“I never expected to love The Downstairs Girl as much as I did. This book has it all - love, romance, family secrets, and a delightful, well-crafted story. It takes place in Atlanta in 1890 and Jo is the lovable protagonist who works as a ladies maid by day and an undercover advice columnist by night. The writing was the star of this lovely story. The words and Southern expressions were music to my ears. I highly recommend this witty, insightful, cleverly-written book. The narration was nothing less than brilliant.”Melinda, Buttonwood Books and Toys
From the critically-acclaimed author of Under a Painted Sky and Outrun the Moon and founding member of We Need Diverse Books comes a powerful novel about identity, betrayal, and the meaning of family. By day, seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan works as a lady's maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, "Dear Miss Sweetie." When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of the pen to address some of society's ills, but she's not prepared for the backlash that follows when her column challenges fixed ideas about race and gender. While her opponents clamor to uncover the secret identity of Miss Sweetie, a mysterious letter sets Jo off on a search for her own past and the parents who abandoned her as a baby. But when her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta's most notorious criminal, Jo must decide whether she, a girl used to living in the shadows, is ready to step into the light. With prose that is witty, insightful, and at times heartbreaking, Stacey Lee masterfully crafts an extraordinary social drama set in the New South.