“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?”
Josephine Bell lives on the Bell Creek Plantation in 1852; she cares for her ailing Missus, Lu Anne Bell, in relative comfort (for a slave) but her cruel Master drives her need to escape before the Missus dies. In New York City in 2004 Lina Sparrow has been assigned to a slavery reparations case that brings Josephine’s story into her life. Her research becomes an obsession and the mystery of Josephine, including artwork that has been the subject of its own lawsuit, begin to unravel.
The narration primarily jumps between Josephine and Lina, however there are some letters that Lina uncovers in her research that fills in some additional perspective to fully uncover the Josephine story.
I wanted to like The House Girl more than I did. The premise was interesting but the execution was lacking, mostly because Lina’s story line was riddled with unnecessary subplots. I would have much preferred a novel with only the characters (Josephine, Dorthea & Caleb) from the 1850’s and skipped Lina’s story entirely.