Sunday, October 1, 2017

Book Review: Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart (Kopp Sisters #3, 2017)

Original Summary

Deputy sheriff Constance Kopp is outraged to see young women brought into the Hackensack jail over dubious charges of waywardness, incorrigibility, and moral depravity. The strong-willed, patriotic Edna Heustis, who left home to work in a munitions factory, certainly doesn’t belong behind bars. And sixteen-year-old runaway Minnie Davis, with few prospects and fewer friends, shouldn’t be publicly shamed and packed off to a state-run reformatory. But such were the laws—and morals—of 1916.

Constance uses her authority as deputy sheriff, and occasionally exceeds it, to investigate and defend these women when no one else will. But it's her sister Fleurette who puts Constance's beliefs to the test and forces her to reckon with her own ideas of how a young woman should and shouldn't behave.

Against the backdrop of World War I, and drawn once again from the true story of the Kopp sisters, Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions is a spirited, page-turning story that will delight fans of historical fiction and lighthearted detective fiction alike.

My Thoughts

Where do I start? I must have been too excited, too hopeful, so when Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions let me down, it really let me down. I loved Girl Waits with Gun and Lady Cop Makes Trouble, but this one? It just fell . . . flat. Horribly, boringly flat. It took me roughly 2 weeks to read this cover to cover, when the others took me 3 days, at the most.

Breaking down the problems: too many vignettes of those girls who have given "midnight confessions" to Constance, no genuine mystery for Constance to be involved in other than trying to keep immoral girls out of being sent to prison (which I get, but still, this is a bit of a historical mystery series so more please), and finally the political figures were too stereotypical of the parties in question according to how the opposite party views them. For example, Constance and Sheriff Heath are democrats so they're all for social reform and the Republican figures are characterized as heartless wolves who want anyone with a "social disease" behind bars. No bias at all, there.

It probably didn't help that I was about ready to wring Norma Kopp's neck. She's been annoying in each book with her staid ways. She's an ISTJ gone horribly wrong because no one ever bothered to try and stand up to her so now she rules her family with an iron hand "for their own good." And Constance hasn't got the guts to stand up to her sister in any sort of scenario that matters. For a lady cop, she's pathetic when it comes to wrenching back some of the power her sister is hoarding.

And as for Fleurette, run, girl, run. Norma will lock you up in your room and throw away the key if you stay any longer. And Constance stands up for you only so far. Of the 3 sisters, I like Fleurette the most. She stands a chance of perhaps living a normal life if she's able to make a go of it. I think owning a dress shop would suit her perfectly, give her respectability, and a lovely income. So that's my vote and prayer for Fleurette for the next book in the series. Not that she would be an actress, but that she would fulfill one of her incredible talents as a seamstress.

Then you have the vignettes. Minnie drove me crazy because she's a bit narcissistic and is willing to do anything to obtain pretty things and a nice lifestyle. I didn't mind Edna because she at least had a purpose for wanting to be on her own, and pretty noble one, wanting to serve her country during a time of war. I just felt that there were too many points of view just thrown at the reader. While I agree that locking wayward girls away until they're a certain age is ridiculous; I also didn't care for being thwacked upside the head by the idea that nobody should be held accountable for their behavior.

So, while I didn't hate Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions, too much of it didn't work. It's the only one in the series that has disappointed me so far. I'm hoping the next in the series (if they continue), will have an actual plot for me to follow and won't just spend the entire book wandering in circles. Give me a murderer or a thief, please!