NPR

'The Downstairs Girl' Faces Difficult History With Joy And Style

In Stacey Lee's new novel, an opinionated and talented Chinese American girl makes her way in Reconstruction-era Atlanta while preserving her secret work as an advice columnist in the local paper.
Source: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

In her previous works of historical fiction, Stacey Lee offered readers a Chinese-American perspective on the Old West and turn-of-the-century San Francisco. Now, with The Downstairs Girl, she turns to the post-Reconstruction era South.

As a Chinese girl living in late 19th century Atlanta, Ga., Jo Kuan constantly struggles to remain invisible. She was born in America but can't be a citizen or even rent a proper apartment, so she lives

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