The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper
Reviewed by Teresa Konopka
Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper” by Kathleen Y’Barbo is an
enjoyable Western novel. Set in the late nineteenth century, the
follows the story of a well-off New Yorker who goes to Denver.
does this so her servant’s relative may marry and not have to be go be
a governess in Denver.
Catapulted into the new world of child
rearing and subservience, Eugenia is beside herself. Eugenia must
an unruly child named Charlotte, which is in itself an adventure.
Speaking of adventures, Eugenia is an avid Mae West reader and desires
to live a life akin to hers. In fact, each chapter includes an
from the Mae West novels that parallels Eugenia’s experiences.
real drama ensues when Eugenia writes an indignant letter to
Charlotte’s father. She tells him to come home and tend to his
instead of his business. Believing the governess was insulting
parenting skills, Charlotte’s father Daniel returns home ready to fire
the girl’s governess. Eugenia and Daniel meet in a store, and
know who the other is. Flirting ensues, and both characters are
enamored by the new stranger they have just met. When Eugenia and
Daniel learn who each other are, they are flabbergasted. So
back and forth melodrama. Both are infuriated with the other’s
character but intrigued by the other’s physical appearance.
no time, Daniel makes his feelings for Eugenia clear. Also, a
friend of Eugenia claims to love Daniel (who does not pay her a wink of
attention). Delicately, Eugenia also falls in love with
town lets on, and both Daniel’s and Eugenia’s reputations are at stake
when they kiss in public. Romantic displays of affection without
married are outrageous. The details in the novel are enough to
to romance but not enough to be considered graphic. The couple
only as far as kissing, and the honeymoon is only alluded to once they
In the end, Eugenia’s cover is blown throughout
town when people realize she isn’t who she said she was. The
secret was kept away from her family, as well as her soon-to-be husband
banker. In a shocking turn of events, Eugenia leaves behind her
York life and fiance banker for a wild west adventure with her new