Book Binge: The House girl by Tara Conklin

By: Emily Homonoff


Is it wrong to say that slavery is hot right now? Believe me, I understand how incredibly bizarre and potentially insensitive that sounds but one of the most horrific acts against humanity seems to be having its moment. With the recent releases of 12 Years a Slave, Django, Lincoln, etc… A new generation has been introduced to the topic in a way that is no easier to digest, just more accessible. In her debut novel, Tara Conklin skillfully weaves together the story lines of many characters as they help to explain a modern question of identity and authenticity. Her telling is done so with a distinct element of humanity, which ultimately made me very attached to each person’s plight. We meet Josephine Bell, a house slave from Virginia, in 1852 days leading up to her final run. She’s grown up at bell creek, leading a life of “privilege” at the hand of Lu Anne Bell, an acclaimed and tortured artist. Lina Sparrow, a first-year law associate, in 2004 New York City has been tasked with a class suit regarding reparations. Her biggest issue? Finding a lead plaintiff. It isn’t until she attends an art show of Lu Anne’s paintings that she finds her inspiration, the house girl who may have been the actual artist. Without giving too much away, this incredible tale will keep you guessing until the very end. This book was unputdownable, just ask my family. I think I may have even shushed a few of them so that I could devour the last few pages.


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