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Another Woman's Daughter

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  812 ratings  ·  143 reviews

Set against the tumultuous background of apartheid South Africa, a powerful and moving debut about family, sacrifice, and discovering what it means to belong…

Celia Mphephu knows her place in the world. A black servant working in the white suburbs of 1960s Johannesburg, she’s all too aware of her limitations. Nonetheless, she has found herself a comfortabl
Paperback, U.S. Edition, 304 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Berkley (first published January 1st 2014)
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Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Celia Mphephu is black. She works as a maid for Mr & Mrs Steiner. It's the early 1960s in Johannesburg, South Africa. Celia's six-year-old daugher Miriam happily follows her mother around the house as she works, unaware of the differences between them and the Master and Madam.

The young Nelson Mandela burns his passbook and young black men join the anti apartheid protests. The tension between white and black brings more violence and fear and the Steiners decide it is time to leave South Africa an
Feb 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
This is Fiona Sussman's first novel and it is wonderful. Celia is a black servant in apartheid South Africa working for a white couple from England. She has several children, however only the youngest (Miriam) is with her. When the white couple flees Africa, Celia allows them to adopt Miriam in order to give her, what Celia believes, will be a better life in England. This is the crux of the story but as the story evolves, Sussman touches on many areas such as racism in both England and South Afr ...more
Natalie Richards
Although I enjoyed the story, I found it very light for such a serious subject matter. It could`ve/should`ve gone a lot deeper in my opinion. ...more
Diane S ☔
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 review to follow.
RoseMary Achey
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
An interesting twist at the end of this book that readers will not see coming was not enough to breath life into otherwise flat characters and a predictable novel. On the plus side, you will learn a bit about the horrors of apartheid and Another Woman's Daughter is a super quick read.
Lauren Cecile
Oct 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting look at apartheid in South Africa. Along with all the other injustices and violence, it was maddening to see the audacity of someone who could just "take" someone else's child as her own. Another layer attempts to show how the "daughter" adjusts to the dichotomy of being black and "privileged" in her new home in Britain and coming to terms with her memories and roots.
Elizabeth Lunn
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was instantly engaged with the characters, and the beautiful imagery made them instantly relatable. A fantastic read :)
I thought this was a moving vibrant story of a young woman growing up as an adopted African girl to a white European couple.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a beautiful book. It wasn't as harsh as a lot of books set in this time but it wasn't unrealistic either. A nice inbetween that showed the truth of adversity in South Africa in the 1960s while also telling a story of family hardships and the importance of knowing and experiencing your roots.
Cynthia (Bingeing On Books)
I received this ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

The language in this book was absolutely riveting. I was fascinated to read a book set in apartheid South Africa. This is very different from the stuff I suavely read, but in a good way. Celia is a black maid who works for a white couple in Johannesburg. She has three other sons who live far away with her mom, but her daughter (Miriam) lives with her. Celia is worried about her daughter because the violence is getting worse. So
May 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I initially expected a heart-wrenching, tragic story, brutal accounts of the apartheid system which may have been hard to take and instead I got a nice story totally lacking in substance. I actually thought it was a teen/ YA book. It was just too much of an easy read for the subject matter. The author could have taken the story so much further, dealt with the apartheid issue in more detail, given us more of an insight into the characters' thoughts and feelings. I just felt as if I was reading a ...more
This books follows the story of a little girl's life as she tries to find her mother after being adopted by a white South African couple and taken to live with them in England. I found this story sweet but lacking in excitement. And unfortunately, it was quite predictable. That said, it had some lovely imagery and tries to tell a story of power and politics during apartheid in South Africa. I found that the book seemed like it didn't know how much it wanted to get into the world of apartheid so ...more
May 05, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Started out mildly interesting, became quite flat to the point of annoyance quite soon. The characters are just drafts, the storyline is predictable and the jumps in time only further the sense of alienation from the story and protagonists. Oh, now Miriam is suddenly 13, things happen, then she is 17, another thing happens, and all of a sudden she is in her mid-twenties and by then I'd lost all interest. I particularly dislike one-dimensional antagonists, and Miriam's adoptive mother is just tha ...more
Nov 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you had asked me if this was a debut book or not, I would never have guessed it was a debut novel by new author Fiona Sussman. This book reads like Ms. Sussman is a seasoned professional.

