‘A triumph of storytelling. A bold portrait of this country’s past, brilliantly painted with wit, heartbreak, and unflinching honesty. Everyone needs to read this book’ Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta.
But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie.” When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society’s ills, but she’s not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby.
But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light. With prose that is witty, insightful, and at times heartbreaking, Stacey Lee masterfully crafts an extraordinary social drama set in the New South.
‘A jewel of a story. By shining a light on the lives of those whom history usually ignores, Stacey Lee gives us a marvelous gift: An entirely new and riveting look at our past’ Candace Fleming, award-winning author of The Family Romanov ‘Clever, funny, and poignant, The Downstairs Girl is Stacey Lee at her best’ Evelyn Skye, New York Times bestselling author of The Crown’s Game ‘Immersive, important, and thoroughly entertaining, The Downstairs Girl sparkles with all of Stacey Lee’s signature humor, charm, warmth, and wisdom’ Kelly Loy Gilbert, Morris Award Finalist for Conviction