The House Girl by Tara ConklinThe House Girl by Tara Conklin

The House Girl

byTara Conklin

Paperback | February 25, 2015

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Virginia, 1852. Seventeen-year-old Josephine Bell decides to run from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell. New York City, 2004. Lina Sparrow, an ambitious first-year associate in an elite law firm, is given a difficult, highly sensitive assignment that could make her career: she must find the "perfect plaintiff" to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves.

It is through her father, the renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers Josephine Bell and a controversy roiling the art world: are the iconic paintings long ascribed to Lu Anne Bell really the work of her house slave, Josephine? A descendant of Josephine's would be the perfect face for the reparations lawsuit-if Lina can find one. While following the runaway girl's faint trail through old letters and plantation records, Lina finds herself questioning her own family history and the secrets that her father has never revealed: How did Lina's mother die? And why will he never speak about her?

Moving between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing, suspenseful and heartbreaking tale of art and history, love and secrets, explores what it means to repair a wrong and asks whether truth is sometimes more important than justice.

Tara Conklin has worked as a litigator in the New York and London offices of a major corporate law firm but now devotes her time to writing fiction. She received a BA in history from Yale University, a JD from New York University School of Law, and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. Her ...
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Title:The House GirlFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:384 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 0.98 inShipping dimensions:9.25 × 6.25 × 0.98 inPublished:February 25, 2015Publisher:HarperCollins Publishers LtdLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1443413534

