The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper

The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper

by Kathleen Y'Barbo


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307444745
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/02/2009
Edition description: Original
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty novels, novellas, and young adult books, with more than 850,000 books in print. A graduate of Texas A&M University, she is currently a publicist with Books & Such literary agency. A mother of three grown sons and a teenage daughter, Kathleen makes her home in Houston, Texas.

Read an Excerpt

The warning came too late.

Mae Winslow’s finely tuned senses jumped as the fire bell rang, setting the populace into a motion akin to the stirring of a nest of hornets, and sending Mae into a fit of the vapors.

Before the sounding of the alarm, the only stings fair Mae felt in the bleak light of dawn were from her heart and her conscience. She had disappointed dear Henry once again, allowing the calamity that dogged her steps to set her on yet another path leading away from the home and hearth he so freely offered. Surely the longsuffering
Henry understood that beneath her buckskin-clad exterior beat a heart that held nothing but love for him despite the vagabond life she must lead.

At the moment, however, her mind must turn from the excess of emotional thoughts that Henry Darling brought and toward the situation at hand. With the practiced eye of one far too well-trained in the ways of desperate outlaws and lowly curs, she lifted the sash of the boardinghouse window and lowered her gaze to the street below. With the fresh wind came the bitter scent of smoke. Alas, the odor did not emit from below or from beyond the bounds of the quaint structure, but rather swirled from behind, as if seeping beneath the slightly crooked bedroom door.

Mae made to turn when a shot rang out. A bullet chipped away several layers of paint on the sill and sent her scrambling to the floor. There, with her breath coming a bit freer, she crawled toward the bed, where her pistols hung on the bedpost.

“So,” the fair jewel breathed as she wrapped her small fingers around the cold metal that had saved her life more times than she could count, “they’ve found me.”

New York City, July 5, 1880
Something tickled her nose. Eugenia Flora Cooper batted at the offending object, then opened her eyes to see that she’d tossed a fringed pillow onto her bedroom floor. A thud told her the book she’d been reading last night had gone flying as well.

The book, a brand-new episode of Mae Winslow, Woman of the West. Gennie sighed and pulled the silk and velvet coverlet over her head as she snuggled down into the soft feather mattress. Despite the fact she was required to attend a post–Independence Day breakfast with the Vanowens this morning, then catch a train to Boston at noon, she’d devoured every word of the dime novel last evening, staying awake late into the night.

After completing Mae’s latest adventure, Gennie reluctantly closed her eyes. Even then, the story continued, this time with Gennie as the subject. She’d been running alongside a moving train full of stolen gold, her borrowed cowboy boots dangerously close to tripping her, when the dream abruptly ended. And, like Mae, she’d been fleeing the bonds of a man bent on prematurely tying her to home and hearth. Gennie, like Mae, could admit no real aversion to marriage and family. In fact, she welcomed the idea of a life spent in such a way. Just not yet.

Like Mae.

Perhaps that was what drew her to Mae’s stories over other novels. It seemed Mae was the only woman whose books never quite ended with a happily ever after. Each one promised it could be—even should be—and then the adventure took a turn, and so did Mae. By the end of the book, the bad guys were caught but Mae was not.
Someday, if Gennie ever had the nerve, she’d just head west down Fifth Avenue and keep walking until she reached South Dakota or Wyoming. Colorado, maybe, where she could pan for gold or dig for silver. Maybe save some hapless child or even a whole town from whatever evil preyed upon it.

Gennie smiled. Wouldn’t that be an adventure?

Of course, Mama and Papa would miss her, but what a time she’d have riding runaway horses and fending off savage beasts with nothing but a broom and three wet matches. It would certainly be more interesting than painting flowers on china plates or embroidering her initials on handkerchiefs. Mama always had despaired of her stitching.

At the thought of her mother, Gennie bolted upright. It would never do for her choice of reading material to become common knowledge, even though she’d never understood the condemnation dime novels drew among her social set. Mae’s adventures were tame compared to stories she read in the Bible. Surely the Lord smiled equally on the authors of such wholesome entertainment and on those who wrote more scholarly works.

