The Servants’ Quarters

servants quartersTITLE:  The Servants’ Quarters

AUTHOR: Lynn Freed

GENRE:  Historic Fiction


SETTING(S) :  120th century AD, 1960s (Decade) AD, 1950s (Decade) AD, 1940s (Decade) AD

SUBJECT:  Jews, Family, Love

MAIN CHARACTERS:  Cressida, George Harding and Edgar

SUMMARY: Haunted by phantoms of the Second World War and the Holocaust, young Cressida lives in terror of George Harding, who, severely disfigured, has returned from the front to recover in his family’s stately African home. When he plucks young Cressida’s beautiful mother and her family from financial ruin, establishing them in the old servants’ quarters of his estate, Cressida is swept into a future inexorably bound to his.In the new setting, she finds that she is, after all, indentured. She is conscripted to enliven George Harding’s nephew, the hopelessly timid Edgar, to make him “wild and daring.” And she takes on this task with resentful fury, leading the boy astray and, in the process, learning to manipulate differences in power, class, background, and ambition.Only slowly does she come to understand that George Harding himself is watching her. And waiting…Via: Good Reads



I thought this book was pretty good, it did get a little dry at some parts.  Cressida kept bouncing back and forth from living with her mom and George Harding throughout the story.  And sometimes I felt Cressida was a little bratty, but so was her mom in the way she took advantage of men.  Especially when her husband was still living and it did not take too long for Cressida’s mother to remarry, which effected and changed Cressida’s life situation as well.

Once Cressida turns 17 years old I felt she became more like her mother, because she learned to use her beauty to control men.  I’m not sure if she ever discovers how much she is like her mom.  This is a relatively short book and has one simple plots that is pretty simple to summarize. Simply how 17-year-old Cressida get a WWII veteran’s attention and convince him to marry her.

It is not an easy task for Cressida because their have been several women including her own mother who have tried to get George’s attention and failed.  In the beginning Cressida hated George Harding in fact one time she described him as discussing.  Cressida unfortunately did not grow up with a father who was healthy but a father who stayed in bed and was in a coma state.  I think George Harding becomes a father figure then it kinda grew from that to more of a protector & lover.  The ending goes well for Cressida but not so well for George Harding depending for your perspective.  They really don’t have a lot in common besides her showing some kindness toward’s George’s mother.

It is a book that really wasn’t a page turner for me, but it wasn’t very hard to read either.  It is a book that did not take too much time to read because it is only 216 pages long.  It is not the worse book I’ve read but not the best.