Book Review: The Housemaid’s Daughter by Barbara Mutch

Posted March 8, 2015 by love2dazzle in Fiction, Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Housemaid’s Daughter by Barbara MutchThe Housemaid's Daughter by Barbara Mutch
Published by Headline Review on 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Historical
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: St. Martin's Press
Buy on Amazon

Duty and love collide on the arid plains of central South Africa. Previously released as 'Karoo Plainsong' this is a fully revised debut novel.Cathleen Harrington leaves her home in Ireland in 1919 to travel to South Africa and marry the fiance she has not seen for five years. Isolated and estranged in a harsh landscape, she finds solace in her diary and the friendship of her housemaid's daughter, Ada. Cathleen recognises in her someone she can love and respond to in a way that she cannot with her own husband and daughter. Under Cathleen's tutelage, Ada grows into an accomplished pianist, and a reader who cannot resist turning the pages of the diary, discovering the secrets Cathleen sought to hide. When Ada is compromised and finds she is expecting a mixed-race child, she flees her home, determined to spare Cathleen the knowledge of her betrayal, and the disgrace that would descend upon the family. Scorned within her own community, Ada is forced to carve a life for herself, her child, and her music. But Cathleen still believes in Ada, and risks the constraints of apartheid to search for her and persuade her to return with her daughter. Beyond the cruelty, there is love, hope - and redemption.

“The Housemaid’s Daughter” by Barbara Mutch is a beautifully written tale about a young black girl named Ada. She grew up in the service of Irish immigrants in South Africa. Ada is the daughter of the housekeeper for the Harrington’s. Cathleen Harrington takes a liking to Ada. Cathleen teaches Ada to read, write, math, and to play the piano.

Ada ends up running away from the household even though she is treated very well. Ada ends up teaching music under a different name to other blacks and mixed raced people. Cathleen wants to track down Ada but her husband will not let her search for Ada.

This book takes the reader through Ada’s journey from growing up and running away to being a teacher of music. I though this story was really good and very interesting. The story is told from Ada’s point of view on the world but Cathleen definitely plays a huge part of the story.

Mutch is a very talented writer. She has a wonderful way with words. She writes so beautifully. I think she does a great job with this story. I think it is definitely a wonderful story and worth reading. It covers major issues like prejudices and the segregation of people. On top of it all I think the cover is fantastic.


About love2dazzle

Ali Kiki is a reader, writer, reviewer, blogger, and photographer in Portland, OR. An avid reader since childhood, you can usually find her devouring a book or stalking the bookstagram hashtag in her lovely apartment surrounded by books. Ali has been blogging since 2006 and she created Dazzled by Books in 2012. Her most recent adventure is making bookish candles for Stub Tail Candle Co., which are sold on Etsy.

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