Review: The House Girl

The House Girl

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:

From Goodreads:

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?

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

This or That Book Tag

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!


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  • 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.

  • Trilogies or quartets? 

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.

  • Night or morning reader? 

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.

  • Libraries or bookstores? 

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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