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Synopsis

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.

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CUSTOMER REVIEWS

The House Girl
Average rating
3.9 / 5
The House Girl
June 8th, 2014
Excellent, sad story in parts, but inevitable to make the story work but still a great read. Didn't want to put it down.
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1 review
The House Girl
March 29th, 2014
Wonderful book well written , makes one think and feel the pain of the characters.
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1 review
January 25th, 2014
I enjoyed this book, and was impressed with the depth the author gave the characters from the 1800's. The descriptions of how the young girl lived and was treated, and the other slaves owned by the farmer were at times hard to take, but I believe just a brief glimpse into how these people were actually treated on a daily basis. The current day characters lacked this same depth, and at times the story seemed very disjointed and unbelievable. All in all, quite an enjoyable read. I definitely consider reading from this author again.
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1 review
January 24th, 2014
Fantastic read. I love the type of novel that contains current day and historical periods. This book has the historical story of a slave and a current day story of a woman trying to find ancestral information for this slave girl. Very moving story.
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1 review
January 24th, 2014
A nice easy read with two stories, from two eras, linked in a clever way. However the characters and the story line from the slave days is much better than the current day story. The current day story, although starting well, ends up reading more like an Arlequin novel.
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1 review
January 23rd, 2014
As a lover of historical fiction, I began the book with great anticipation and in this aspect of Tara Conklin’s first novel, I was not disappointed. This dual narrative, set in the pre-Civil War South and today, deals with two women in vastly different circumstances linked by a twisted and sometimes rather weak thread. A young lawyer, Line is charged with finding a living descendant of a long disappeared run -away slave woman who is to be her law firm’s symbolic client in a controversial lawsuit dealing with slave reparation. Conklin’s story of the slave Josephine Bell and her life as a “house girl” is gripping in its plot, characterization and attention to detail. Josephine’s tragic struggles as an artist, a woman and a slave draw us to her and to the characters around her. The writer’s description of Josephine’s paintings and the stories they tell add another deft layer to an already richly detailed narrative. Unfortunately, the writing in the modern part of this story is uneven and quite unbelievable in its reliance on frequent coincidence and serendipitous meetings as a plot device. The characters seemed shallow and their motivation weak and unclear. I began skimming through these sections in order to get to the far more powerful and engrossing story of Josephine. I did enjoy the book in spite of this weakness and look forward to more from the author whose background in history and law has helped create an interesting story.
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1 review

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