Still, she should probably fetch the book and hide it with the others before the new chambermaid came in to open the drapes and draw her bath. Her secret had been safe with her previous maid, Mary. The dear Irish- woman carried off the books once Gennie read them. She claimed to be tossing them into a trash bin, but Gennie knew better. At least Mary hadn’t informed Simmons, who would have told her parents at the first opportunity. Anything Simmons knew was destined for Papa’s ear before the day ended, which was why Papa paid the elderly houseman so well.

But then Mama and Papa, along with fourteen-year-old Connor, were safely aboard ship heading for their silver anniversary tour of the Continent. Gennie smiled and sank back into her cocoon of blankets. Surely a maid stumbling over a dime novel was beyond their concern. Perhaps she’d read the next dime novel in the drawing room instead of under her covers.

Opening one eye, she peered across the pile of pillows and through the bed drapes to see only the faintest glow of daylight at the edge of the curtains. “Still early,” she muttered. “Just a few more minutes and I’ll…” She snuggled deeper into her pillow and closed her eyes.

“Miss Cooper, you’ve fallen back to sleep. Do wake up.”

A blinding shaft of light intruded on her slumber, and Gennie fumbled for a pillow to cover her face. Finding none within reach, she struggled into a sitting position.

“I’m sorry, miss,” the maid said, “but it’s half past ten.” “Half past ten?” Gennie sputtered, suddenly alert. “How in the world will I explain to Mrs. Vanowen why I missed such an important event as her post–Independence Day breakfast?”

Gennie fought her way through the bed curtains and reached for her robe. As she tied the sash, she began to pace, carefully avoiding the pillows strewn across the Aubusson carpet. She’d also have to explain her absence to Chandler Dodd, although that prospect didn’t upset her nearly as much as disappointing her father.

“Papa will be most upset,” she said as she drifted toward the easternmost window and glanced at the mid- morning rush on Fifth Avenue three stories below. “He so coveted a place on Mrs. Vanowens’s list for Mama, and with this snub, she’ll certainly be overlooked next time.” Mae Winslow, on the other hand, cared little for such frippery. If only…

“So sorry, miss.” The hapless maid, Mary’s replacement, ducked her head and inched forward, the silver tray she held wobbling with each step. “You see, there’s been a most upsetting problem with my sister’s departure, and I—”

“Never mind.” Gennie gave the tray a cursory glance, then pointed to the dressing table nearest the window overlooking the park. “Perhaps you’d like to tell all of this to our neighbor.” She paused as the maid’s eyes filled with tears. Gennie sighed. “Forgive me. I’m being awful. I’m exhausted because I stayed up too late.” Her heart sank. This was no way to begin with a new employee. “What’s your name?”

The dark-haired girl fixed her attention on her shoes. “Fiona, miss. Fiona McTaggart.”

“Perhaps there’s no harm done, Fiona.” Gennie seated herself at the writing desk and pulled a sheet of paper from the drawer.

Crafting two notes of regret that included only vague mentions of any specifics of her condition, she dried the ink, folded the paper, and then set her seal on the edge. When the wax hardened, she held the notes out to Fiona.

“Have Simmons send someone to deliver these, please.” She paused to set her tone in what she hoped was a mix of understanding and firmness. “And then perhaps we will both be forgiven for our transgressions.”

The girl grinned, then quickly seemed to remember her place. “You’re every bit as nice as Mr. Simmons said you’d be. Oh!” She stifled a gasp. “Begging your pardon, miss, but I’d be ever so grateful if you’d not mention I forgot to wake you. I’m afraid I’d be out on my ear after my first day, and with my sister’s leaving us this afternoon, I don’t know how I’d take care of my mama and my ailing papa.”

“Of course, I won’t mention it. There’d be no purpose to it.”

