Tag Archives: Book Club

Review: The Turner House

The Turner House

The Turner House
By Angela Flournoy
Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780544303164, April 2015, 352pp.

The Short of It:

What makes a house a home?

The Rest of It:

The house on Yarrow Street, once a thriving hub for thirteen children in the middle of Detroit’s crumbling East Side, has seen its members come and go for over fifty years. Now, falling apart and worth much less than what they paid for it, the family is forced to sell it back to the bank.

I really enjoyed this flawed family. Granted, there are a lot of characters in this story to keep track of and I’m not sure that all of their stories were as interesting as some, but the gambling addiction of the youngest sibling was particularly interesting to me as was the “haint” or ghostly apparition that the oldest sibling grew up with.

When you’ve lived in a house for as long as the Turners have, it’s impossible to not have feelings about it even when the neighborhood around it has gone to hell. And how many times have we been willing to let something go only to change our minds once the sale sign is up? It just seems so final, right?

That is the case here but this isn’t a sad, sappy story about losing a home. It’s much more subtle in the telling. Flournoy focuses on the flaws of each family member, allowing the reader to get to know them a little, see the home from their eyes, walk in their shoes, etc.

For me, it took me a little while to get into the story but once I did, I found that I really enjoyed it. It was a National Book Award finalist and extremely well-received when it debuted. Have you read it?

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

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.