The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper gives you two stories for the price of one. No, it isn't one of those volumes which has one story at the front, and another than starts halfway through the book; rather, the two stories in one is a writing technique used by the author, Kathleen Y'Barbo. The heroine of the main story, Eugenia, likes to read what were called "dime novels" at the time this story is set, 1880. Dime novels were cheap, plot-driven stories that utilized the same characters over many books. Eugenia's favorites feature a herione, Mae Winslow, who lives in the wild west. Eugenia is a rich New York socialite who is almost engaged to be married to a rich banker, but she craves adventure. Then, just before she is to leave town to spend the summer with relatives in Boston, her new maid tells her that her (the maid's) sister is to leave for Colorado to act as a governess for a little girl. The sister is not happy about this because she is about to be married and this interferes with her plans. Eugenia concocts a scheme whereby she will go to Colorado in the sister's stead, work as a governess for a month, at which time the then married sister and her husband will come to Colorado and Eugenia will return to New York and her normal life.
As things are known to happen in novels, things don't go quite as planned and Eugenia ends up in Colorado without any of her things except the clothes on her back and some money. She ends up falling in front of (and then for) her employer. Other things happen that are about as improbable as the adventures in the dime novels she loves so much and in the end....
As I said, this book is two stories in one. Each chapter begins with part of a dime novel about Mae Winslow. Since there are no credits given, I assume this is a story written by Y'Barbo in the style of a dime novel, rather than a real example thereof. Then the story of Eugenia continues. While a little distracting at times, it was an interesting way of showing what type of story motivated Eugenia's love of adventure.
The book is Christian fiction, but it is one of those I wouldn't put in that category if asked to classify it. While God gets mentioned a time or two, He isn't the focus of the story. There are no conversion scenes, long prayers or sermons.
The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper was a fun read and I thank the publisher for sending me a copy for review.You can learn more, or purchase the book at the publisher's website.