Duty and love collide on the arid plains of central South Africa. Cathleen Harrington leaves her home in Ireland. Barbara Mutch, author of the very successful novel The Housemaid's Daughter dropped by The Book Lounge in Cape Town on Wednesday to. The Housemaid's Daughter book cover. Writer Barbara Mutch initially took the self-publishing route with her debut novel about the close.


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Were they based in historical fact? The book is a work of fiction! What happens to Ada and Cathleen and their families is a product of my imagination!

THE HOUSEMAID'S DAUGHTER by Barbara Mutch | Kirkus Reviews

Having said that, there are many people out there whose stories would resemble those of Cath and Ada… As the housemaids daughter the historical aspects, these the housemaids daughter as close as possible to the truth.

I wanted to portray the Karoo, where the book is set, and the events of the apartheid era, as accurately as I could.


What was the most difficult part about writing the novel? So much of the story is seen through her eyes that it was crucial the housemaids daughter get it right. While her character and opinions were influenced by many people whom The housemaids daughter met while growing up in South Africa, the key lay in finding a particular tone, and a way of looking at the world.

The Housemaid's Daughter

Once I found these, the story began to flow. I think that people find it hard to look back, especially in South The housemaids daughter. Originally published as Karoo Plainsong, Mutch told the audience that very little was changed when the novel was republished.

She is such an interesting mix of them all.

I had no idea of the struggles for mixed race families—being rejected by both sides. To categorize people so minutely—although I know that happened in the States.

The Housemaid’s Daughter

Dawn broke my heart. From the moment Ada realized she was pregnant, I had this heavy feeling for Dawn and her future.


I grew up with a lot of friends from mixed-race backgrounds. Identity is a tricky thing. One of the hardest parts of adolescence.

And seeing Dawn ignore those confines of society reminded everyone else of what they have just accepted, which would suggest the housemaids daughter should remain lonely and isolated.

It is adolescent Ada who nurses him when he returns. His family was wealthy, controlling a rice-milling empire worth millions; but within months of the the housemaids daughter takeover, the Chungs lost everything and were reduced to abject poverty.

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.

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