ISBN - 13:9781443413534

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read This was an interesting read and a total page turner. Loved the little twists.
Date published: 2018-03-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book! A really great read about a fascinating time in history! Loved the prospective of two time frames and two different women's lives that come together. Great easy read.
Date published: 2017-11-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It's just okay The storyline has such promise but it really didn't deliver. I felt that the author tried to do too much with both storylines and instead both felt flat and underdeveloped.
Date published: 2017-10-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from pretty good This book was good! Loved the alternating perspectives.
Date published: 2017-03-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Surprising I was at the library and quickly needed a book to occupy me at work- picked this one up without reading the back cover...absolutely loved!!
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting read This book was a random airport purchase and I was pleasantly surprised. Excellent story telling between the lives of two women, in two different times. Little twists and turns and suspense to keep you turning the pages. An interesting perspective of the Underground Railroad. Fairly easy book to get in to. worth a second or third read.
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Second read even better than the first So many angles. The detail and parallels were great. I highly recommend. I may read a third time in the future.
Date published: 2015-08-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good story This is a beautiful writing.,melding the lives of two women. One a slave in1852 antebellum south, Virginia, and the other a present day lawyer in New York. It is packed with many surprises, woven with history, lost love and family secrets.
Date published: 2015-08-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A different perspective on slavery Enjoyed moving from the present to the past and vice versa with two main characters, both strong women.
Date published: 2015-07-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting And suspenseful.
Date published: 2015-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from House Girl A well written and extremely enjoyable read combining 100 years of history,the evils of slavery, the cut throat attitudes of a prestgious law firm, and an absorbing mystery in one. The main characters are richly formed and believable and you find yourself rooting for them. One of my favourite reads.
Date published: 2015-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The House Girl This story grabbed me from the start. It takes you back 100 years while successfully moving you forward to modern day. It This story tells of a slave girl, an artist, whose work is attributed to her owner. The other heroine is a lawyer in today's world who attempts to prove this. The author has done a great job of moving from then to now with little confusion. I am sorry it ended. Maybe a sequel could be done.
Date published: 2014-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The House Girl This a fantastic read.
Date published: 2014-05-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from House Girl Good read. Loved Josephine and could feel her pain and unending desire to be free. Enjoyed the insight to this portion of the underground railway.
Date published: 2014-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Page Turner At It's Best... MY REVIEW: HarperCollins Publishers|February 4, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-44341--353-4 Virginia, 1852. Seventeen-year-old Josephine Bell decides to run from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell. New York City, 2004. Lina Sparrow, an ambitious first-year associate in an elite law firm, is given a difficult, highly sensitive assignment that could make her career; she must find the "perfect plaintiff" to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves. It is through her father, the renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers Josephine Bell and a controversy roiling the art world: are the iconic paintings long ascribed to Lu Anne Bell really the work of her house slave, Josephine? A descendant of Josephine's would be the perfect face for the reparations lawsuit - if Lina can find one. While following the runaway girl's faint trail through old letters and plantation records, Lina finds herself questioning her own family history and the secrets that her father has never revealed: How did Lina's mother die? And why will he never speak about her? Moving between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing, suspenseful and heartbreaking tale of art and history, love and secrets, explores what it means to repair a wrong and asks whether truth is sometimes more important than justice. A gripping tale if I ever did read one. A page turner at it's best.
Date published: 2014-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant! Fantastically tragic read!
Date published: 2014-03-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Well research historical fiction! In 1852 17-year-old Josephine Bell made the decision that she would run north to escape her life as a slave at Bell Manor.  Josephine’s day-to-day life was better than that of most slaves but that was only because of Missus LuAnn.  Her Missus had secretly taught her to read and allowed Josephine to share LuAnn’s own love of painting.  Despite all that, Josephine knew it was time to go.  Master Bell was making it a little dangerous for Josephine to stay at Bell Manor.  In 2004 New York City, Lina Sparrow hopes the new case she has been asked to work will be the one jump starts her law career and allows her to move away from clients whose names all end in LLC.  She is to begin working on a precedent setting class action lawsuit worth millions in reparations for descendents of American slaves.  As she begins her research in hopes of finding a living descendent willing to act as lead plaintiff, she stumbles upon Josephine’s story.  I’m not sure if the writing tool has been around for a long time or if by happenstance I am just picking up more books using the method, but many authors lately are making use of the dual (sometimes triple) time line.  For some it succeeds and for others, not so much.  In House Girl it definitely adds to the story.  Whether Josephine’s or Lina’s I would have found either story fascinating as a stand alone, but Ms. Conklin weaves them together beautifully, allowing the reader to slowly see the parallels.  I was interested enough to check out the two websites the author lists in her acknowledgements and can safely say House Girl is well researched historical fiction.
Date published: 2014-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The House Girl This book is exceptionally well written! The characters are alive & I found it hard to put this book down. I felt as though I was could have been in the New York law office & the Southern plantation with both heroines.
Date published: 2014-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The House Girl The House Girl is a beautifully crafted story of two strong women born 150 years apart, one a slave and one a successful and gifted lawyer on the fact track to partnership. It is a story of struggle and of love and fills the reader's emotions. I hated to put it down
Date published: 2014-01-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The House Girl A good story that tugs at the heartstrings at times and inspiring. Slow at times but nontheless a good read.
Date published: 2014-01-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing read Enjoyed reading this.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good read Sad and thought provoking
Date published: 2014-01-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The House Girl Definitely worth reading. Makes one think about the great injustices that slavery has wrought.
Date published: 2013-11-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The House Girl It was okay , parts of it held my interest, other parts I had to grind through.
Date published: 2013-09-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from House girl Excellent story. A good read.
Date published: 2013-08-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The House Girl Superb and especially interesting plot!
Date published: 2013-08-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The House Girl Dragged in parts.
Date published: 2013-07-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The House Girl A very interesting story hard to put down.
Date published: 2013-07-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful read Loved this novel. Although I found the legal premise a bit hard to wrap my mind around, the two well developed narratives related to the two main characters were enthralling and cleverly told. Two very different women with two very different stories connected by the search for truth. I enjoyed the way the changes in time frame and perspective. I would recommend this book enthusiastically to others.
Date published: 2013-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engrossing book club title Based in two separate time periods, this debut novel tells the tale of a young slave woman who is brought up in the master’s house to be a companion to his wife and in contemporary times, a young lawyer who is trying to find her way in a firm that bills by the minute. When the two tales collide, the truth about their lives finds a way of coming out. This page turner kept me reading into the wee hours it was so riveting.
Date published: 2013-06-12

Editorial Reviews

?Assured and arresting...You cannot put it down.?
? CHICAGO TRIBUNE ()