By: Tara Conklin

2.5 out of 5

THE HOUSE GIRL centers around two main characters- Josephine Bell, a 17yo slave who runs away from a Virginia tobacco farm in 1852 and Lina Sparrow, a young, first-year lawyer at an elite New York City law firm.

Lina’s firm has been hired to find a plantiff for a class-action lawsuit seeking reparations for descendants of slavery. Lina works around the clock on the case while juggling feelings of abandoment due to her mother leaving when she was a young girl. Her relationship is complicated with her famous artist father who has refused to talk to Lina about her mother throughout the years.

Josephine is a house slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, Lu Anne Bell, a woman credited as the artist of iconic paintings from the era. Lina and Josephine’s paths collide when Lina discovers, through her father, Josephine may be the famous artist. If Lina can trace Josephine’s history, she may have discovered the “perfect plantiff” for her case.

THE HOUSE GIRL had so much potential to be a great book but I finished it feeling annoyed. Josephine’s story I liked but didn’t love. The roots of her story were there and ready to be explored but the storyline fell flat. Josephine’s story could have been memorable but wasn’t. Lina’s storyline was unbelievable from start to finish.

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