The House Girl

The House Girl - Tara Conklin In 1852 17-year-old Josephine Bell made the decision that she would run north to escape her life as a slave at Bell Manor. Josephine’s day-to-day life was better than that of most slaves but that was only because of Missus LuAnn. Her Missus had secretly taught her to read and allowed Josephine to share LuAnn’s own love of painting. Despite all that, Josephine knew it was time to go. Master Bell was making it a little dangerous for Josephine to stay at Bell Manor. In 2004 New York City, Lina Sparrow hopes the new case she has been asked to work will be the one jump starts her law career and allows her to move away from clients whose names all end in LLC. She is to begin working on a precedent setting class action lawsuit worth millions in reparations for descendents of American slaves. As she begins her research in hopes of finding a living descendent willing to act as lead plaintiff, she stumbles upon Josephine’s story.

I’m not sure if the writing tool has been around for a long time or if by happenstance I am just picking up more books using the method, but many authors lately are making use of the dual (sometimes triple) time line. For some it succeeds and for others, not so much. In House Girl it definitely adds to the story. I would have found either story fascinating as a stand alone whether it were Josephine’s or Lina’s, but Ms. Conklin weaves them together beautifully, allowing the reader to slowly see the parallels. I was interested enough to check out the two websites the author lists in her acknowledgements and can safely say House Girl is well researched historical fiction.