Present day, Lina Sparrow is an ambitious young attorney who has been handed the case of a lifetime, a reparations case only she needs to find just the right plaintiff for the case.
1852, Josephine Bell is a house girl for an ailing mistress. She has a talent for art and dreams of running away.
Both of these women’s stories combine as the true creator of various works of art comes into question.
So often in literature we read about the worst things. The autocracies that were committed during the time of slavery. However, the devil is in the details. Conklin manages to point out those devils we have as a general population have a tendency to gloss over. The fact that someone’s life isn’t their own choosing, is awful. That they can’t come and go as they please. That the things that they create are not their own simply because another human owns them.It’s these little injustices that build up in the grand scheme of things.
The story is relevant. We are still talking about theoretical reparations today. We are also currently living in a time where people believe that slavery wasn’t a bad thing, that emancipation was a mistake. It’s books like this where we are able to look at the history with a lens, where we are able to empathize with a character that helps make a difference.
The blending between the two time periods was also well done. As a reader I felt like I was able to move from past to the present narrative quite easily and was able to learn things right along with Lina. Never was I too far a head of her. (I hate when I have to yell at my books, don’t you?)
My only criticism of the story is that there is a lot of narration in between sections of active dialogue. This made some sections a bit slow.