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The House Girl: A Novel (P.S.) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 5. November 2013

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“Assured and arresting...You cannot put it down.”” (Chicago 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.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“[G]rabs you by the bonnet strings and starts running.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“This will be the book-club book of 2013.” (Marie Claire)

“Conklin ... is a skilled writer ... who knows how to craft a thoughtful page-turner ...We’re glued to the pages.” (Seattle Times)

“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.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“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.” (Winnipeg Free Press)

“Skillfully executed and packed with surprises, this novel of the ways in which art saves our humanity is an engrossing do-not-miss adventure.” (Shelf Awareness)

“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.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

“Riveting.” (Ebony)

“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.” (Library Journal (starred review))

“Luminous . . . The rare novel that seamlessly toggles between centuries and characters and remains consistently gripping throughout . . . Powerful.” (BookPage)

“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.” (Washington Post)

“Conklin persuasively intertwines the stories of two women separated by time and circumstances but united by a quest for justice...Stretching back and forth across time and geography, this riveting tale is bolstered by some powerful universal truths.” (Booklist)

“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.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“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.” (Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette)

“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.” (Laurie Frankel, author of Goodbye for Now and The Atlas of Love)

“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.” (Hillary Jordan, author of Mudbound and When She Woke)

“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.” (Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy)

“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.” (Corban Addison, author of A Walk Across the Sun)

“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.” (Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot)

“A thoughtful work of fiction about freedom, love, and the continued price for former slaves with modern descendants. Conklin creates a convincing case of an unrecognized injustice with a novel that is both legalistic and artistic...A story of personal and national identity that you won’t want to miss.” (

“Exquisite...Conklin takes us down a curious rabbit hole that drops us before a looking glass of uncomfortable truths about race, power, art, family, law and ethics...One of those books in which there’s not one, two or three, but about ten good parts you’ll want to read and reread.” (Essence)

“Absorbing...[Conklin] buttresses her legal savvy with strong historical research. She also has a fine way with a story.” (Daily News)


Lina Sparrow is an ambitious young lawyer working on a historic class-action suit seeking reparations for the descendants of American slaves. Josephine is a seventeen-year-old house slave who tends to the mistress of a Virginia tobacco farm—an aspiring artist named Lu Anne Bell. Alternating between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, The House Girl is a searing tale of art, history, love, and secrets that intertwines the stories of two remarkable women.

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 891 Rezensionen
143 von 154 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Won Me Over 20. Dezember 2012
Von Utah Mom - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
I don't know how many times I've repeated the same conversation with others. It goes, essentially, like this : "It's so hard to pick a book for a book club that everyone can enjoy. An otherwise well written, insightful book is ruined by profanity or unnecessary sexual scenes." It can be frustrating to find really good books. So, when I find one that I can recommend to everyone, I am especially delighted.

The House Girl by Tara Conklin is such a book. Well written with superb attention to detail and a wonderful ability to make scenes come to life, The House Girl tells the stories of two women--Josephina, the artistically talented house slave in Virginia and Lina, the ladder-climbing young attorney in New York City. Their stories become intertwined when Lina starts working on a retribution case for a big client. Looking for the perfect plaintiff, Lina discovers that Josephina may actually be the true artist of the famous works of her owner.

To be honest, the story began slowly and I struggled to stay involved. I must admit that I only had quick moments of time to read lately and The House Girl sat neglected on my night stand for a few weeks. It was only the last few days that I was able to devote the time this book deserved. I spent the last few evenings devouring the story and falling in love with the likable and rich characters.

Part heartrending tales of the abuse of slaves; part a genealogical mystery and part a story of individual healing, The House Girl won me over.
145 von 158 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Too Many Coincidences 14. November 2012
Von Mary Lins - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
I'm afraid I'm going to break from the pack here and only give "The House Girl" by Tara Conklin, a two-star review. The novel is comprised of two interwoven narratives, one takes place in modern day concerning Lina, a young attorney who is looking for a plaintiff who is a descendent of a slave to participate in a huge slavery reparations case. The other story is of Josephine, a young slave who disappears from the records in 1852.

Josephine's story revolves around one day, the day she decides to run for freedom. I felt this story dragged and had too many holes in it that Lina would magically come to fill. Josephine's story did have moments of suspense about whether or not she would be caught trying to escape.

Lina's story moves quicker and is full of coincidences that propel her to find out about Josephine. I found myself not liking Lina as a character. I don't need to like a character to like a novel, but Lina annoyed me. Her passivity about her own life irked me; there are secrets that she knows are being kept from her about her mother, but she doesn't press to find out about them. The feasibility of a billion to trillion dollar slavery reparations case is only nominally questioned and then presented as a moral imperative. Only a few of the many legitimate arguments against such as class-action case are presented in a brief discussion and then utterly discounted.