I instantly was captivated by the world locations of South Africa and England. Although I was more drawn to South Africa. Yet, I was drawn to both Celia and Miriam. Both women overcame adversity and became stronger for it. Although I must admit that I was not surprised by the missing part in Miriam's past. H
I received this book for free, for taking part in the Goodreads First Reads program.

The synopsis for this book was one which certainly intrigued me, as I have not read much fiction based in relatively modern-day Africa. Following the recent death of Nelson Mandela, the history of apartheid in South Africa has become a talking point once again, and it is refreshing to hear people talking so openly again about it.

In the 1960s, with racial tensions escalating in Johannesburg, a black house-servant
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Review copy kindly provided by Allison & Busby Ltd, via Booksellers NZ

I remember as a university student in the early 1980s, fresh out of a sheltered existence at my high school, being confronted almost head-on with The World as seen through the eyes of the university student newspaper. Apart from the usual gripes that students had towards the tertiary education policy of the day, the overwhelming memory I have of those weekly student newspapers is the ongoing co
Suze Lavender
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Celia Mphephu works for the Steiners. They're living in a white suburb in South Africa. Celia has a daughter, Miriam, and she loves her more than anything in the world. It's the beginning of the sixties and unrest grows in the country. So much that Mr. and Mrs. Steiner don't feel safe any longer. They want to go to England and because they don't have any children of their own they ask Celia if they can adopt Miriam. They will give her a secure future with more education than she'd ever been able ...more
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Celia Mphephu is a black maid in Johannesburg. The apartheid era has started Her bosses decide to escape the dangers of South Africa and return to England. Childless, they offer to adopt Celia's daughter Miriam and take her to a better and safer life.

The book then goes through two parallel paths of Miriam, a young black girl growing up in England in the 60s and 70s, with Celia's and her life during the apartheid years. Both have very sad tales. Miriam's adopted mother finds she does not really w
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book has a lot of potential but is quite a let down. I wanted to enjoy it because the premise is compelling, and there's so much potential for character development and strong social commentary. But the author rushed through and only skimmed the surface of what could have been some much deeper conversations on race, class, identity, and inequality. I kept waiting for her to actually explore all the issues she raised, but in the end she seemed to rely more on tropes just to move the story al ...more
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to hear Fiona Sussman read an excerpt from this book at the Auckland Writer's Festival of 2015, and I fell in love with the language immediately. Despite not having the rest of the book read to me by the author, as I continued on in my own reading of it I found a real sense of personal voice in Shifting Colours. I thought it was absolutely beautiful, everything from the way it was written to the interweaving of plots. I would thoroughly recommend this book - and enjoyed the oc ...more
Christine Williams
It started out with writing that I thought was "delicious", but after the first few chapters it felt like the author had gone out and someone else had written the rest. Instead of feeling I was within the characters they all became quite two dimensional. Quite a good story, and addresses issues, but I really did not like the ending. It felt twee.

Robin O'Brien
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
I now understand apartheid in South Africa. I thought England was so much more open to color than the United States. Not if this book is true. A book telling of the deep love between mother and child.
Christi Poulsom
Mar 30, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I only read a bit of it, I just didn't feel very engaged with the story. I'm sure its fine, just not for me.
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have to give this a five. I was totally sucked into the descriptions of Africa.
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was a page turner! I could really feel the emotions of the characters.
Check out more of my thoughts in my BookTube video:
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So good. Listened as an audiobook and couldn't stop.
Apr 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
Couldn't finish....bleeh
Kathryn in FL
Feb 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, africa, s-africa
Fiona Sussman is an author that I will probably read again. "Another Woman's Daughter" is a sad tale of a black woman in the late 1950's living as a servant to a young white couple just at the cusp of Apartheid. When things start to turn dicey, this childless couple decides to return to England and offers to adopt her daughter so that she can have educational opportunities that are illegal to blacks in that day. The suggestion is presented with lots of promises including annual visits so that th ...more
E.S. Danon
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Born in South Africa, now living in New Zealand, Fiona is a former GP who hung up her stethoscope to pursue another longheld dream, to write. She has written a number of highly acclaimed short stories, most recently 'A Breath, A Bunk, A Land, A Sky', shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2020. Her debut novel, 'Shifting Colours', was published in the UK in 2014 and in the USA in Oct 2 ...more

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