Quick Book Review: The House Girl by Tara Conklin

The House Girl by Tara ConklinThis book combines a modern fiction story with a historical one. Lina Sparrow is a lawyer who is asked to find someone who descends from a slave to take on an class-action lawsuit in which the descendants of slaves would be repaid for all the labor and hardship their ancestors had to suffer.

With her father an artist, Lina comes across the paintings of a female slave owner. There is some suggestion that the paintings were actually made by her slave maid, Josephine. As this would make for a great story in the media as well as in the court case, Lina goes about trying to find out whether the paintings really were made by Josephine and whether she can find a descendant.

Intermixed with Lina’s research are chapters about Josephine. Her story takes  place all in one day, a day in which she has decided to finally run away from her “owners”, a farmer and his terminally ill wife. She thinks back on a previous occasion that she tried to  run away. As the day goes on, she prepares to leave but circumstances don’t make it easy for her to do so.

This book started really very good and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It was well written and the historical and modern parts contrasted beautifully. The story about Josephine was a sad one, but also one of languid days, fresh air and fields all around. The modern city life is all about making money and standing out from amongst your colleagues.

I deducted half a star in my rating (giving 4.5 rather than 5) because of some development near the end of the story. The idea of a class-action law suit in which all descendants of slaves would be compensated was rather unlikely and practically impossible, too, so I was a little disappointed in some places. But overall, this was a very good read.

Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)

Number of pages: 384

First published: 2013

I got this: from the publishers, William Morrow, for review (ARC)

Genre: historical fiction, contemporary fiction



About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

10 Responses to Quick Book Review: The House Girl by Tara Conklin

  1. I love the cover of this book, and the content also seems good. Perhaps (yet) another one for the list.

  2. Suzanne says:

    I am looking forward to reading this.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this! Great review 🙂

  4. Charlie says:

    It does sound a bit impractical when you think of how many descendants there would be by now, yet totally understandable, and some sort of solution would work, surely. I like that Josephine’s story takes place over one day, that must make it quite detailed and well-paced.

  5. How interesting, to mix the two narrators!

  6. I do want to read this one; thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  7. Isi says:

    This book caught my attention when you showed it in a monday post, and now I know I want to read it! I like stories set in 2 times and the plot itself interests me.
    It would be amazing if goverments reward the slaves, poor people!

  8. Lisa says:

    I’ve had this book on my wishlist for months now! Really looking forward to reading it.

  9. What a cool concept! I want to read it!!!!

  10. Glad you enjoyed it – I’m looking forward to tracking it down!

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