The Housemaid’s Daughter by Barbara Mutch
Genre: Fiction / Historical / General
Pages: 416 Jacketed Hardcover
Date Published: December 10th, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Macmillan
A stunning first novel that tells a story of love and duty colliding on the arid plains of Apartheid-era South Africa
When Cathleen Harrington leaves her home in Ireland in 1919 to travel to South Africa, she knows that she does not love the man she is to marry there —her fiance Edward, whom she has not seen for five years. Isolated and estranged in a small town in the harsh Karoo desert, her only real companions are her diary and her housemaid, and later the housemaid’s daughter, Ada. When Ada is born, Cathleen recognizes in her someone she can love and respond to in a way that she cannot with her own family.
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. As they grow closer, Ada sees new possibilities in front of her—a new horizon. But in one night, everything changes, and Cathleen comes home from a trip to find that Ada has disappeared, scorned by her own community. Cathleen must make a choice: should she conform to society, or search for the girl who has become closer to her than her own daughter?
Set against the backdrop of a beautiful, yet divided land, The Housemaid’s Daughter is a startling and thought-provoking novel that intricately portrays the drama and heartbreak of two women who rise above cruelty to find love, hope, and redemption.
I meant to share this book last week, but there was a blog-technological mix-up! So I’m glad to share the details with you today. Seeing the cover online is lovely, but that is nothing compared to getting the book in hand. The spine is a lovely aqua-teal marbled cover (to match the title on the cover) and it really highlights the cover in my opinion and makes it truly beautiful.
This books has a unique setting and I do not think I’ve ever read a historical set in South Africa. It was a different time and place for me, but piqued my interested. There are characters that are not my favorite, but I think the purpose behind it all is powerful. While I do not see this as being on my favorites list I do see it being one that is meant for discussion.
I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.
BARBARA MUTCH was born and raised in South Africa, the granddaughter of Irish immigrants. She is married with two sons and divides her time between Cape Town and London.
Read an Excerpt
Today I left for Africa.
Out of the front door I went, and down the flagstone path. The gulls were shrieking over Bannock cliffs and my dearest sister Ada was crying. Mother – in the brown dress she wore for weddings and christenings – looked the other way. Remember this, I kept telling myself as I climbed into the pony trap.
Remember this: the wheeling gulls, the click of the waves on the pebbles in the Cove, Father’s hands red and chapped, Eamon shifting from foot to foot, a waft of peaty earth and chimney smoke and lilac.