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Insightful,
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4 reviews

The Housemaid's Daughter
by Barbara Mutch

Published: 2013-12-10
Hardcover : 416 pages
6 members reading this now
9 clubs reading this now
0 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 4 of 4 members
Barbara Mutch's stunning first novel 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 ...
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Introduction

Barbara Mutch's stunning first novel 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.

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

South African Apartheid Versus Civil Rights and Slavery in America
The definition of family and women's roles in a family
The effects of WWII on South Africa
by sarahjanebenson (see profile) 02/20/14

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Book Club Recommendations

Serve Food from S. Africa
by sarahjanebenson (see profile) 02/20/14
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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by lvplum (see profile) 07/14/17

 
  "The Housemaids Daughter"by Patti Harrington (see profile) 05/10/17

This book was a great look into the race relations of their time and the characters were so believable to me. The relationship between Ada, the main character, and Madam was something that ... (read more)

 
  "this book takes you on a journey"by cskoniec (see profile) 08/27/15

It feels like it should have been 100 years earlier. A beautifully written story of life in Africa in the early to mid 1900s and the struggle for human rights and racial equality.

 
  "Wonderful Book"by sarahjanebenson (see profile) 02/20/14

This book was an easy read- and very timely with the death of Nelson Mandela- It was interesting learning more about South Africa and Apartheid through the eyes of some very strong appealing female characters.... (read more)

 
  "The Housemaid's Daughter"by mealbank (see profile) 06/21/13

A very good read. Very believable. Ada was a very real character whose pain and courage came through. Very interesting take on race relations, especially when talking about mixed race peoples. Very... (read more)

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