This book is actually the third in the Kopp Sisters series of historical fiction based on an actual person. Amy Stewart’s series starts with Girl Waits With Gun and follows the life of Constance Kopp, the first female Sheriff in the United States of America.
The basic premise is that Constance Kopp stood up to people no one else would, won the respect of the Sheriff of New Jersey and began working with him despite objections from many, many people and society in 1914 in general. This book, Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions, is a bit different from the first two.
In this book, Stewart brings in the issue of sexist policies in early 20th century laws. Kopp is brought in to help with two different young women who are arrested for, essentially, being “unladylike” aka sleeping with men while unmarried, being accused to staying out too late and dancing, etc. There are two different kinds of women who Kopp helps. The first is legitimately a “good girl” even by society’s standards. The second is guilty of all the things she is accused of and Kopp struggles to help her avoid a life in a sanitarium for troubled girls.
Quick note – I’m calling them women but if memory serves (I read this book sometime in August I think), they are technically teenagers, but I believe legal adults. In any case they were in that odd stage of womanhood where they could be infantilized and/or sexualized and/or just married off to make babies.
While Constance deals with the sexism she faces systemically and professionally, we get more of her younger sister Fleurette’s life as she runs off to join a traveling dance troupe. This character has shown a lot of growth without sacrificing the parts of her that make her a unique voice that stands out from her more stoic and hardened sisters. The middle Kopp sister, Norma, is still more of a background character but I hope to hear more about her in the future books.
It’s not very common for me to start a series and then commit to buying every book in the series that comes out but when I see that a new one has been published it’s an automatic buy, or at the very least an automatic add to wishlist. I love a good historical fiction, especially when featuring a female historical figure I hadn’t heard of before, and this series is two for two.