About the Book:
• Publisher: William Morrow (February 12, 2013)
About the Author:
Lina is an attorney – an associate in a large firm in NY – trying her hardest to be the best and to get ahead when her boss hands her a case that could make her career. It’s a reparations case for slavery; she and another associate are to prepare a brief and find a plaintiff to be the “face” of the lawsuit so that they can sue major corporations for all of the free labor provided by slaves and use the money to fund scholarships, etc.
Josephine is a slave, a “house girl” in the home of LuAnne Bell, woman dying from what I can guess to be cancer and a master who beats her and doesn’t see her as anything other than property. Her only freedom in her life comes when she is allowed to draw and paint with her mistress – and she has a talent. One very bad day Josephine decides to escape the failing plantation and take her chances at true freedom.
The stories of these two women intertwine when Lina, through her artist father and his connections finds that the famous paintings attributed to LuAnne Bell might actually have been painted by Josephine. The foundation that now owns the former Bell plantation does not want this to be true and is doing everything it can to prove it false. Lina feels that a descendant of Josephine’s would make an excellent face for her case – if one exists.
Before I begin my review of the book I must say that I love the cover. It’s so very simple yet it draws you in. I know that had I been in a book store shopping this is a book I would have been drawn to – so kudos to whomever designed it. The story, though, is not simple at all. It’s involved, engrossing and for me at least it was impossible to put down. I read it in one sitting. The very first paragraph pulls you into Josephine’s story and doesn’t let you go. I must admit that Josephine’s portion of the book – it is told in a back and forth manner – was more interesting to me but Lina’s search for her history was NEARLY as fascinating. I am a lover of the historical so I do prefer the “olden times.” It was when Lina’s personal life entered the story that I was a bit distracted. All of the hullabaloo about her mother did not lead where I expected it to and in my opinion did not add anything to the plot. That is the reason for my not giving the book a 5 rating.
Overall though, I loved it – obviously as I’m keeping this one for a second read. The hubby is reading it as I type and he is as engrossed as I was so it’s a book for both genders. It has fascinating characters, a thought provoking plot and it keeps you guessing. What more can you ask of a book?
Listen to a podcast of Tara Conklin talking about her inspiration for The House Girl
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Disclosure: I was sent a free copy of The House Girl by TLC Book Tours for my honest review. I received no compensation for this post.