The Housemaid's Daughter

The Housemaid's Daughter

Book - 2012
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Publisher: London : Headline Review, c2012.
ISBN: 9780755392094
Branch Call Number: FICTION MUT
Characteristics: 401 p. ; 23 cm.


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DBRL_KrisA Nov 09, 2020

It took me a while to really get into this one, but once I did, I was hooked. Another instance of an author writing about a place and era I know very little about (pre-apartheid South Africa). I always enjoy it when an author, writing fiction, is able to educate me about historical events.

There are some that may say that Mutch, as a white woman, can't completely understand the experience of her main character Ada, a black woman, and I can't really address that myself (being neither). I do feel that, in some ways, Mutch made the argument for civil rights activists using appeasement and asking for rights, when others have argued for demanding rights and using more aggressive measures.

The last few chapters of the book were very emotional for me. Without revealing specifics, there were some sad leave-takings, along with some happy homecomings, and both had me in tears.

Aug 15, 2016


May 12, 2016

Enjoyed this story told mainly from the point of view of the housemaid's daughter Ada. It begins before Apartheid and closes at the end of that era in South Africa.

Mar 17, 2015

A novel that reads effortlessly, beautifully. Ada becomes a strong woman that eventually survives all despite no end of opportunities for her life to run off the rails. It is a story of (unromantic) love & loyalty in the midst of the violence of 20th century South Africa. I cried too, and could hardly put it down.

Jun 20, 2014

This novel was much more than I thought it would be. I did not expect to me moved to tears so many times reading this well written novel. This is not a summer beach read, as all your friends will wonder why you are crying, but it did open my eyes and make me look up more of the events that occurred in the apartheid years in South Africa.

Jane60201 Feb 06, 2014

Historical fiction "lite". There are better books about this period of history.

Mar 21, 2013

This novel made me cry. i loved the way it was written because it gave me a clear picture of that part of South Africa and exactly what was going on during that time. This i s a good read.

LaughingOne Jan 07, 2013

This novel carries us from 1919 to 1961 or so in a town in South Africa, focusing on one family - Master, Madam, son and daughter - and their maid (handmaid) and her daughter (and her daugher). It is written mostly from the perspective of Ada, the handmaid's daughter, but also has diary notes of Madam, showing the same events from different views. The story caught me up and carried me along through drought, war, racism, unexpected kindnesses, illness and death, birth and the issues of different skin colours and, finally apartheid. Ada is a young black woman who is nurtured by her mother and the white Madam, learns to read and write, to play the piano, and to have convictions that she holds to with integrity and dignity. This book is an inside look at life in a country that deals with skin colour differences in pretty extreme ways. Well worth reading.

ontherideau Dec 22, 2012

A story of apartheid in South Africa. Recc for readers who like Book of Negroes, The Help or the movie Skin by director Anthony Fabian.

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Mar 21, 2013

Tziporah_Vee thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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Mar 21, 2013

I have never sought to be well known. I have preferred the shadows ever since my sin of lying with a white man - and the shame that walks with me every day because of it. (page 337)


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