Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Housemaid's Daughter

Idgie Says:
This novel begins shortly before Apartheid in South Africa.  Cathleen comes over from Ireland for marriage with a man she hasn't seen in 5 years.  Off the boat she is desperately lonely and gravitates toward their housemaid as a companion.  This starts a story of muddied racial boundries that will last through her entire life.  She often feels closer to the housemaid's daughter than her own children, and when matters take a unexpected turn in the household, she finds must decide between her husband, Ada.......and the new Apartheid laws.

I felt for Ada as between her mother and Cathleen, she was sheltered so much that she was completely unprepared for real life. 

This novel gives a good inside view of living through the beginnings of Apartheid. 


Originally published hardback 2013
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (January 13, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 125005446X
ISBN-13: 978-1250054463

Book Description:
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.