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Publisher Description

“Assured and arresting...You cannot put it down.”” (Chicago Tribune)

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.

Two remarkable women, separated by more than a century, whose lives unexpectedly intertwine . . .

2004: Lina Sparrow is an ambitious young lawyer working on a historic class-action lawsuit seeking reparations for the descendants of American slaves.

1852: Josephine is a seventeen-year-old house slave who tends to the mistress of a Virginia tobacco farm—an aspiring artist named Lu Anne Bell.

It is through her father, renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers a controversy rocking the art world: art historians now suspect that the revered paintings of Lu Anne Bell, an antebellum artist known for her humanizing portraits of the slaves who worked her Virginia tobacco farm, were actually the work of her house slave, Josephine.

A descendant of Josephine's would be the perfect face for the lawsuit—if Lina can find one. But nothing is known about Josephine's fate following Lu Anne Bell's death in 1852. In piecing together Josephine's story, Lina embarks on a journey that will lead her to question her own life, including the full story of her mother's mysterious death twenty years before.

Alternating between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing tale of art and history, love and secrets explores what it means to repair a wrong, and asks whether truth can be more important than justice. Featuring two remarkable, unforgettable heroines, Tara Conklin's The House Girl is riveting and powerful, literary fiction at its very best.

Fiction & Literature
February 12
William Morrow

Customer Reviews

Funkwench ,

An Engaging Read

Tara Conklin’s novel is beautifully written and engages the reader on many levels. I enjoyed the dichotomy of two different time periods and story lines. The section of letters between Kate and Dorothea, while integral to the plot, was slow paced at times and tedious but served in moving the flow of information along. I’ll be interested in other Conklin pieces as she releases them. Well done!

cj081117 ,

Soooo good!

Sooooo good!

Dandow ,

The House Girl

The concept was good. Yet story held parts too unbelievable. Josephines dialogue to Mister and Misses did not correlate with the 1800’s. When I read Mister called for Josephine and she answered “Mister what do you want” I knew the writer could not have been a person of color. Talking to an elder in the South today like that would make cause for trouble. During slavery that would have been the end of this story

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