Here's the Book Beginning:
I came into that house of sickness just after the Great War, as a girl of seventeen. They were there waiting for me, father and daughter, like a pair of birds, with their long noses and their great black eyes. The girl was a slip of a thing, no more than twelve, but she spoke up for the father in a loud, deep voice. Can you do this, Agnes? Have you ever done that? And the old man sat in his armchair with his watch chain and his penny spectacles, his pipe in his mouth and the little black moustache. Sometimes he said something to the girl in their own language, and then she would start up again. Agnes, do you know how to-
The Friday 56 (from Page 56 in my paperback):
In the books I read, there was nothing but joy in the hearts of the mothers, except when they weren't real mothers at all, but only stepmothers. And then it was all rage and fury, and the girls cowering under the rod or eating poisoned apples. But here was I, the real mother, and I thought, She'll not always be a child, and I'll not always be young and beautiful. And who will I have then but her?
Genre: Historical Fiction
Book Length: 219 Pages (plus a reader's guide)
Amazon Link: The Mirror
Author's Website: Lynn Freed
Synopsis (from Amazon):
This is the story of Agnes La Grange, a beautiful young woman who emigrates as a housekeeper to South Africa in 1920. With a determination to make a future of her own and a love of men that does not leave her in desperate need of them, Agnes constructs a life beyond the conventions of colonial society. Written in her own fresh and unguarded voice, The Mirror is a fictional memoir, telling the story of the essential female, what she must do to survive, and how little the cost has changed over time.
FYI: A friend recently cleared out some books from her collection and gave a lot of them to me. This book was among them. It was copyrighted in 1997, and there were no grammatical or other errors in the book to distract me.