What could a white, present-day lawyer have in common with a black, escaped slave from the 19th century?
In Tara Conklin’s debut novel The House Girl, the two female protagonists—separated by centuries, locations, and skin color—seem, at first, to be opposites. And yet, as their stories unfold, we see how similar these two women’s journeys actually are. Both are determined by art, by the respective houses in which they were raised, and by a sense that they don’t fully know themselves—because of the lies they’ve believed.
This expansive narrative is a high wire act, which Conklin executes with ease and panache. The chapters alternate point of view from Josephine the house slave to Lina the type A lawyer in an ever-tightening weave until the women’s lives intertwine and Lina, in her search for justice, discovers the truth.
If you like historical fiction, mysteries, and gorgeous writing, you’ll want to get your hands on The House Girl, just out in paperback last month.