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Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: (ARC) The House Girl

(ARC) The House Girl
Author: Tara Conklin
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Paperback: 400 pages

Source: Free from Publisher at SCIBA

Book Description

The House Girl, the historical fiction debut by Tara Conklin, is an unforgettable story of love, history, and a search for justice, set in modern-day New York and 1852 Virginia.
Weaving together the story of an escaped slave in the pre–Civil War South and a determined junior lawyer, The House Girl follows Lina Sparrow as she looks for an appropriate lead plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking compensation for families of slaves. In her research, she learns about Lu Anne Bell, a renowned prewar artist whose famous works might have actually been painted by her slave, Josephine.
Featuring two remarkable, unforgettable heroines, Tara Conklin's The House Girl is riveting and powerful, literary fiction at its very best.


I received this ARC from SCIBA (Southern California Independent Booksellers Association) in October of 2012 from the publishers table.  This ARC is now a hit and it's also Mocha Girls Read book of the month for February 2014.  
 The novel The House Girl is set in the present and the past respectfully with the story of a modern lawyer Lina Sparrow and an artistic house slave, Josephine from 1852.  Both of their stories collide when Lina's firm is hired to find a media friendly lead plaintiff in a lawsuit for representations.  Without enough time, Lina learns of Lu Anne Bell a well known painter from pre-Civil War Virginia who's artworks authenticity is now in question.  Was she the true artist of these masterpieces or was it her house slave?  
For me, the first part of this book started off really slow and it took me awhile to really get into the story.  Something about the set up took to long and I wanted to the author to just get on with it.  But when she did Tara Conklin wove a great tale.  I am calling it a tale because there were a few items that fit together just to well.  The story of a slave with a natural born talent of drawing is wonderful and I loved it for the unique point of view.  There are so, so many stories of slaves and their amazing cooking skills, dancing abilities and joyous musical skills.  The holly trinity of African American talents among slaves according to all the other slave fiction books out there.  This is one of the few (that I have read) where a slave is talented in something else.  
When Lina is out searching for the perfect plaintiff she finds him a bit too quick and of course it works out well...kinda.  I don't want to spoil it for you.  But I would think trying to find someone who is a direct descended to a slave who's could have made money to benefit their family would be really hard.  And in New York City too?  
There are a few things I would have liked to have done differently, such as the long list of names.  I noticed the author loves to have list of things, people and places and she tends to make them crazy long.  A few names gets the point across for me.  
There were a few things in each story that I did and didn't see coming witch I really enjoyed.  Overall, this is a great tale and I think it will appeal to a wide variety of readers. 

Reviews by Other Bloggers


I recommend this book to teenage readers and older.


This book is number 2 in my Diversity on the Shelf Reading Challenge
This book is number 6 in my New To Me Author Reading Challenge
This book is number 2 in my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
This book is number 2 in my Dusty Book Reading Challenge
This book is number 3 in my Off the Shelf Reading Challenge
This book is letter H in my Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

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