As Fiona scurried out, Gennie rose and turned her attention back to the scene unfolding on the street below. Several drivers had arrived with carriages, and liveried attendants milled about beneath a brilliant blue sky.
She let her gaze drift across the street and up the marble steps of the imposing mansion that sat on the corner like a wedding cake. The Vanowens’ third floor ballroom stood at eye level, floor-to-ceiling windows open to the fresh July breeze. A lone figure swept the marble floor where, as a child, Gennie and her friend Hester Vanowen pretended to ice skate across the polished marble in their stocking feet.

Gennie’s family returned the favor when Hester accompanied them to their house in Newport, where the long upstairs hallway opened onto a balcony that overlooked the lawn and the ocean beyond. Little imagination was required to believe that with just a bit of extra effort, one might be able to launch over the balcony’s edge and soar into the clouds.

Hester only attempted it once, and thankfully the thick foliage broke her fall. Even better was that Mama and Papa were away at the time.

“May the Lord bless you, miss. Perhaps you’d like me to pour your coffee now?”

Gennie turned to see the door close behind the maid. “Yes, Fiona. Please do.”

A flurry of activity across the street again caught her attention.

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Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
merggy on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I loved this book. It transported me to a different time in history. I am a busy mom but every chance I got I couldnt wait to get back to my story. I found it a quick read and very charming. I dont like romance novels but this is different, It is a romance but it isnt the mushy or sexual type of trash romance novels. I plan to pass this book on to my friends.
prplcatz58 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
When New York Socialite Eugenia "Gennie" Cooper spontaneously hops on a train headed to Denver adventure ensues in this exciting novel by Kathleen Y'Barro. This book features a strong woman not afraid to take charge of her own destiny and follow her heart. I found myself laughing and crying as Gennie experienced her very own Wild West story. The tantalizing clues to the characters' secrets and the surprises along the way made this a real page turner. The parallel between Gennie's favorite heroine, Mae Winslow, and her own life added a wonderful dimension to the story. Anyone who enjoys a good romance with some action thrown in will not regret reading this book.
BridgetMarie on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The plot is set up as poor little rich girl looking for adventure in the wrong place (1880s Colorado, with the angry silver miners). I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I thought it was going to be one of those guilty pleasure trashy romance books with sex and drama and all that fun stuff, but it actually had substance. The interweaving of Mae Winslow's story with Gennie and Daniel's was brilliant. I was also very fond of the background characters and surprised by the side plots, I didn't expect them to be so detailed.
Smilee306 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I was pleasantly surprised to find this in my mailbox, but didn't remember having requested it. The cover left me puzzled - why would I have asked for this book? In fact, the cover picture is the only negative I feel about the work. It is fun, a quick read, and well written. Although you know from the beginning what's going to happen to these main characters, the way they come to each turn of the road is surprising and fun. Particularly interesting to me, and probably why I requested the book in the first place, is the daubs of Colorado history that are thrown in - you don't need to know anything about Colorado to enjoy the book, but for people with a little background it's fun when names like Baby Doe and Horace Tabor show up. I'm very glad that I received the book, as I wouldn't have picked it up just glancing at the cover, but now I will be looking for more works from Kathleen Y'Barbo. I definitely recommend it.
pandorasbooks on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper was an enjoyable foray into the adventures of Miss Eugenia "Gennie" Cooper. She was a thoroughly likable character with plenty of spunk and personality. When I requested this book, I didn't realize it was Christian Fiction and more romance than purely historical fiction. The latter doesn't matter much since I like romance, but since I'm neither Christian nor religious in the traditional sense, I hoped it wouldn't be too preachy a book. Luckily for me, the faith was written into the storyline seamlessly and in a believable manner. While I do think Charlotte came around to Gennie too quickly, it was welcome and made it easier to like a child whose behavior was bratty and obnoxious.From near the beginning the book left me wanting to know what would happen with Gennie and Daniel, what excitement lay