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.

11 thoughts on “Review: The House Girl”

  1. I tried to read this book. I just did not care for it. You are the only person I know who feels the same way. It’s not a bad book, just did not work for me either.

    1. ​Since I did read it, I’m glad it was for a book club discussion because it really was a great discussion book but I’m not sure I would have been happy reading it on my own. ​

  2. Oh no! Fell flat. That stinks. Been interested in reading this one. Thanks for the review! 😊

  3. The premise does sound interesting but I think I do recall this one getting mixed reviews from other readers too. It’s too bad b/c I usually like these history-digging type stories.

    1. There was only one other reader in our group who found the story a little too convenient. It just didn’t wow me but I should add that it’s not a time period I enjoy reading about.

  4. The dual story lines in different time periods are always so mixed for me. I’ve looked at this one several times but I think you’ve convinced me to give it up.

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