As America prepares to enter the first World War, American women are wrestling with their independence and identity. Opportunities are starting to open up outside the home, and they’re jumping at the chance to help the war effort and build independent lives on their own terms.
Unfortunately, this was often viewed as suspicious by individuals and communities shocked by young females leaving their homes and claiming their own right to a career and independence. Constance Kopp is getting settled into her job as Deputy Sheriff, and more and more of her time is spent dealing with women brought in on “morality charges” – an infraction that often led to years of confinement at a reformatory. These accused women usually lacked access to a defense attorney or due process, but the men involved in the situations typically walked free—it was the women who were thought to be a threat to decent society.
As Constance attempts to use her influence to help the females brought into her care, her home life begins to challenge her feminist principles. Fleurette, her 18 year old sister, longs for a life on stage and a similar sort of independence that the young girls in Constance’s jail were arrested for pursuing, and seems set on achieving it—with or without her sister’s consent. This novel is filled with wonderful female characters who challenge traditional roles and attempt to create a life that lets them shape their own destiny.
One of the best things about this series is that it’s based on historical facts and real events. Constance Kopp and her sisters were real people, and Constance was one of the first female Deputy Sheriffs in the U.S. Edna and Minnie, two of the women Constance attempts to help, were real women arrested on morality crimes. Many specifics of their stories were lost to history, and that’s where the fiction starts, but the imagined details are still grounded in fact. These stories are a pleasure to read as entertainment, but are even more delightful as windows into what life was like for women over a century ago.
The first two Kopp Sister novels were a lot of fun, and I think this one’s the best yet.
Author photo by Delightful Eye Photography.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.