The Servants' Quarters

Lynn Freed, Author . Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $24 (216p) ISBN 978-0-15-101288-6

Freed's sixth novel, a moving and unconventional romance spanning 20 years, blossoms in post-WWII South Africa, where Cressida, a precocious nine year old, lives with her mother, Muriel; sister Miranda; and her comatose father. Faced with an uncertain future, the family moves into the servant's quarters at family friend George Harding's stately manor. When Cressida makes an impression on Harding, a wealthy but disfigured former RAF pilot, she is invited to the big house to serve as a companion to Harding's “slow” nephew. Harding also appoints himself mentor to Cressida, and it gradually comes to light that his interest in Cressida may extend past mentorship, even though his gnarled body becomes a physical manifestation of Cressida's many fears. With time, as Harding's health worsens, however, Cressida is beguiled by what she initially perceived to be grotesque. Freed handles issues of class, wealth and dedication with a light but knowing hand, adding depth to a bittersweet love story. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/02/2009
Release date: 04/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-0-547-33603-9
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-547-39387-2
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