The House Girl
By Tara Conklin
William Morrow & Company, Paperback, 9780062207517, November 2013, 372pp.
The Short of It:
A promising premise that fell flat for me pretty early on.
The Rest of It:
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.
This was a book club pick. As a whole, it was well-liked and we had a really good discussion but it just didn’t work for me. I preferred Josephine’s story which took place in 1852 to Lina’s present day story. Lina’s voice didn’t ring true. It seemed a tad forced and too perfect. The story is told by Lina and Josephine through alternating chapters so half of the time I was interested and the other half, not so much.
I did enjoy how the story revolved around art and found that story thread to be very interesting but it wasn’t enough to make me love this one. I think as a debut novel, this book was pretty well-received so my feelings about it are most definitely in the minority.
Have you read it?
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This is a book tag post!
Thank you M Reads Books for tagging me for the This Or That Book Tag created by Ayunda @ Tea & Paperbacks!
- Mention the creator of the tag
- Thank the person who tagged you
- Tag other people & spread the love
- Reading on the couch or reading in bed?
I do both but I prefer the bed, while on my stomach with my book or Kindle propped up on the pillow. But now, because of my neck I am not able to do this anymore. Sadness. Utter sadness.
- Main character: Male or Female?
I am more of a guy’s gal so I prefer a male POV.
- Sweet or salty snacks while reading?
I cannot eat while reading. If I snack, it’s something savory but I’ll put the book down to eat it. I cannot stand smudgy prints on my book.
Honestly, these days? Neither. I always find that the first book is great and sometimes the last but the stuff in between not so much.
- First Person or Third person POV?
I like first person.
I am one of those extreme readers. I love reading very early in the morning and very late at night. I think that those times are tied to solitude so there you go.
I’m torn! I love an old library but the ones by me are very modern and full of “talk” or study spaces. It’s a new age for libraries but I don’t get the warm fuzzies when walking into one. So, I guess I prefer a good bookstore. One with a coffee shop!
- Books that make you laugh or books that make you cry?
I have laughed out loud while reading. I guess I am easily amused but it takes a lot to make me cry. I prefer books that make me laugh.
- Black or white book covers?
I associate black covers with vampire novels so I prefer white although they probably get dirty pretty fast for most people. I carry my books in a Ziploc bag! I’m a freak!
- Character driven or plot driven stories?
Character driven all the way.
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