Dear Miss Kopp

Dear Miss Kopp

by Amy Stewart

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Overview

Split apart by the war effort, the indomitable Kopp sisters take on saboteurs and spies and stand up to the Army brass as they face the possibility that their life back home will never be the same.

The U.S. has finally entered World War I. Constance, the oldest of the Kopp sisters, is doing intelligence work on the home front for the Bureau of Investigation while youngest sister and aspiring actress, Fleurette, travels across the country entertaining troops with song and dance. Meanwhile, at an undisclosed location in France, Norma oversees her thwarted pigeon project for the Army Signal Corps. When her roommate, 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.

Determined to maintain their sometimes-scratchy family bonds across the miles, the far-flung sisters try to keep each other in their lives. But the world has irrevocably changed—when will the sisters be together again?

Told through letters, Dear Miss Kopp weaves the stories of real-life women a century ago, proving once again that “any novel that features the Kopp sisters is going to be a riotous, unforgettable adventure” (Bustle).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

10/05/2020

Stewart’s engrossing sixth Kopp Sisters novel (after 2019’s Kopp Sisters on the March) finds the three siblings, based on actual sisters, separated for the first time, though they keep in touch through letters written from May to December 1918. Constance, the first female undersheriff in the U.S., remains home in New Jersey ferreting out German saboteurs. Fleurette travels across the country entertaining the troops with May Ward and Her Eight Dresden Dolls, a real-life vaudeville act. Norma, who’s stationed in a French village behind the front, trains carrier pigeons to relay military messages for the Army Signal Corps. (The travails of the pigeon service are a source of ongoing humor.) Meanwhile, a nurse serving with Norma at the American Field hospital becomes involved in the case of the theft of medical supplies. The nurse enlists Norma’s help, which may be connected to a spy ring. The tension rises as the 1918 flu pandemic looms large and events move closer to Armistice Day. Readers will eagerly await the sisters’ postwar adventures. (Jan.)

Library Journal

08/01/2020

Following the LJ-starred Kopp Sisters on the March, this new series entry finds the redoubtable siblings separated for the first time by World War I. As Constance hunts spies on the Continent, Fleurette sings and dances her heart out for the troops, and Norma lets her pigeon project for the Army Signal Corps go winging while helping a nurse wrongly accused of stealing medical supplies. With a 25,000-copy paperback and 3,000-copy hardcover first printing.

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2020-10-27
Stewart’s popular series takes an epistolary turn as the Kopp sisters chronicle their separate World War I adventures via letters.

This requires some authorial contrivance. Norma, established as a woman of few words in the previous five volumes, has to have her terse missives supplemented by the chatty epistles of her friend Aggie, a nurse at the American hospital in France where Norma is battling military indifference to her cherished pigeon messenger program. Fleurette’s escapades in the chorus of a revue performing for troops in U.S. Army camps are recounted mostly to a nonjudgmental friend rather than her anxious older sisters. And Constance’s reports on tracking down spies are so improbably novelistic that Stewart feels obliged to have her justify them as ways “to better paint a picture” for her superior at the Bureau of Investigation. Readers will not mind a bit, as the series returns to top form after a spell of doldrums in Kopp Sisters on the March (2019). Two mysteries drive the plot: An unjust accusation that Aggie is stealing hospital supplies launches Norma into an investigation that ultimately nabs a German agent; and Constance tracks down a ring of saboteurs in New Jersey with the help of Fleurette, who has done some growing up on tour while caring for a green parrot entrusted to her by a soldier heading overseas. As always, the feisty sisters refuse to be daunted by men who doubt their abilities or, in Fleurette’s case, the ladies of the Committee on Protective Work for Girls who are sure that young women’s interactions with soldiers “weaken their morals and inflict upon them crippling social diseases.” The censorious committee really existed, as did the Army’s pigeon program, but Stewart acknowledges in her endnotes that she has invented more of the Kopps’ activities than usual due to a lack of information about their WWI years. No matter: The fictional opportunities she dangles for her three feisty protagonists at the novel’s close will leave readers eager for the next installment.

Smart, fun, staunchly feminist entertainment.

