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Feeling a little guilty by not explaining my 1 star rating, so here is my review that I submitted toOutstanding ratings, historical fiction, captivating subject on all counts I should have loved this book Unfortunately, the writer s narrative descriptions were unbearable She describes everything in laborious detail, even the most inane subjects and banal situations Don t get me wrong, I love descriptive writing, but this was complete overkill Here is an excerpt from Conklin s descri Feeling a little guilty by not explaining my 1 star rating, so here is my review that I submitted toOutstanding ratings, historical fiction, captivating subject on all counts I should have loved this book Unfortunately, the writer s narrative descriptions were unbearable She describes everything in laborious detail, even the most inane subjects and banal situations Don t get me wrong, I love descriptive writing, but this was complete overkill Here is an excerpt from Conklin s description of Lina s law office Lina exited the elevator and walked the east corridor toward her office To her left, the secretaries buzzed and clacked and sipped The secretaries were an exotic, unfathomable breed, prone to wearing elasticized waistbands and acrylic fingernails that clattered in a high pitched musical way across a keyboard The secretaries never asked questions They deciphered the lawyers scrawl as best they could, settled into their ergonomically correct workstations, suspended all independent thought, all personal conviction, and typed To Lina s right, half open office doors allowed her glimpses of heads bowed over papers or fixed tightly to the glow of a computer screen or cradling a gray telephone headset between, on and on it goes.I closed the book at page 55 Maybe I didn t give it a fair shake, but if something moves me to the point that I want to chuck the book through my plate glass window, then I should on all counts, stop the madness I received an advanced reader s copy of this book and I am fairly certain that no one will ever let me win a giveaway again after this review This book is very very bad In a book about slavery and reparations, I do not think it would be out of line to expand descriptions of key characters beyond dark and pale One main character has dark eyes and black hair her mom has dark hair and pale skin and dark green eyes her dad has dark frazzled hair and blue eyes someone has dark eyebrows, dea I received an advanced reader s copy of this book and I am fairly certain that no one will ever let me win a giveaway again after this review This book is very very bad In a book about slavery and reparations, I do not think it would be out of line to expand descriptions of key characters beyond dark and pale One main character has dark eyes and black hair her mom has dark hair and pale skin and dark green eyes her dad has dark frazzled hair and blue eyes someone has dark eyebrows, death is darkness , and so on for the entire book From a single page, we read these three descriptions Within the blue a woman s body seemed to float, small, dark haired, featureless, drowning the woman still unmistakably Grace her long dark hair parted on the left, her lips full and swollen as though bitten The painted eyes loomed large, dark as Lina s own If the dark descriptions do not drive you to madness, the commas and random listing of adjectives will The slave s eyes of shifting color, a shadow of blue here, green there, hazel and brown and gray, the colors fractured together and split I cannot even begin to review the plot Instead, I just want to say that the idea of a novel about reparations and slavery is really intriguing I hope someone with skill or a strong editor has a go at it I don t often review a book but I have to say something about this one I just have to wonder about all the 4 star and 5 star ratings here This book is readable, certainly, but not at all the page turner I expected from hearing others idolize it The present day character, Lina, is a lawyer in a high powered NY firm looking for a plaintiff to represent a class action lawsuit on behalf of slaves brought to the United States who were, obviously, never compensated for their work The book moves be I don t often review a book but I have to say something about this one I just have to wonder about all the 4 star and 5 star ratings here This book is readable, certainly, but not at all the page turner I expected from hearing others idolize it The present day character, Lina, is a lawyer in a high powered NY firm looking for a plaintiff to represent a class action lawsuit on behalf of slaves brought to the United States who were, obviously, never compensated for their work The book moves between Lina and Josephine, a house girl slave in the 1800s working for a Mr and Missus sic Bell Mr Bell is not having good luck with his crops and feeling soured, treats Josephine cruelly while Missus Bellor less seems to take a maternal interest in her At any rate, the characters of the past seem far better developed than Lina, her bosses and co workers, her father, and the artsy crowd around them.That s okay though and forgivable It s the absolutely ridiculous thread that runs throughout where Lina feels she is not being told the truth about her mother s death in a car accident, when Lina was a small child and when she can t seem to get a straight answer from her father, she just accepts it She is an attorney, for pete s sake, and is doing realms of research on this case If you want to know how someone died, take a taxi to City Hall and ask for the Department of Vital Statistics As my relatives in Scotland used to say, they ll always tell you who s been hatched, matched and dispatched Anyway, I couldn t let that little detail slip by That being said The idea that Josephine was the real artist behind the priceless pictures painted and drawn by Missus Bell is an interesting one, and the historical