Melissa Maerz
February 08, 2013 AT 05:00 AM EST

The House Girl

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Tara Conklin
publisher
William Morrow
genre
Fiction

We gave it an B

The first chapter of The House Girl grabs you by the bonnet strings and starts running. It’s 1852, and Josephine, a young slave, has just planned a daring escape from a farm. Before she leaves, the story loses momentum, jumping ahead to 2004, when a lawyer named Lina has taken on a slavery reparation case that involves Josephine. As the plot switches back and forth, it’s clear that Conklin, an ex-litigator, really cares about the court case. But this reader? Not much. Far more pressing: Where will Josephine go? Will she get caught? Could Lina please win this case so that we can get back to Josephine? B

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