From the Publisher

"Stewart’s popular series takes an epistolary turn as the Kopp sisters chronicle their separate World War I adventures via letters....Smart, fun, staunchly feminist entertainment."— STARRED Kirkus Review

"Stewart’s engrossing sixth Kopp Sisters novel finds the three siblings, based on actual sisters, separated for the first time, though they keep in touch through letters written from May to December 1918...Readers will eagerly await the sisters’ postwar adventures."—Publishers Weekly

"Amy Stewart may have gotten her start as a science and nature writer, but she’s just as lively and entertaining when she’s crafting historical mysteries. In the latest book to feature the fabulous real life Kopp sisters, the eldest of whom was the first female Under Sheriff in the United States, World War I is in full swing and the sisters immediately get roped into quite a few wartime intrigues."—Crimereads 

"This is an excellent addition to this well written and researched historical series and is highly recommended. Although the novel reads well on its own, reading the earlier episodes is recommended to really get to know these delightful characters."— Mystery & Suspense Magazine

Praise for the Kopp Sisters Novels

“Any novel that features the Kopp Sisters is going to be a riotous, unforgettable adventure.”—Bustle

“An unforgettable, not-to-be-messed-with heroine . . . The rest is kickass history.”—Marie Claire

“Excels in revisiting a vanished time, place and sensibility.”—Washington Post
 
“Amy Stewart uses her skills as a researcher to lovingly excavate the wonderful, entirely forgotten story of the Kopp sisters.”—USA Today
 
“A fine, historically astute novel . . . The sisters’ personalities flower under Stewart’s pen.”—New York Times Book Review
 
“Zippy, winsome . . . [A] cinematic story of the [Kopps], the siege instigated by their powerful enemy, and their brave efforts in the face of real violence.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Stewart gives us three sisters whose bond—scratchy and well-worn but stronger for it—is unspoken but effortless.”—NPR
 
“Fans of strong female characters will find their new favorite heroine in Constance Kopp.”—Cosmopolitan
 
“A smart, romping adventure, featuring some of the most memorable and powerful female characters I’ve seen in print for a long time. I loved every page as I followed the Kopp sisters through a too-good-to-be-true (but mostly true!) tale of violence, courage, stubbornness, and resourcefulness.”—Elizabeth Gilbert

 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780358093121
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 01/12/2021
Series: Kopp Sisters Series , #6
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 48,318
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

Langres, France

Constance to Norma


May 2, 1918

Dear Norma,

You’re a terrible correspondent and there’s no excuse for it. Fleurette and I are left stateside while you march 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 for you.”

Really, Norma! Not even a mention of the 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?

For the better part of 1917, when you were still here in New Jersey, we were treated to almost daily dispatches from Fort Monmouth. You seemed to have no difficulty in recounting names, personalities, conversations, arguments (mostly there were arguments, as I recall, but somehow the Army decided to keep you anyway), and, if anything, excessively detailed descriptions of the military’s pigeon messenger program, its small triumphs and all too frequent setbacks. Why, then, is it so difficult to put down a line or two now that you’re working on the very same program in France?

Meanwhile, here I am in a boarding-house with twenty other women. A letter from overseas is an occasion: we all gather around the parlor in the evenings to read them aloud. Just last week, Kit in 3F had a letter from her brother about a French mutt his unit picked up. He even drew a picture of the dog. I’ve heard tales of dances with officers (not that I expect you to dance with an officer), pitiable descriptions of wounded men coming out of surgery and asking how many limbs remained, and accounts of air raids that would set your hair aflame.

Pages, Norma! Pages and pages they write. The soldiers, the nurses, the ambulance drivers—every one of them has something to say about the war, except you.

I know that your work with the carrier pigeons is of great importance and must be cloaked in secrecy. But once—just once—give the censor something to do! Let him go to work on a four-pager. As it is, he hardly need hold your envelope up to the light to see that it contains nothing of interest to the Germans (or to your family, for that matter). He can probably tell by weighing it how little ink has been spilled.

We’ve never been apart in our lives, and there you are, half a world away. Couldn’t you paint a picture of the sort of place you’ve been sent, or give some general idea of the goings-on?

If nothing else, I hope you’ll take seriously my suggestion to keep a diary, and to make a record of anything that wouldn’t be allowed past the censors. I put three notebooks in your trunk when you left, and I’ll send you more if you like. I’m convinced that if you don’t write something down for us to read when you return, you’ll come home and say that you single-handedly won the war and there’s nothing else to tell. Well, there is quite a bit to tell, so get to it.

Yours,

Constance (and Fleurette, if she were here, but she hardly ever is)


Norma to Constance

June 6, 1918

Dear Constance (and Fleurette, if she can be found),

I suppose you’re feeling puny down there in the parlor at night, when the others are reading their letters. I hate to think what sort of people you’re living among, but if a letter from France is all they have to prop themselves up, I suggest you let them cling to their small triumphs and get on with your own work, or have you run out of saboteurs to chase?

I’m in a village in France that I cannot name, doing work I’m not allowed to describe, with the aim of defeating the Germans, which you already knew. What more is there to say?

Food is nourishing, bed is clean and dry, the war goes on.

As ever,

Norma

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