Friday 56 & #BookBeginnings: The House Girl

For Book Beginnings:
Mister hit Josephine with the palm of his hand across her left cheek and it was then she knew she would run. 
- p. 3

For Friday 56:
"Money won at trial or received through a settlement will go into a trust to fund a variety of programs and institutions," Dan said [..]. A national slavery museum, a monument on the National Mall, college scholarships, educational programs, funds for minority-owned businesses [..]"
- p. 56
Synopsis: Virginia, 1852. Seventeen-year-old Josephine Bell decides to run from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell. New York City, 2004. Lina Sparrow, an ambitious first-year associate in an elite law firm, is given a difficult, highly sensitive assignment that could make her career: she must find the “perfect plaintiff” to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves.

It is through her father, the renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers Josephine Bell and a controversy roiling the art world: are the iconic paintings long ascribed to Lu Anne Bell really the work of her house slave, Josephine? A descendant of Josephine’s would be the perfect face for the reparations lawsuit—if Lina can find one. While following the runaway girl’s faint trail through old letters and plantation records, Lina finds herself questioning her own family history and the secrets that her father has never revealed: How did Lina’s mother die? And why will he never speak about her?

Moving between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing, suspenseful and heartbreaking tale of art and history, love and secrets, explores what it means to repair a wrong and asks whether truth is sometimes more important than justice.

The other week I reviewed The House Girl by Tara Conklin and found the art scandal twist quite interesting: this is about how a young slave girl was found to be the real artist behind the portraits of slaves in southern American. The story of Josephine provides a human face to slavery, and the idea of restitution over a hundred years later makes for some compelling reading.

Is this something you'd pick up?

 Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide 
 

22 comments:

  1. Interesting book. It does highlight a time in our history we are not that proud of.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was the interesting part, JC. The modern day one, not so ...

      Delete
  2. Sounds like it could be an interesting book. I like the idea of telling two stories set so far apart yet related.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Aloi,

    This is definitely a book for my wishlist. I love the sound of everything about this one, from your featured lines to the modern day art twist in the synopsis. If someone slapped me across the face, that would be the end for me also, I would be out of there!

    Thanks for the feature and have a great weekend,

    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This definitely sounds like a very interesting read, although I don't know whether it is something for me! Thanks for sharing :) Hope you have a good weekend!
    My Friday post
    Juli @ Universe in Words

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wasn't quite sure about it either, Juli. It was a mixed bag for me, but the Josephine storyline was very very good!

      Delete
  5. Sounds like a great read. Thanks for sharing. I'm reading The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, set in a similar time period in South Carolina and Pennsylvania.

    My book beginning this week is from the next book I'll be reading, and is a definite change of pace from historical fiction. If you'd like to take a look: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2014/03/friday-focus-friday-56-book-beginnings.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had my eye on Sue Monk Kidd's new book. I'll go check out your excerpts!

      Delete
  6. I have had my eye on this one...great excerpts! Here's MY FRIDAY POST

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cover is beautiful too isn't it? This has made its rounds on book blogs and hopefully the excerpts have intrigued you enough :)

      Delete
  7. I usually enjoy books where two stories are going on at the same time, especially when one is in the past and one is in the present. This sounds like a good book, assuming the author doesn't preach too much!
    Here's the link to my Friday post: THE MERMAIDS SINGING.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the dual storyline makes for an interesting link-up. Not much preaching so I think it was well done :)

      Delete
  8. The beginning instantly reminded me of The Color Purple.

    Happy weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, you're right Freda! Enjoy the "warmer" weekend :)

      Delete
  9. I've seen this cover around quite a lot lately, but never knew much about the book until now. Your excerpts have piqued my interest and I might check our local library and see if they have a copy. Thanks for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you do, William! It's worth the read!

      Delete
  10. I like how it sounds. Slavery is a great topic for a book.
    I would like to read it
    Ruty@THE FRIDAY 56

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A difficult topic yet was so sensitively handled in this tale!

      Delete
  11. I read this one and thought it was a pretty good read.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'd like the art history in the novel, but reparations for slaves sounds like what's wrong with our legal system: out of control litigation that makes lawyers even more wealthy!

    This sounds like a great book, and a wonderful Friday 56!

    Linking from Freda's Voice,
    Ricki Jill

    ReplyDelete