Additionally I found it unbelievable and irritating that Conklin would make it seem that finding a person who could prove they were descendent from slaves with a credible story of harm, to be such a haphazard, needle-in-the-haystack situation. Surely there are millions who could fit that bill.

I concede that as a former lawyer, Tara Conklin has much more legal knowledge than I, but the architecture of the case, and thus the plot of the novel, just didn't ring true to me on any level.

By the time I got to Caleb's story of Josephine at the end I just wanted it all to be tied up, only to find that his narrative dragged and wandered excruciatingly only to then end each of their stories in a rushed and cut short fashion, which was astounding after the rest of the book dragged.

In short, the book just did not grab me; I did not look forward to reading it and I was glad to finish and move on to something else. Obviously other readers had a more positive experience; this review reflects my experience and opinion only.

For a wonderfully engrossing, moving and gut-wrenching story of slavery I recommend Toni Morrison's, "Beloved".
48 von 50 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Great detail - very interesting 12. Februar 2013
Von Silver's Reviews - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
From 1852 to 2004....from one artist to another....from a farm in Virginia to the hustle and bustle of New York City.

THE HOUSE GIRL flawlessly switches between these two time periods telling of the life of Josephine, a slave girl, Lina, a New York City attorney, and Lina's father, Oscar, an artist. The book leads you through the life of Josephine as she struggles with her decision to "run, it leads you through the life of Lina who is researching families who may benefit from wrong doing during the period of slavery in the United States, and it leads you through the life of Oscar trying to make amends through his artwork.

The most significant question, though, along with finding descendants is that of who really did create the paintings found in Lu Anne Bell's home? Was it really Lu Anne or was it Josephine? Corresponding with this painting mystery and the mystery of Josephine's descendants is that of Lina's mother...what really did happen to her when Lina was only four?

You will get caught up in both stories because of the great detail Ms. Conklin uses and because of the research. I love "digging" for historical information. As you switch between the two stories, you will ask yourself to choose which life you were more interested in....Lina's or Josephine' may be difficult to choose since both were appealing and drew you in, but for me Josephine's story wins hands down for interest.

It took a few chapters, but you will become so involved, it becomes difficult to stop want to know what will become of the characters and the answer to the mysteries.

Each character comes alive with the vivid detail Ms. Conklin uses, and she puts their feelings out in the can feel the tension, the pain, the frustration, the longing, and the fleeting happiness they experience. I really enjoyed this book because of the history and the research and of course the detailed descriptions of the characters.

The historical aspect and the fact-finding kept me up late. It is very interesting how the farm's kitchen records, crop records, and births and deaths of every person including the slaves was kept. I thoroughly enjoy these types of findings. I also wonder how these records were not destroyed and who would have thought to preserve them. Such foresight....something to be grateful for.

Don't miss this book especially if you are a historical fiction buff. This book pulls you in and will cause you to pause and reflect on the human race and have you wondering about the reasons why we do what we do, have you wondering what the reasons are that lead us to make the choices we make, and have you wondering about the reason we turned out to be the person we are. 5/5

This book was given to me without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
16 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Genealogically speaking, not bloody likely... 18. Oktober 2013
Von Bic Parker - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
As a librarian who frequently helps with genealogy research I found it a TEENY bit unbelievable that the heroine, assigned to track down an obscure slave from the 1800's:

1. meets a direct descendent of said slave at a cocktail party in New York City the next day
2. travels to Virginia and is handed a sealed letter by a librarian, written by the slave girl's rescuer. A letter that most conveniently details (exhaustively) the life and fate of the slave girl and her son.


I admit I was first drawn in by the writing, but the ridiculous coincidences (especially the rescuer's way-too-long exposition letter) had me rolling my eyes by the end.
12 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Unrealistic; didn't draw me in 7. Mai 2013
Von scotthayes - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I was excited to read this book, even purchasing the hard cover (the cover design is gorgeous). I love historical fiction, particularly about the civil war in Virginia, where I grew up. The story, though, was disappointing. I won't give a synopsis here as so many other reviewers already have. I will just point out that as a practicing attorney in a large big city law firm for over twenty years, I found Lina's story line unconvincing and trite. She is the stereotypical gung ho first year attorney who has no life outside the law firm. She argues with her boss over the fact that he settled a case instead of trying it. This is generally not a good career move but we are supposed to believe that Lina is smarter than her boss, I guess. While there were parts of Josephine's story that I did enjoy, it seemed at times one dimensional and ultimately didn't draw me in so that I really cared about this character. Lina's love interest/potential plaintiff was also a bit odd and unbelieveable in that he did not seem to know his own heritage/race. As another reviewer pointed out, there are quite a lot of coincidences in this story. I really wanted to like it, but in the end if I had to do it all over again, would not buy the book.
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