Skip to main content
Displaying 1 of 1
The house girl
2013
Please select and request a specific volume by clicking one of the icons in the 'Find It' section below.
Find It
Map It
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Publishers Weekly Review

Lawyer-turned-writer Conklin debuts with a braided novel of two intersecting tales separated by 150 years. In 2004, Lina Sparrow is a first-year associate at a prestigious New York law firm; in 1852, Josephine Bell is the titular "house girl," a slave on a Virginia farm. Assigned to work on a class-action suit involving slavery reparations, Lina searches out a suitable plaintiff for the case, hoping to find a descendant of slaves with an especially compelling story. Lina's father, an artist, suggests that Lina research the story of Josephine, speculated to be the real artist behind paintings attributed to Lu Anne Bell, her white master, and Lina embarks on a search that finds her retracing the footsteps of a runaway slave. The tragedy of Josephine leads Lina deeper into not only Josephine's history but her own, which helps her to make sense of her mother, a woman Lina never knew. Alternating between Lina and Josephine, this novel is unfortunately trite, predictable, and insensitive at its core: the lives of a 19th-century black slave and a 21st-century white lawyer are not simply comparable but mutually revealing, fodder for healing. Striving for affecting revelations, Conklin manages nothing more than unsatisfying platitudes and smugly pat realizations. Agent: Michelle Brower, Folio Literary Management. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
<p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>Featuring two remarkable, unforgettable heroines, Tara Conklin's The House Girl is riveting and powerful, literary fiction at its very best.</p>
Librarian's View
Displaying 1 of 1