Review published on September 16, 2018.
The United States, 1916, and Constance Kopp is one of the first female Deputy Sheriffs in the country. Employed ostensibly to look after the female prisoners in the Hackensack jail she nonetheless manages to make her duties far more wide ranging than simply overseeing her charges. At the start of the book young women are being arrested and sent to the Reformatory for waywardness and offences against morality. Constance instinctively wants to help the accused and is prepared to step on official toes to do so, which is fine until her own young sister starts to show every sign of being ‘wayward’ herself.
This is apparently the third in a series based on the true lives of the three Kopp sisters. As the author explains in the afterword she has sometimes changed the timeline and has ‘used fiction to fill in the gaps in the historical record’ but the story is based on documented cases and real newspaper reporting. I found the historical insights very interesting, particularly into the Reformatory system and the unequal way women were treated by the judicial process.
There are a number of sub-plots which all kept me entertained but none of which were truly gripping. There was some humour, particularly in the interplay between the sisters, and some very likeable characters. The whole tone was fairly gentle and light-hearted and I felt the author could have got away with pushing some of her serious themes a bit more.
All in all, this was a pleasant, undemanding read and whilst I wouldn’t actively search out the other books in the series I would certainly pick them up if I came across them.
Rebecca Kershaw 4/3
Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart
Scribe UK 9781911344599 pbk Jan 2018