ahead, etc. I did have doubts at how the book would actually end, even if seemed a bit predictable. My biggest problems lay in the whole big "misunderstanding" in the hotel room. I felt that plotline was too forced and the author felt there needed to be a huge hurtle for the two leads. I'd rather a more western adventure for Gennie, full of trouble (like a Mae Winslow episode). Speaking of Mae Winslow, the excerpts (or whatchamacallits) at the beginning of each chapter detracted from the story and made it halt; I felt it unnecessary and it didn't add anything to the book as a whole. Maybe some of those would have been better added into the story or an extra at the end of the book. Lastly, and I may have just forgotten (I have to admit to rushing the last part of the book so I could finish it! :P), what happened with all the mine problems and what was the point of bringing that into the story in the first place? Maybe I just missed something. Otherwise I found the book well-written, entertaining, and hard to put down. Now I'm wondering if Miss Anna Finch will have her own story. :D
mlnelson01 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Miss Eugenia ¿Gennie¿ Cooper is born to a life of privilege, named for her banker father¿s friend Empress Eugenia, wife of Napoleon III. Yet she yearns for adventure, and steals away to Colorado under false pretenses to serve as governess for a month to a silver baron¿s daughter. When Gennie arrives she is appalled to find the girl bears no resemblance to the ¿young lady¿ she expected, and vows to teach the girl what it means to be a lady, and her father what it means to be a parent. In the process she gets more adventure than she ever expected, and even discovers that living in the shelter of her high-born world may not be everything she wants out of life. This book is Christian fiction, but doesn¿t preach at all ¿ the characters are religious, but that¿s a backdrop, not the point, of the story. This book will appeal to all ages - in fact, to anyone who enjoys a good story with extremely likable characters, a fun story line, and plenty of action without violence.
edischri on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Eugenia Cooper is from the East Coast upper crust, but when she gets a chance to change places for a month with her maid's sister and work as a governess in the Wild West, she jumps at the chance for adventure. Little does she know it will lead her to love. I liked the setting and time period of this light read, but the situation was kind of forced. The excerpts from a dime store novel which opened each chapter were distracting. I didn't realize at first that this was Inspirational Fiction, but the characters asked for God's help quite a bit, and there were only a few chaste kisses. Eugenia also seemed kind of young to be getting married to anyone, let alone a widower with a child.
collsers on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I really enjoyed this book--it was a great summer read, light and fluffy, with enough action and romance to keep my interest. I found the main characters believable, and found myself rooting for their romance. It was also really refreshing to read a romance novel directed at an adult audience that was not overly smutty. Also, major kudos to the cover designer; they did a great job!
ladytaluka on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I received this book from LibraryThing to do an early review. It took me a while to get into it. Despite the silly cover, it actually was an OK book.It took over 100 pages for the 2 lovebirds to actually meet, so the first part of the book was slow. Then the middle picked up and it became quite good. But then the ending was a little abrupt, so I wish the author had spent more of her time on the ending than on the beginning.It was just a light, fluffy, love story.
jabberwockiness on LibraryThing 8 months ago
It's an amusing book, but I'm not quite sure it was worth the time. There were a great deal of plot holes, probably due to the fact that the book is only 300+ pages. None of the characters were overtly believable (I'll buy Daniel Beck, but Eugenia? A true socialite? Or the ten-year-old?) and all of the plot points seemed contrived. For instance (spoilers ahead!) - why was Eugenia conveniently left on her own in New York while the rest of her family went off elsewhere? And why did it matter if Charlotte was the daughter of Daniel's brother? The business with the miners and with Gennie's telegrams seemed overly complicated; a great deal of nonsense could have been edited out, and the book plot could have become much more streamlined. And the whole problem in Leadville with the nightmares and the screaming! Forced marriage? Was that really the answer? There were a great deal of random events that I found myself skipping over. From miner strikes to "kidnapping" to the hiring of bodyguards...or the cop in disguise...I honestly had no idea what was going on. Perhaps it was TOO fast-paced.In short, I would recommend this book, perhaps, as something to read in an airplane. It's light, and occasionally fun, though the dialogue is often stilted and I, quite honestly, skipped over most of the Mae Winslow passages, since none of them seemed to relate to the chapters at hand. Anna Finch felt like a prop, a stand-in girl who "loved" the main man but only popped up to give our heroine expensive clothing...or tell her that Daniel actually loved her. The descriptions of Denver weren't bad, and I probably enjoyed that the most. Charlotte Beck, though...not a believable child. She was, up unto a point, but when her behavior suddenly transformed... Suffice it to say, I probably won't be reading this book again.
