Advance reader reviews of The Housemaid's Daughter

The Housemaid's Daughter

by Barbara Mutch

The Housemaid's Daughter

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for The Housemaid's Daughter
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  • Duane F. (Cape Girardeau, MO)


    The Housemaid's Daughter
    This books resounds with lyrical passages, historical and at the same time it conveys a rich sense of person. The characters are well developed and easily loved, even those one would consider as the antagonists can be seen as sympathetic. The plot is set in a period of unrest and turmoil. Apartheid and South Africa come alive as Ada ventures beyond the safety of the only home she has ever know, as a simple housemaid's daughter. The reader is engaged from the first page as this gentle, insightful, and brave young woman begins her life. Thru her narrative, we come to know the other characters.

    Women of this time were considered of less value and yet it is these strong women who must contend with the new laws against the commingling of the races. To be a woman is not of value and to be a black woman is less, but to bare or be a biracial child is criminal. Wrapped in these terms, Ada and Cathleen, her Madam, must face these laws and find a way to survive. The relationship of these two women will inspire and awe the reader.

    This book allows us to see their relationship first and the world second. It is an extraordinary story of bonds that can't be broken and love that surpasses their circumstances. And yet, it is written as a rhapsody, as beautiful as any piece of music. It spreads across the pages as nimbly as Ada's fingers fly across the keys, with Cathleen standing behind her back and Dawn, her daughter standing on the threshold of a new future for South Africa.

    Every so often I come across a book which haunts my memory, this is one that will fill and haunt the reader at the same time.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Frances B. (Virginia Beach, VA)


    The Housemaid's Daughter
    Author Barbara Mutch has scored a home run with her debut novel, The Housemaid's Daughter. Set in South Africa during apartheid, it is a deeply moving tale of love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, acceptance and shame. I read this book in two days and found the story compelling and beautifully written. Long after finishing this novel, the story lingers in my heart and mind.

    A good choice for book clubs!
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