Stacey Lee's most recent novel is a stunning work of historical fiction that explores often-overlooked pieces of America's past and had me gasping at every plot twist
The Downstairs Girl holds a mirror to our present issues while giving us a detailed and vibrant picture of life in the past . . . The challenges Jo faces ring true for the novel's historical setting, but they will also ring strong for Lee's contemporary readers. As a young person, Jo is resoundingly American-an observant, open-minded, forward-thinking new woman with a Chinese face and a Southern accent. Her engaging voice, along with her emerging self-reliance and maturity, drive the novel and make her a character we can easily relate to. Punctuating her narrative with Miss Sweetie's tart and pun-filled advice, Jo's witty and arresting turns of phrase and her positive outlook give buoyancy to her story even in its dire moments. As Jo tackles all injustices head-on, and tension rises, the book races to a soundly satisfying conclusion
Once again, Stacey Lee shines light on an overlooked segment of America's past and reveals truths about its present . . . A masterful novel from an exceptional storyteller. Highly recommended
Immersive, important, and thoroughly entertaining, The Downstairs Girl sparkles with all of Stacey Lee's signature humour, charm, warmth, and wisdom
Lee has concocted another thrilling historical novel, blending stellar plotting and a dynamic cast of characters with well-researched details and sharp commentary on America's history of racism and prejudice. This spectacular, voice-driven novel raises powerful questions about how we understand the past, as well as the ways our current moment is still shaped by that understanding
A fascinating story of life in the margins . . . The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee effortlessly blends historical fact and tightly-plotted fiction into a story that you'll absolutely devour in one day
This utterly original historical fiction by Stacey Lee is an absolute delight
Jo's wit and humour shine through her narration both in the sage advice she hands out as Miss Sweetie and her casual observations . . . a compelling domestic drama with a winning heroine
This has to be my favourite, hands down, Stacey Lee book ever
In her latest work, Lee continues to demonstrate that Chinese people were present - and had a voice - in American history. She deftly weaves historical details with Jo's personal story of finding a voice and a place for herself in order to create a single, luminous work
a definite must-read . . . The Downstairs Girl is a story of race and gender in America that is not often told
Moving, thought-provoking, and historical, Stacey Lee, quite like her protagonist, writes a compelling piece
History, mystery, social commentary, adventure - this book's got it all!
A jewel of a story. By shining a light on the lives of those whom history usually ignores, Stacey Lee gives us a marvellous gift: An entirely new and riveting look at our past
Featuring historical signposts (streetcar segregation, suffragists on safety bicycles) and memorable, well-developed characters, this captivating novel explores intersectionality, conveys the effects of restrictions placed on women and people of colour, and celebrates the strengths and talents of marginalized people struggling to break society's barriers in any age
Lee's profound writing tackles topics of politics and race with a main character who isn't afraid to speak her mind
Unflinching in its portrayals of racism yet ultimately hopeful and heartfelt, this narrative places voices frequently left out of historical fiction centre stage. Recommended for any collection
A gorgeous tale that will steal your heart. This is not only a keeper, but a classic!
This book was fantastic. I loved everything about it, from the characters to the plot to the setting . . . I highly recommend that you check it out!
Clever, funny, and poignant, The Downstairs Girl is Stacey Lee at her best
Unflinching in its portrayals of racism yet ultimately hopeful and heartfelt, this narrative places voices frequently left out of historical fiction centre stage
An eye-opening social commentary, that's written with warmth and humour, it's definitely worth a read
I almost want to dare readers to not be delighted by its newspaper office shenanigans, clandestine assignations in cemeteries, and bicycle-riding adventures, but there's honestly no point. The Downstairs Girl, for all its serious and timely content, is a jolly good time
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