Constance Kopp has found a fulfilling career as the first female deputy sheriff in the U.S. But after being fired from her job by a new sheriff, Constance is bored and frustrated--not to mention depressed. In her fifth novel, Kopp Sisters on the March, Amy Stewart takes Constance and her sisters, Norma and Fleurette, in a new direction, sending them to a National Service School camp to train for war work.
Stewart (Miss Kopp Just Won't Quit) blends real-life facts about the National Service camps with the Kopp sisters' colorful personalities in her narrative. Though the camps claim to prepare women for battle, Constance is disappointed to realize the courses mostly consist of bandage-rolling and other "feminine" tasks. But when the camp matron is injured, Constance is thrust into a position of authority, while Norma shows off her trained pigeons and Fleurette tries to organize (and make costumes for) camp theatricals. Meanwhile, their tentmate is hiding a secret: she's posing as society girl Roxanna Collins, but she's really Beulah Binford, a poor, uneducated Richmond girl running from a scandal that landed her in the papers. Stewart shifts between the women's adventures at camp (including secret rifle practices in the woods) and Beulah's sordid life story, using both narrative strands to comment on the era's pervasive sexism and double standards for women. While less of a traditional mystery than Stewart's previous books, Constance's fifth adventure is still a smart, witty, richly detailed slice of little-known but fascinating history. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams