Clever, funny, and poignant, The Downstairs Girl is Stacey Lee at her best
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
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
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
Immersive, important, and thoroughly entertaining, The Downstairs Girl sparkles with all of Stacey Lee's signature humour, charm, warmth, and wisdom
Unflinching in its portrayals of racism yet ultimately hopeful and heartfelt, this narrative places voices frequently left out of historical fiction centre stage
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
Lee's profound writing tackles topics of politics and race with a main character who isn't afraid to speak her mind
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
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 gorgeous tale that will steal your heart. This is not only a keeper, but a classic!
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