settings and information are interesting as well But the book is way too long and I find that I don t really care very much about Lina Or her disappeared mother Too much going on I confess I skimmed at times I did make it through to the end It s hard to believe that this is a debut novel Tara Conklin has beautifully written an emotional story of a young woman slave in Virginia in 1852 and skillfully connects that story to a young woman , an attorney living in present day New York City She brings history to life with Josephine s story and we see the cruelties of slavery , the desire for freedom, and the courageous fight for it I love the alternating narratives of Josephine and Lina and how Lina s story helps unfold the story o It s hard to believe that this is a debut novel Tara Conklin has beautifully written an emotional story of a young woman slave in Virginia in 1852 and skillfully connects that story to a young woman , an attorney living in present day New York City She brings history to life with Josephine s story and we see the cruelties of slavery , the desire for freedom, and the courageous fight for it I love the alternating narratives of Josephine and Lina and how Lina s story helps unfold the story of Josephine the artist The writing is so good that you can almost see the paintings as they are described and almost feel what the characters feel.I have read a number of books recently which use the mechanism of alternating narratives of past and present and I really like it when the stories truly connect in an important way The author has done just that I was so taken with Josephine and I found Lina s story captivating as well Josephine s story will break your heart but what Lina does to insure that Josephine s story is told is ultimately uplifting ( READ PDF ) ☨ The House Girl ☮ Two remarkable women, separated by than a century, whose lives unexpectedly intertwine Lina Sparrow is an ambitious young lawyer working on a historic class action lawsuit 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 BellIt is through her father, renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers a controversy rocking the art world art historians now suspect that the revered paintings of Lu Anne Bell, an antebellum artist known for her humanizing portraits of the slaves who worked her Virginia tobacco farm, were actually the work of her house slave, JosephineA descendant of Josephine s would be the per fect face for the lawsuit if Lina can find one But nothing is known about Josephine s fate following Lu Anne Bell s death inIn piecing together Josephine s story, Lina embarks on a journey that will lead her to question her own life, including the full story of her mother s mysterious death twenty years beforeAlternating between antebellum Virginia and modern day New York, this searing tale of art and history, love and secrets explores what it means to repair a wrong, and asks whether truth can be important than justice Paul Graham separated by than a century de Interrogationibus Obliquis Apud Ciceronem Observationes Selectae whose lives unexpectedly intertwine Lina Sparrow is an ambitious young lawyer working on a historic class action lawsuit 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 BellIt is through her father A Trip to the Zoo renowned artist Oscar Sparrow Las mejores anécdotas del Barça (Deportes) that Lina discovers a controversy rocking the art world art historians now suspect that the revered paintings of Lu Anne Bell To Love Again (Bound Hearts an antebellum artist known for her humanizing portraits of the slaves who worked her Virginia tobacco farm All He Needed were actually the work of her house slave A Christmas to Remember JosephineA descendant of Josephine s would be the per fect face for the lawsuit if Lina can find one But nothing is known about Josephine s fate following Lu Anne Bell s death inIn piecing together Josephine s story Step In Lina embarks on a journey that will lead her to question her own life The Amazing Hairstyles Book including the full story of her mother s mysterious death twenty years beforeAlternating between antebellum Virginia and modern day New York Le destin funeste de Michael Rockefeller this searing tale of art and history Prinzipien in der Philosophie love and secrets explores what it means to repair a wrong The Vampire Diaries and asks whether truth can be important than justice Tonight Now.It did not shake her, what Nathan had said Freedom was a curious thing Were the chickens free, running their fool heads off in the yard The horse, that still must fit the bit between its teeth Was Missus free But what else to dream for There was no dream of Josephine s that did not contain a place where she might sit and look upon a field or a bird in flight or a person and ponder the lines of that thing, to capture them in pencil or charcoal or ink or pigment Just to sit for Tonight Now.It did not shake her, what Nathan had said Freedom was a curious thing Were the chickens free, running their fool heads off in the yard The horse, that still must fit the bit between its teeth Was Missus free But what else to dream for There was no dream of Josephine s that did not contain a place where she might sit and look upon a field or a bird in flight or a person and ponder the lines of that thing, to capture them in pencil or charcoal or ink or pigment Just to sit for a moment, herself, no one claiming her time or her thoughts or the product of her mind and hands What other word to call that if not freedom Not a one is free, Nathan had said, but Josephine did not believe that could be true.As I finally got around to reading this fabulous book I couldn t believe that it had been sitting around for years years unread on my Kindle I wonder how many other treasures are hanging out on my bookshelves real and virtual.The book s plot involves two story lines What my GR friend Cathrine cleverly calls a two fer the historical tale of slave and house