Advance reader reviews of The Housemaid's Daughter by Barbara Mutch.

The Housemaid's Daughter

By Barbara Mutch

The Housemaid's Daughter
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  • Published in USA  Dec 2013,
    416 pages.

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There are currently 15 member reviews
for The Housemaid's Daughter
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  • Kathryn K. (Oceanside, CA)


    Loved This Book!
    The House Maidmaid's Daughter is historical fiction about apartheid in South Africa. The finely crafted story covers over forty years in time and describes how "skin" determined one's life fortune - good or bad - regardless of unfairness or democracy. It is a page turner! The author has created believable characters you cheer for, along with those who you will hold in disdain. It is such a good read! I learned things I did not know and I was touched by the power of the message the story told. I could not put the book down and I continue to think about it. I know my book group will enjoy discussing it. I loved this book!"
  • Freya H. (Phoenix, AZ)


    The Housemaid's Daughter
    What a wonderful read. From the opening sentence to the closing, the story is compelling, the characters are vividly drawn, the music, and the
    land... well, it's a winner. I would highly recommend this book for Book Clubs.
  • Pam L. (Melbourne Beach, FL)


    Tomorrow I sail to Africa
    So begins Barbara Mutch's saga about an Irish immigrant, Cathleen and her devotion to her housemaid's daughter, Ada. The reader journeys back and forth through the black and white worlds of South Africa from the 1920's.Although this novel was slow and repetitive at times for me; two facts regarding this novel make it so compelling, one is Ada's naivete. Her child-like outlook makes for the telling of a truly unbiased tale of apartheid by the many characters that are introduced through Ada's eyes. Second, is Ada's love of music and her mastery of the piano, bringing such beauty in a time of so much tragedy.
  • Rosanne S. (Franklin Square, NY)


    The Housemaid's Daughter
    The Housemaids Daughter by Barbara Mutch spans decades of struggle Africans faced against apartheid. Beautifully written in the innocent voice of Ada, the housemaid's daughter, the author brings the reader and her characters on a journey toward freedom.

    Barbara Mutch eloquently tells of Ada's life as she grows up in Cradock House. The story is delivered through many paths. Since Madam taught Ada to read, they communicate through the entries in Madam's diary. It is how Ada comes to know Madam's heart and soul, her longings for Ireland, for love and affection from her husband (the master) and her desire for Ada to have a life of freedom.

    The story continues through their love of music. Black and white hands on a piano, signifying a prayer for unity and equality.

    The repeated reference to the river Groot Vis as the dividing line between lives of white and black reflects the turmoil that Ada and her friends and family must face daily.

    As innocence fades and the cruel realities of life emerge, the housemaid's daughter becomes a resounding voice speaking for those less fortunate, those of color and the human spirit.

    I loved the simplicity in which this powerful story is told. The author did an incredible job creating characters of substance and value. The images of loss and desperation are clear and the drive for "liberation" can be felt. You can almost hear the piano chords being played.

    I predict that Barbara Mutch will have much success with The Housemaid's Daughter. I strongly encourage readers to meet Ada Madam, Dawn and all the townsfolk who defy barriers and customs in order to have a future that is colorless.
  • Alice S. (East Haven, Ct)


    Engrossing story
    This book is set in South Africa which made it particularly interesting as I have never read a historical novel about that country. Throughout the story, which takes place through 4 generations of a black family and their relationship to their white employers, the matter of race is always a prominent aspect of the story. The relationship Ada has with Madam is truly special and music is the glue that helps keeps them together. This was a very enjoyable book that I would recommend.
  • Amy G. (Bowie, MD)


    A sweeping tale of South Africa and Apartheid
    The Housemaid's Daughter follows the life of the title character. From her birth into the household of ex-pat Irish immigrants through her life living with the social changes brought on by Apartheid, the Handmaid's Tale explores the ideas of love, loyalty, servitude, acceptance and discrimination. The novel is beautifully written and will transport the reader into a world not often explored.
  • Donna W. (Wauwatosa, WI)


    A Beautiful Story
    The Housemaids Daughter is a great read. It is written in the gentle voice of the black heroine, and explores South Africa and its history during apartheid. The author uses such beautiful language that she is able to draw pictures in the reader's mind. It is a fictional story but the characters came to life and I could feel what they were going through. I highly recommend this book.
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