Monday, August 23, 2021

Audio Book Review: The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee book cover and review The Downstairs Girl is an enjoyable story and it enlightened me about some historical issues I had not encountered previously. 

It is 1890 in Atlanta, and Jo Kuan feels fortunate to have a job as a milliner's assistant. She is very talented and has taken the new girl under her wing. She is stunned when the milliner fires her and decides to keep the new girl. Given Jo's heritage, she is used to being treated unfairly.

She and her adoptive father, Old Gin, live secretly in the basement underneath the building where an Atlanta newspaper is printed. She feels like she knows the publishing family very well since she can listen in on their conversations, but they have no idea people are living in their basement.

Jo is forced to become a ladies' maid for the daughter of one of the most wealthy Atlanta families, where she has worked previously. She hates the job but tries to get along with the spoiled brat.

Jo is so frustrated that she becomes "Miss Sweetie," an anonymous lady who writes controversial columns for the newspaper about the inequalities of society. She can't believe how popular her opinions become and is fearful as her identity comes very close to being revealed.

There are secrets and surprises all throughout The Downstairs Girl, and I'm glad I didn't read the Amazon blurb because it gives away a big one! The plight of the seemingly invisible Asian population is unique. They weren't treated quite as badly as the black population, but yet they were not entitled to any of the privileges of the white. 

The narrator, Emily Woo Zeller, does a great job narrating. I really thought her male voices were exceptional, given she is female. I would definitely recommend the audio version.

I found The Downstairs Girl compelling, even if the ending is a bit too good to be true. The book is written for young adults, and totally appropriate and informative for that audience. I would recommend The Downstairs Girl to teens and adults alike.

Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons BFYR, 2019
Audiobook purchased from
384 pages

Rating: 4/5

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Thursday, August 12, 2021

Book Review: The Therapist, by B. A. Paris

The Therapist, by B. A. Paris, book cover and review I've read a few novels by Paris and enjoyed them, and The Therapist was no exception.

Alice and Leo are taking a big step by moving into a new house. Leo has bought it in an exclusive gated community called The Circle. He's gotten a great deal. And there is a reason.

As Alice is getting to know her neighbors, she senses something is off. She's tried hosting a cocktail party and visiting for coffee, but she still feels like she hasn't been accepted. When she finds out the previous owner had been murdered in the very bedroom in which Alice is sleeping, she begins to understand. Leo had known about the house's past and had not told her.

Leo isn't the only one keeping secrets in this relationship. I never got any chemistry between these two, even before Alice found out about the murder. Maybe Paris didn't want there to be any. Alice becomes obsessed with the murder and potentially clearing the husband (who was charged with the murder and then committed suicide.)

I enjoyed the process that Alice went through. Plenty of red herrings. Although I did figure out who the real bad person was about 70% through, I still didn't understand all of the details. 

This was a worthwhile thriller, with a bit of suspense and danger that held my interest throughout. Recommended if you enjoy the premise.

Published by St. Martin's, July 13, 2021
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
304 pages

Rating: 4/5

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