girl, Josephine Bell and the modern day story of young lawyer Lina Sparrow whose work on a new case leads her to research the life of Josephine Bell The two stories are evenly written, which is a testament to the talent of the author some books with historical modern splits can end up with one story being significantly better than the other.I particularly enjoyed the the author s treatment of the historical aspect of the novel Much time is spent with Josephine s thoughts rather than just relying on dialogue These were beautiful passages that conveyed her humanity and the universality of a desire for freedom.In addition to the two fer readers also get to enjoy a variety of styles in this book Not only is the story told in prose, but the plot is also revealed via letters, and art critiques so readers get to enjoy all sorts in genres in one package 4 solid stars This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Started out pretty good but the main character in the present, Lina Sparrow, just seemed to get stupider and stupider as the story progressed Has she never heard of Ancestry.com Also, that missive from Caleb Harper that explained just about EVERYTHING about Josephine and her baby was just too convenient And the story line about her mother was completely ridiculous and unbelievable Again, if she was curious about her mother s death and was too spineless to force the question with her father Started out pretty good but the main character in the present, Lina Sparrow, just seemed to get stupider and stupider as the story progressed Has she never heard of Ancestry.com Also, that missive from Caleb Harper that explained just about EVERYTHING about Josephine and her baby was just too convenient And the story line about her mother was completely ridiculous and unbelievable Again, if she was curious about her mother s death and was too spineless to force the question with her father, all she had to do was look for the death certificate Certainly an attorney could manage that simple task If her mother had actually died in a car crash, she certainly could have found an archived newspaper article about it Not finding evidence of her mom s death would have been a red flag Sorry, Lina, you are just too dumb to be an attorney or even an average citizen of the 21st century Read this book only if you like really stupid characters I felt annoyed by this book The law suite was impossible and ridiculous It was like the author started the first half of the book thinking it was a great idea and then through her own research realized it was never going to pan out Instead of re writing the whole story she simply used one of her characters to explain why the law suit wasn t going to work and from that point on in the book the author had to change her perspective and create a new reason for the modern day side of the story to I felt annoyed by this book The law suite was impossible and ridiculous It was like the author started the first half of the book thinking it was a great idea and then through her own research realized it was never going to pan out Instead of re writing the whole story she simply used one of her characters to explain why the law suit wasn t going to work and from that point on in the book the author had to change her perspective and create a new reason for the modern day side of the story to be relevant.The side of the book that featured the Plantation Slave girl was interesting but extremely repetitive The author forced us to re read the slave girl s life story over and over again each time adding a tiny bit of something new.I felt like the author started writing the first chapter and never stopped, she d keep going until she hit a snag and instead of going back to change the book she just stopped that theme and continued on with a different a different one This book was compared to The Help and was suppose to be on of the To Read books of the year I d have to disagree with both statements Full Disclosure I went to high school with Tara but haven t seen her since we graduated.It was an odd experience to read a book by someone with whom I was a teenager I spent the first few pages being overly judgmental about grammar and comma placement Sorry, Tara But within about five or six pages it stopped being about High School Friend now Author Tara and all about the characters and the story.This first novel tells the powerful and compelling story of Josephine, a slave in Virginia in Full Disclosure I went to high school with Tara but haven t seen her since we graduated.It was an odd experience to read a book by someone with whom I was a teenager I spent the first few pages being overly judgmental about grammar and comma placement Sorry, Tara But within about five or six pages it stopped being about High School Friend now Author Tara and all about the characters and the story.This first novel tells the powerful and compelling story of Josephine, a slave in Virginia in the mid nineteenth century, and Lina, a young lawyer for a prestigious New York law firm in the present Lina s firm has just taken on a case that will deal with slavery reparations, and Lina is searching for a descendent of slaves to act as the plaintiff This will make an excellent book club pick or vacation read Although the themes leave you with plenty to discuss, ponder, and contemplate, the story moves quickly and powerfully to its conclusion, essentially making it a fast read that will stick with you long after you finish it This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Received as a giveaway on goodreads.com first reads Thank you for choosing me and I look forward to reading it I loved this book but would ve liked to at least hear a little about what happened with Lina and her mom The book had me engaged from the beginning There were a few twists and turns that were unexpected and a couple of characters that I would have like to see further developed but I look forward to readingfrom this author.