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The House Girl

Cover of The House Girl

The House Girl

A Novel
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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.

Featuring two remarkable, unforgettable heroines, Tara Conklin's The House Girl is riveting and powerful, literary fiction at its very best.

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.

Featuring two remarkable, unforgettable heroines, Tara Conklin's The House Girl is riveting and powerful, literary fiction at its very best.

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About the Author-
  • Tara Conklin has worked as a litigator in the New York and London offices of a 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. Born in St. Croix, she grew up in Massachusetts and now lives with her family in Seattle, Washington. The House Girl is her first novel.

Reviews-
  • Chicago Tribune "Assured and arresting...You cannot put it down.""
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune It's shelved under historical fiction, but THE HOUSE GIRL reads more like a historical whodunit, and a smart one at that . . . Both Josephine and Lina are intricately drawn characters — fierce, flawed and very real."
  • Entertainment Weekly "[G]rabs you by the bonnet strings and starts running."
  • Marie Claire "This will be the book-club book of 2013."
  • Seattle Times "Conklin ... is a skilled writer ... who knows how to craft a thoughtful page-turner ...We're glued to the pages."
  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "A sorrowful, engrossing novel in which the pursuit of justice serves as a catalyst to a more personal pursuit for truth . . . Through Josephine and Lina's journeys, THE HOUSE GIRL is also a meditation on motherhood, feminism, loss, and, ultimately, redemption."
  • Winnipeg Free Press "Conklin's research blends subtly into the background while successfully rendering a picture of the complex tensions inherent in 1850s society...A historical novel that succeeds in giving voice to the voiceless."
  • Shelf Awareness "Skillfully executed and packed with surprises, this novel of the ways in which art saves our humanity is an engrossing do-not-miss adventure."
  • School Library Journal (starred review) "Conklin's sensitive, deft handling of complex racial and cultural issues, as well as her creation of a complicated, engaging story make this book destined to be a contender for best of 2013."
  • Library Journal (starred review) "A seamless juxtaposition of past and present, of the lives of two women, and of the redemptive nature of art and the search for truth and justice. Guaranteed to keep readers up long past their bedtimes."
  • Washington Post "Infused with ominous atmosphere and evocative detail...a dramatic montage of narrative and personal testimonies that depicts the grotesque routines of the slave trade, the deadly risks of hte Underground Railroad and the impossible choices that slaves and abolitionists faced."
  • Cleveland Plain Dealer "Rich and surprising...will make hearts ache yet again for those who suffered through slavery as well as cheer for those—Conklin and Lina—who illuminate their stories."
  • Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette "Tara Conklin's wise, stirring and assured debut tells the story of two extraordinary women, living a century apart, but joined by their ferocity of spirit. From page one, I fell under the spell of THE HOUSE GIRL's sensuous prose and was frantically turning pages until its thrilling conclusion."
  • Laurie Frankel, author of Goodbye for Now and The Atlas of Love "The House Girl is a heartbreaking, heartwarming novel, ambitious, beautifully told, and elegantly crafted. Tara Conklin negotiates great vast swaths of time and tribulation, character and place, with grace, insight, and, simply, love."
  • Hillary Jordan, author of Mudbound and When She Woke "THE HOUSE GIRL is an enthralling story of identity and social justice told through the eyes of two indomitable women, one a slave and the other a modern-day attorney, determined to define themselves on their own terms."
  • Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy "There's so much to admire in THE HOUSE GIRL — two richly imagined heroines, two fully realized worlds, a deeply satisfying plot — but what made me stand up and cheer was the moral complexity of these characters and the situations they face. I'm grateful for this transporting novel."
  • Corban Addison, author of A Walk Across the Sun "THE HOUSE GIRL stands as both a literary memorial to the hundreds of thousands of slaves once exploited in the American South and a mellifluous meditation on the mysterious bonds of family, the hopes and sorrows of human existence, and the timeless quest for freedom."
  • Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot "Tara Conklin's powerful debut novel is a literary page-turner filled with history, lost love, and buried family secrets. Conklin masterfully interweaves the stories of two women across time, all while asking us to contemplate the nature of truth and justice in America."
  • Bookreporter.com "A thoughtful work of...
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