Jemima79 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This light, frivolous read had a charming quality to it. The protagonist was lovable and the plot was fun. Each chapter opened with a small segment out of an imagined book that Gennie was reading. The book was a dime store Wild West Adventure with a female lead that Gennie wanted to emulate. Gennie's own adventure in romance was far-fetched but funny. Kathleen Y¿Barbo has created a humorous character who is full of youth, naivety and a spirit of adventure. It was kind of refreshing to read due to it's fast-pace, vibrant atmosphere and interesting characters. I would recommend The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper to anyone looking for a fun romance to take your mind of the daily grind.
mjmbecky on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I really enjoyed this cute, romantic novel. It was clean, sweet, and a had a western flare to it that reminded me of Dr. Quinn (a TV series from the 90's), or a romantic John Wayne movie (minus the extra testosterone). Honestly, I found it to be a charming novel that mixed Old New York style and class, with the bits of the 'Wild West' that many sought out. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this quick escape read.
bookwormygirl on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The future is clearly mapped out for New York socialite Eugenia ¿Gennie¿ Cooper, but she secretly longs to slip into the boots of her favorite dime-novel heroine and experience just one adventure before settling down. When the opportunity arises, Gennie jumps at the chance to experience the Wild West, but her plans go awry when she is drawn into the lives of silver baron Daniel Beck and his daughter and finds herself caring for them more than is prudent¿especially as she¿s supposed to go back to New York and marry another man.As Gennie adapts to the rough-and-tumble world of 1880s Colorado, she must decide whether her future lies with the enigmatic Daniel Beck or back home with the life planned for her since birth. The question is whether Daniel¿s past¿and disgruntled miners bent on revenge¿will take that choice away from her. (taken from back cover of book)Gennie is one of those characters that are so full of life that you can't help but want to know her in real life. Her story is very entertaining and fast-paced and just brimming with romance and adventure. A mix of everything that I like in a book. I did find that the Mae West excerpts were a bit distracting from the story but in the end it all came together nicely. Although, I did find that at times it was predictable, I couldn't help but wonder where the next chapter would lead. This is categorized as Christian Fiction - but it is not overly religious. It can definitely be enjoyed by Christians and non-Christians alike. This was a fast-paced adventure with great characters and loads of wonderful moments. If you're in the mood for a quick, fun read this should definitely be your choice.
KellyBlackwell on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Every time I read a novel taking place in the untamed Wild West, I am more and more enamored with that time. Kathleen Y'Barbo's book is no exception!Gennie is a woman who I could totally relate to. Her father has made plans for her life, and as a young respectful woman she is to comply, but her heart longs for adventure just like her favorite heroine Mae Winslow of the dime-novels she loves. Gennie makes the leap to one adventure before she becomes the wife of banker Chandler Dodd. Gennie takes a chance and heads on to Denver rather than a trip to Boston, and while Gennie's adventure begins, she does get much more than she bargained for.I loved reading this story. It was easy to relate to Gennie as I recall putting myself into stories when I was in my youth. Gennie relates to her heroine and sees their parallels in likes and loves. Adventure calls to her soul and Gennie has to answer. What fun it was riding along with Gennie on this journey through adventure, romance, and growing up--really growing up. I also thoroughly enjoyed the snip its of Gennie's favorite heroine's novel interspersed through out the novel. You could see what inspired Gennie and it was just fun seeing what was going to happen to Mae next as well.I thoroughly enjoyed this charming story and highly recommend it.
