Book Review

Book Review: The House Girl: A Novel by Tara Conklin

TheHouseGirlReviewed by April Epley for Say What? Savannah Mae (11/13)

This is a historical fiction book that is set in two different eras. One is in 1852 Virginia and the other in current New York. This book started out very slow for me. There was a lot of detail and although at times that was great, there are times when it was just too much. Seemed like a lot of unneeded detail was involved and that made it hard to stick with it.

This story was told by two different views. One was by Lina in present day New York. Lina is an attorney involved with a client and investigating a lawsuit for families of past slaves. During her investigation for truth and looking for a potential plaintiff, she comes across the beautiful controversial paintings of Lu Ann Bell. (Linas father is an artist and turned her on to Lu Anns work) This is when Lina finds out about Josephine.

Here comes the next view, Josephine in 1852 Virginia. Josephine was a house slave that went through much grief and chaos to the point that she ran. The controversy around the paintings comes from the possibility that Josephine painted them…. Now how to prove it all?

I liked how this book switched back and forth between modern and 1852. I would have liked the ending better if it had not felt so rushed through. I did like the letters in it a lot and I feel that added to this book tremendously.

I am giving this book 3 stars. I liked the story and how it switched back and forth. I think it could have been better if a lot of the excess was removed but I was glad to read it.

The House Girl: A Novel
Tara Conklin
HarperCollins (2013)
ISBN: 9780062207395
3 Stars – Okay but at times Excessive


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