Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: The House Girl by Tara Conklin

Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: 2013
Pages: 384
Source: Blog Tour/Publisher
Rating: 4/5


The House Girl weaves together the story of Lina, a New York City attorney and Josephine, a runaway slave living in 1852 Virginia. Lina is hoping to make partner before she’s thirty, she pores everything into her work at her elite law firm. When she’s given the assignment to lead a historic class-action lawsuit to seek reparations for descendants of American slaves, she has to find the perfect plaintiff.  Through her father, Lina discovers Josephine Bell. Josephine’s historic trail is hard to follow up, but Lina pieces together her story. At the same time, Lina discovers that her family history has more secrets than she realized.


The shifting between time periods worked well, but it did take me a few chapters to settle in. I immediately was interested in Lina and what she had to offer to the story. While reading about Josephine, I kept wondering how she would fit into the story. Lina is very likable, she’s hardworking, she’s determined and her father has long ago decided that he doesn’t want to discuss her mother’s death. He claims that he doesn’t want to upset her, but Lina is a grown woman who has many questions.

Conklin’s debut novel is a great read, her attention to detail is superb. The dual stories work well, and readers will enjoy both. At times, I did find the details a little too much, because it slowed down the story. It didn’t distract me too much, but I did notice it. I really enjoyed reading about Lina piecing together the letters, and records she could find about Josephine. Lina’s own family drama interested me the most. Overall, I thought it was a very enjoyable read and I do recommend it. 


  1. I found the bit about the letter with all the info to be a bit too unlikely! But I did enjoy reading the book!

  2. I have heard good things about this book. I am going to put it on my TBR list. Thanks for the review.

  3. This book's been getting great reviews but historical fiction and I don't always play nice. I'll have to think about it.

  4. Great review -- I liked this one too although I hated the shift in focus near the 2nd half of the book -- I wanted more from Josephine.

  5. I have read varying things, but I still want to read this one. I know that I will prefer the historical setting to the modern one, but am looking forward to exploring both. Thanks for the great review!

  6. I'm glad you enjoyed this debut novel! Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  7. It's funny because most often I enjoy reading the historical scenes more, and feel like when reading the modern day parts I'm anxious to get back. Except this one, I agree with you in that I enjoyed Lina's story more. But even so, I enjoy both story lines, and never felt like rushing through to get to the other character.