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Thursday, November 7, 2013

TLC Book Tours: The House Girl by Tara Conklin

Title: The House Girl
Author: Tara Conklin
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: February 12, 2013
Source: TLC Book Tours

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
What's the Story?:

From "Virginia, 1852. Seventeen-year-old Josephine Bell decides to run from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell. New York City, 2004. Lina Sparrow, an ambitious first-year associate in an elite law firm, is given a difficult, highly sensitive assignment that could make her career: she must find the “perfect plaintiff” to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves.

It is through her father, the renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers Josephine Bell and a controversy roiling the art world: are the iconic paintings long ascribed to Lu Anne Bell really the work of her house slave, Josephine? A descendant of Josephine’s would be the perfect face for the reparations lawsuit—if Lina can find one. While following the runaway girl’s faint trail through old letters and plantation records, Lina finds herself questioning her own family history and the secrets that her father has never revealed: How did Lina’s mother die? And why will he never speak about her?

Moving between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing, suspenseful and heartbreaking tale of art and history, love and secrets, explores what it means to repair a wrong and asks whether truth is sometimes more important than justice."

My Two Cents:

"The House Girl" is the story of love and family secrets. The book is really split between following two characters. There is Josephine, a young house slave, who is trying to find her place with her artist owner, Lu Anne in Virginia in the 1800s. There is also Lina, a young lawyer who is charged with figuring a huge case while trying to deal with some family secrets of her own.

Books that are split between two times are sometimes not my favorite but in this case, I really liked both stories. There was tons of intrigue in both time periods with both characters. Did Josephine really create Lu Ann's art? Will Lina be able to figure out the case and what really happened to her mother? Both of these things kept me flipping the pages wanting to find out how things end up for both characters! There were a couple spots where the narrative got bogged down a little bit but overall, this book kept moving.

Aside from the character stories, there was a lot to think about with this book. Obviously, there is the subject of slavery. Josephine is a slave in Virginia, which was one of the states that played a role as a slavery stronghold. It was really interesting to see life through her eyes. There were some really interesting details that I know my fellow historical fiction lovers are going to enjoy. 

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Tuesday, November 5th: Read Lately
Wednesday, November 6th: guiltless reading
Thursday, November 7th: A Bookish Affair
Monday, November 11th: Books in the Burbs
Tuesday, November 12th: Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, November 13th: Peppermint PhD
Thursday, November 14th: Lavish Bookshelf
Monday, November 18th: Olduvai Reads
Tuesday, November 19th: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, November 20th: Book-alicious Mama
Tuesday, November 26th: A Bookish Way of Life


  1. good review. A lot of people are comparing this to the help. Fair comparison??

  2. I'm glad that both stories were equally compelling! Thanks for being on the tour.

  3. I tend to really enjoy books that are split between two POV's. The Sea-God at Sunrise was like that and it's one of my favorite books.

  4. "Aside from the character stories, there was a lot to think about with this book."
    Aside from everything else, I think this characteristic is what makes historical fiction "good" for me. I loved this one :) Enjoyed your review :)


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