A Pretty Age
by Barbara Mueller
Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press, 2013
A Pretty Age tells the intertwined story of two young women living in Kansas in 1910. When the book opens, best friends Sophiny Mumm and Antoinette Dominguez are students at a Catholic boarding school when a handsome missionary, Brother Claude, arrives from Brazil and quickly captures the young girls' imaginations. Meanwhile, Antoinette, whose father has died and whose mother has stopped communicating with her, confides in her friend her plans to elope. She begins to act very strangely and has the two of them begin to trade identities. She also has them ostensibly end their friendship so that no one will question Sophiny when she disappears in the dead of night.
After Antoinette leaves in a veil of mystery, Sophiny's own mother dies and she must return home to care for her brothers. At this point, her quest for her missing friend begins in earnest and it quickly becomes evident that all is not what it seems.
A Pretty Age is a compelling mystery with a subtext of exploring young women's roles in the early 1900s. It makes for very interesting reading.