Tuesday, November 19, 2013

BLOG TOUR: The House Girl by Tara Conklin

Title: The House Girl
Author: Tara Conklin
Genre: Historical/Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: Oct 24/2013
Adquired: Print copy provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

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.


I am in awe, and completely humbled, by the wealth of knowledge that people are able to accumulate in a lifetime, in not even HALF a lifetime. I love that personal experience gives us the perfect material for fiction, that fiction is made even BETTER because of it. My heart seems to be 5 sizes too big as I write this, it may have something to do with a full stomach as well, but I'm in a good place, and a lot of that can be credited to Tara Conklin, and her spectacular novel, The House Girl.

This book was a winner, in the many ways that the written word could win. It had heart, and an endless stream of emotion. It had moments that stopped your breath, and more times than not, gripped your heart so tight, you feared you would never recover. Set in alternating chapters of the 1800's, and present day, The House Girl wove a tale surrounding an injustice, a mystery, a loss, and eventually, the realization of many truths. Josephine Bell, and Carolina Sparrow were beautifully dynamic characters. Both of them were immersed in a world that held true to their standards, their "laws". It was through both of these characters that Tara Conklin really shone. Her knowledge of history, and her real-life career as a lawyer, provided us with a hauntingly realistic view of both worlds. I've read countless books filled with law practices and lingo, as well as books that touched on the horrid realities of slavery, though none that blended the two so seamlessly together. I gained so much knowledge, all while being given the privilege of a fantastic story.

You all know by now how important descriptive scenery is for me-I need to be able to feel like I'm standing behind a character, always. I need to smell what they smell, see exactly what they see: every single colour. Tara Conklin allowed me to do that, and allowed it with every scene. Her words were intoxicating, and effortless to follow-I was 75% through The House Girl without even realizing it. THAT'S what narratives are supposed to read like, a book is meant to get lost in, and my GOD did I become all kinds of lost in this book.

Read this book for the knowledge it will lend you, read this book for the raw emotions I guarantee will be coursing through your being, but most of all, read The House Girl because it is one INCREDIBLE piece of literature.

Recommended for Fans of: Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Women's Fiction, Romance, controversial content.


Tara Conklin is a writer and lawyer currently living with her family in Seattle, WA. Most recently, she worked as a litigator in the New York and London offices of a corporate law firm but now devotes herself full-time to writing fiction. Prior to law school, Tara worked in a variety of jobs in a variety of locales. She dealt cards at a casino in Costa Rica, planned events at a press center in Moscow, taught English at a school in Madrid and waited tables at a hotel in Montana.

Her short fiction has appeared in The Bristol Prize Anthology and Pangea: An Anthology of Stories from Around the Globe. Tara was born in St. Croix, USVI and grew up in Massachusetts. She holds a BA in history from Yale University, a JD from New York University School of Law and a Master of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School (Tufts University).

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Thank-you to Trish from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to William Morrow for sending me a print copy to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour


  1. Incredible is right! I can't wait to read this book. I hoe I love it as much as you do!

    Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

  2. "...gripped your heart so tight, you feared you would never recover." That's my kind of book! Sounds wonderful, really, and like something that would appeal to a lot of different people.


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