Thursday, May 16, 2024

Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions (Kopp Sisters Series #3) by Amy Stewart

Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions (Kopp Sisters Series #3) 
by Amy Stewart
Narrated by Christina Moore
10 hours
Published January 2017 by Mariner Books

Publisher's Summary:
Deputy sheriff Constance Kopp stands up to the “morality” laws of 1916, defending the independent young women in her prison against dubious charges when no one else will. From the patriotic Edna Heustis, who left home to work in a munitions factory, to the sixteen-year-old runaway Minnie Davis, these and other publicly shamed women who were packed off to a state-run reformatory find an unlikely ally in Constance, who uses her authority — and occasionally exceeds it — to investigate and defend them at all costs. But it's Constance's sister Fleurette who forces her to reckon with her own ideas of how a young woman should and shouldn't behave. Set against the backdrop of World War I, and drawn from true characters and events, this novel is timeless in its themes of justice and equality, and is sure to delight fans of historical and detective fiction alike.

My Thoughts: 
I'm failing, lately, at getting reviews written. To the extent that I struggle to remember books by the time I finally write the reviews or to summon up what my immediate feelings were about the book. It's been a few weeks since I listened to this one and it's fading, I'm sorry to say. Which may say as much about my feelings about the book as it does about the length of time it took me to write this review. 

I love the idea of Constance Kopp, a woman firmly in a man's world but not afraid to stand up to them. I love it even more that the character of Constance Kopp is based on real woman of the same name. In fact, many of the characters in this series are based on the real people who Constance was in contact with, including her sisters, Norma and Fleurette and Sheriff Robert Heath. Here she's also included Edna Heustis, May Ward, and Freeman Bernstein. Amy Stewart takes these people and some of the facts of their lives, and weaves stories around them, in no small part in order to paint a picture of what life was like for women of the time. 

In this book, that's the primary purpose of the book. There is no crime to solve, no real suspense. The cases Stewart writes about are based on things that actually happened to women of the time to focus on the constraints put on women at the turn of the last century - social, economic, and legal. Women were being arrested on morals charges and charged with such things as "waywardness." Women found guilty (and I imagine most were) who  were under the age of 21 were sent to reformatories where they were held until they where of age but that was not the end of the state's control; once arrested, the women were, more or less, forced into the kinds of lives the "moral" folk believed they should live. When Edna Heustis is arrested on just such a charge, Constance steps in and takes the investigation of the charges into her own hands, angering the prosecutor and setting herself up to take on more cases. 

One of the things I enjoy about these books is the humor they are filled with. While sister Norma becomes thornier (and Constance begins to despair the idea of spending the rest of her days with Norma), she becomes funnier for the readers. Her responses to the many marriage proposals Constance receives (thanks to the press she receives), are hilarious. When Fleurette runs off with May Ward's vaudeville troupe without telling her sisters, Norma fears the worst and sets of trying to solve this case on her own. Constance's main concern is that Fleurette will end up being one of the young girls arrested on morals charges, but she is also frustrated by Norma's actions at every turn. 

Not my favorite of the Kopp sisters books, but there is still, even with the humor and a feeling of lightness, a lot to think about here. 

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