judyg54 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This was a fun story to read. You have Eugenia "Gennie" Cooper, a New York socialite in the 1880's who reads one to many dime store novels about the Wild West and feels she must experience it before she "settles down". She has a chance to go West and take someone's place as a governess for a wealthy gentleman, Daniel Beck, in Denver, Colorado for a month so she goes for it. When Daniel and Gennie first meet they don't realize they are employee and employer. It was instant attraction for both of them, but when the truth of who they are comes out things get a little topsy turvy. There is alot of laughable moments between these two characters and with Daniel's daughter, Charlotte. I had a hard time putting it down, but did feel the author ended the story rather quickly with alot happening at the end and not many details of how it all came about. And although I know why she started each chapter with a "dime store novel" insert, by the end of the book, I wasn't interested in that, just wanted to keep reading the actual story. I look foward to reading the other two books in this series. A lighthearted, quick read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jutzie More than 1 year ago
The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper  Eugenia Flora Cooper “Gennie” is a fan of Mae Winslow – Woman of the West. The heroine of a dime novel. Before she settles down into marriage, Gennie would love an adventure. When opportunity knocks, she answers and heads to Denver to be a temporary governess for a young girl. Daniel Beck is a father with a handful of a daughter, unhappy workers and business travel from Denver to his silver mines in Leadville. And now his newest governess has the nerve to write him and demand he come home, hinting that he is not a good father. His plan was to send her packing immediately, plans changed. A fun story of a New York debutante with a dream to have an adventure. And then settle for the banker who would want to marry her when she returned. Only this adventure and misunderstandings in Colorado change her life forever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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-Melanie- More than 1 year ago
I'm going to be reading 'The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck' soon, so I decided to read 'The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper' by Kathleen Y'Barbo first and then I plan to read 'Anna Finch and the Hired Gun' by Kathleen Y'Barbo. This is the first book that I've read by Kathleen Y'Barbo, but it reminded me of 'A Lady Like Sarah' by Margaret Brownley which I've recently read. Both books have a historical/western theme. 'The Confidential Life of Eugenia "Gennie" Cooper' is a historical romance book set around 1880. Gennie enjoys reading Mae Winslow, 'Woman of the West' dime novels, but she has to read them under her bed covers for fear that her parents will find out. 'Someday, if Gennie ever had the nerve, she'd just head west down Fifth Avenue and keep walking until she reached South Dakota or Wyoming. Colorado maybe, where she could pan for gold or dig for silver. Maybe save some hapless child or even a whole town from whatever evil preyed upon it. Gennie smiled. Wouldn't that be an adventure?' - Page 3 Finally that day has come. When Gennie's new chambermaid, Fiona McTaggart, tells Gennie about how Fiona's sister has to leave the man she loves before they can wed - to be the governess of Miss Charlotte Beck - Gennie gets an idea. Since Gennie will be leaving New York for a month to go visit relatives in Boston, while Gennie's family is on a ship for their silver anniversary; why can't Gennie instead of going to Boston go to Denver, Colorado to be the Charlotte Beck's Governess and get the adventure she's dreamed of. Then once Fiona's sister is married and arrives in Denver, go back home to New York with her need for adventure filled. The beginning of every chapter begins with a portion of a Mae Winslow 'Woman of the West' story. I found this interesting, because it was like reading two books in one. Mae Winslow story as well as Gennie's story. Upon arriving in Denver, Gennie realizes that Charlotte Beck is not the sweet child she thought she would be. Instead she's a trouble-maker and thief. Gennie soon realizes this "job" won't be as easy as she first thought. I found the entire story very charming, humorous, and captivating. Gennie and Daniel Beck's relationship had such depth and layers that I didn't want to stop reading 'The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper'. I loved how the story unfolded and had many twists that I didn't expect. I am very much looking forward to reading 'Anna Finch and the Hired Gun'. I highly recommend 'The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper'.
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I really liked this book. The story was cute and enjoyable. The writing style kept me interested. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes modern romances.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago