The Servants' Quarters
256 pages; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Don't look for easy sentiment in Lynn Freed's fiction. What you'll find instead is unblinking insight into the unruly nature of passion and the subtle imperatives of class. Her latest novel, The Servants' Quarters, is set in post-World War II South Africa, where a girl named Cressida hurtles into adolescence under the unnerving eye of Mr. Harding, the brooding, disfigured, oddly compelling owner of Harding's Rest. Newly impoverished, Cressida and her harsh, flamboyant mother are now living in the servants' quarters of Harding's Rest, where shadows of Nazi atrocities seep into Cressida's dreams and social insecurity brings out the devil in her. A story of civilization and savagery, brisk as a strong cup of tea.
— Cathleen Medwick