adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $20.99

Buy for $20.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

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, 17-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.

©2019 Stacey Lee (P)2019 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Spectacular." (Booklist starred review)

Featured Article: The Best Women Narrators to Listen to Right Now


When considering a new audiobook, one of the biggest questions listeners have is whether they'll enjoy the narration style. Luckily, there are so many wonderful voice actors performing audiobooks that you might just find yourself gravitating to certain books solely on the strength of the narrator. It was difficult, but we rounded up 10 of the best women narrators with an extensive and diverse list of audiobooks to their credit. Find your new favorite below.

What listeners say about The Downstairs Girl

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    334
  • 4 Stars
    114
  • 3 Stars
    45
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    7
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    345
  • 4 Stars
    78
  • 3 Stars
    27
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    11
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    303
  • 4 Stars
    102
  • 3 Stars
    37
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    6

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. I loved all the sayings. The underdog came out like a Champ.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Overflowing With Things to Ponder

Truly a wonderful story. Narration perfect but I am ordering a print copy so I can go back through and highlight and steal the most wonderful literary devices I have ever heard. A unique story (for me) not because it's set in the South but from the perspective of a Chinese American girl at the end of the 19th century. The cast of characters is diverse and Jo struggles with racism, sexism, and painful rejection but joy perseveres. Going to have to check out what I have been missing from Stacey Lee.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

I loved everything about this book.
The characters, the story and the narration were so well done. Thanks to Reece's book recommendations I found this gem

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

inaccurate historic details

The story is somewhat interesting, but the depictions of horses' behavior, horseback riding, and various historical details are pure fabrication. I found those details were very distracting as I listened to the story. The plot is good, with some unexpected twists, but it would have been a much better book if an equine-savvy editor had looked it over first.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Touching Story

I felt like I really got to know the characters. This is an honest and sometimes sad look a moment in our country's history when not everyone was treated equally. The story is nicely researched and put together.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Resilience, love, kindness win the day

Jo is a very likable, admirable Chinese teen orphan living in Atlanta during Reconstruction, who along with Old Jin is eking out the life that is available to them at that time in this country. Old Jin's wisdom and love for Jo have helped make her who she is and who she will be, While finding ways to do more and be more, she uses her sharp wit and self-confidence to make life better for them both. They endure racism and poor treatment and in the end Jo learns about her family and the ways racism was a part of them and effected them.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Exceptionally written!

This is a book I couldn’t put down. So many emotions stirred in me. Having a Korean adopted daughter, myself, it made the cultural issues heartbreaking. Yet, because of the perseverance and personality of Jo in the story, each victory she had you wanted to jump up and celebrate with her. There were surprises and twists in the storyline along the way; making for a most interesting read!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This was a recommendation, which I also highly recommend

With so many twists & turns, you’ll find yourself saying one more chapter until you realize you’re at the end. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a book in as quickly, because I wanted to know what happens next. There were many time I caught myself laughing aloud or gasping with new developments from the brilliant writing Stacey Lee brings to the characters. Also, hearing multiple references of ATL & knowing are just down the block from where I live, I was transported back in time as if I was seeing my neighborhood.
Emily Woo Zeller does a beautiful narration. Being from the South, I love the Southern drawl that brought a smile to my face.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ty
  • 01-14-22

Giddy Goobers!

This book is amazing. I loved the narrator’s voices as well as every second of this story! I fell in love with the characters and the story carried me along weaving me through Jo’s life. I was sad it was over when it ended. It was so good. Read it - you’ll be so glad you did!! (And you’ll understand why I titled this review Giddy Goobers once you read it!)

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Do not read if you are Southern

This is exactly the book I would imagine someone from Southern California to write about Atlanta.

I'm from Georgia and love Atlanta history; which is why I was interested in this book. There is no Atlanta history, the characters are all stereotypes with no depth and the author does not understand the culture.

I would love more history of the Chinese in the south-fantastic topic! This book has nothing to do with that. Most Chinese came to the US via California and the author is from California. Why set it in the South? Because it is a book about hate and overcoming hatred and those who don't know love to put that sticker on the south. Discuss what the Chinese had to overcome in California-it was a lot. In the south minorities had to overcome and to them go the glory. This book is trying to hitch a wagon to their train and it makes me angry.

I understand this is a YA but if the foundation is flawed the building will not stand.

That being said the author is a good writer and the there were good parts. If you don't know history, love stereotypes and hypocrisy then this is for you.