Monday, August 24, 2009

review and tour: the confidential life of eugenia cooper by kathleen y'barbo

Gennie Cooper wants nothing more than to have a Wild West adventure just like Mae Winslow, the heroine of her favorite dime- novels. Each chapter of The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper starts with a bit of Mae’s story. Now I know dime-novels aren’t supposed to be great writing (even Gennie is embarrassed to be caught reading them), but I think I could’ve done without the excerpts. But for whatever reason, Gennie loves those stories enough to pose as a governess for a girl in Colorado when the sister of Gennie’s maid (the real governess) needs some time off to get married. Gennie lives a privileged east coast city life, so she doesn’t exactly realize she’s going to have to spend more time working than having adventures. Her relationship with the boss, a wealthy mine owner, gets off to a horrific start because Gennie continues to act like the spoiled young woman she is and oversteps her place as an employee. This makes Gennie quite unlikable in the beginning. Surely she knows the proper way for servants to act given that she grew up with servants. Fortunately, Gennie sheds some of her selfishness as she gets to know the child whose care she’s been entrusted with.

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