards, For the Love of a Horse, and Tall and Proud. Thus, it was fun listening to Shoot Like a Girl and Girl with a Gun! I am excited to listen to the sequel!
(Note: I received a copy of this audiobook as part of a blog tour. All opinions expressed are my own.)

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Determined and Courageous Young Woman

If I hadn’t already known some of this story, and if I hadn’t known that everything would turn out okay for young Annie Oakley (Phoebe Ann Mosey), this book would have broken my heart. When Annie’s father dies, Annie’s mother has neither the finances or the energy to raise all three of her children. Annie, the oldest, is sent off to learn skills that will help her find employment and a husband. She’s sent off to tend to a couple’s baby. The terror and torment she meets in that household shouldn’t happen to any child. She’s treated like dirt and physically assaulted. Her only friend is a horse. But Annie is a determined young woman. She works hard and does her best, and she does everything she can to maintain her modesty. It’s no surprise that she’ll go on to become a celebrity, a sharpshooting star, we still remember

I highly recommend this book, despite the uncomfortable subject matter, including attempted rape. The writing is splendid, and the narration is excellent. This book is definitely worth the time to listen to or read.

I received an Audible code for this book from the author. I thank her for her generosity, but it had no effect on this review. All opinions in this review reflect my true and honest reactions to reading this book.

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  • NicolaHancock
  • 02-02-22

Brilliant

This is the first one I listened to in this series. I never knew the historical elements were true in some instances. I had never heard of Annie Oakley before so this got me excited after hearing the introduction to the books.

At just 12 years old you learn of all the traumatic events that Annie went through. Her love of horses and her shooting skills. I was so angry at the way Annie was treated. The narrator did a wonderful job at getting my attention and I was so absorbed into every minute I was listening to. Imagine being 12 and having to take on a baby and look after two adults on a farm where you get treated like an absolute nobody. The attempted rape scenes were hard to listen to but I was so glad Annie had the determination and willpower to not be vulnerable.

My heart broke with what happened to Cleo. I was so glad that it wasn’t all doom and gloom as the adventure with Buck took her home to her family. I know this was a novella but it was left on such a cliff hanger for me. I wanted to know what happened at the shooting show. It was amazing to listen to a story of a girl knowing what she wants out of life. Not to get married to someone she didn’t love and to go against the stereotypes of hunting for game.

I thought this audio was fantastic and I cannot wait to listen to the rest of the series.