The U.S. has finally entered World War I is and Constance is chasing down suspected German saboteurs and spies for the Bureau of Investigation while Fleurette is traveling across the country entertaining troops with song and dance. Meanwhile, at an undisclosed location in France, Norma is overseeing her thwarted pigeon project for the Army Signal Corps. When Aggie, a nurse at the American field hospital, is accused of stealing essential medical supplies, the intrepid Norma is on the case to find the true culprit.
The far-flung sisters—separated for the first time in their lives—correspond with news of their days. The world has irrevocably changed—will the sisters be content to return to the New Jersey farm when the war is over?
Told through letters, Dear Miss Kopp weaves the stories of real life women into a rich fiction brimming with the historical detail and humor that are hallmarks of the series, proving once again that “any novel that features the Kopp Sisters is going to be a riotous, unforgettable adventure” (Bustle).
It’s not often that today readers come across an epistolary novel. We’re not accustomed to this kind of narration anymore, and I will admit that it took me some time to get into the story. But once I got a sense for the unfolding of time, for the continuous shifting of perspective and the broken up stories, I started to really enjoy the narration.
I can’t say that this is a real novel. There is not one direction of the story, but rather is a very peculiar anthology of short stories, if anything. Which is its little downside, because the narration didn’t keep me in one place and one plot. All plots were nice, in the end. I might have ended up liking the story at the front in France more than the other, but that’s a personal preference, but all in all, all stories had interesting characters and certainly had a lot of heart, which makes up abundantly for the fragmented narration.
The three sisters Kopp had very difference experiences of the war – Norman in France, on the front; Constance battling war spies; Florette working in the entertainment industry trying to keep up the soldiers’ morale – and putting everything together, the author managed to create quite a comprehensive picture of WWI as it was lived by Americans.
I really liked the depiction of that world, it felt so real, not only because it was told always in the first person, but also for the many details that made it very rich.
I enjoyed it.
Towards the end, there’s a strong sense that things will be very different in the next novels. The Twenties are coming up. I get the impression that Florette will turn into a flapper and give us a taste of that new age.
We will see.
Dear Miss Kopp
Constance to Norma
May 2, 1918
You’re a terrible correspondent and there’s no excuse for it. Fleurette and I are left stateside while you marched off to France. We had a few decent letters when you were in Paris and a passable selection when you arrived at your secret location, but lately you’re sending us nothing but an occasional “I am well” to let us know that you’re alive. Are words also being rationed overseas, even short ones?
I’m beginning to suspect that you wrote a year’s worth of brief, perfunctory letters already – did you do them on the ship? – and now you simply select one to fit the circumstances.
It’s true, isn’t it? That sounds just like something you’d do. To wit:
Yours of a month ago read in its entirety: “All is well here and the meals are decent. Work continues apace.”
Two weeks ago we were treated to: “Health is good. Food ordinary but adequate. Work proceeds as expected.”
Yesterday the postman oughtn’t to have bothered, so light were his duties. “Am well. Expect the same from you.”
Really, Norma! Not even a mention of decent, ordinary, adequate meals this time?
It’s bad enough that our letters take weeks or even months to reach each other. Can’t you put something in them that’s worth the wait?
The Thursday Quotables was originally a weekly post created by Lisa Wolf for her book blog Bookshelf Fantasy. It isn’t a weekly post anymore, not even for Lisa, but just like her, I still love to share my favourite reads on Thursday and I still use the original template which included an excerpt.