gmhTODAY 14 gmhToday May June 2017 - Page 100

BOOK CLUB BEAT with Sherry Hemingway I n her debut novel of historical fi ction, “The Housegirl,” author Tara Conklin has intertwined two compelling stories about truth and fairness. The fi rst is that of Josephine, a young slave girl serving as handmaiden to the Missus on a Virginia plantation in 1852. The second is that of Lina, a bright, young lawyer aiming for the partner track in a male-dominated law fi rm in modern-day New York. Conklin tells both of these stories in fast-paced, alternating chapters A wealthy client of Lina’s law firm proposes a multi-billion dollar slav- ery reparations suit. Lina is assigned to identify an individual slave, find the slave’s direct descendants, and ‘The Housegirl’ Author Tera Conklin demonstrate the impact that slavery has on those living today. Lina is the daughter of a famous artist herself. Her art connections lead her to suspect that world- famous drawings of Virginia slaves may actually have been done by a housegirl, not the wife of the plantation owner credited with the brilliant work. At the same time, the reader is learning the back story of Josephine and her art, on paper secretly permitted by her Missus. The book says, Josephine “moved through the world empty- handed with nothing properly to give, nothing she might lay claim to.” She told herself, “You have nothing. You are nothing.” And then she decides to run. Because of its unspeakable pain, slavery is always a tough read. The back and forth chapters about the two women in different eras serves to interrupt the intensity. We get the full story, but in manageable pieces. Beautifully written, the book has universal themes about the role of women, cover-ups, people willing to tell the truth, and finding the truth. It is somewhat unusual for all the members of a book club to love a book, but this one is getting all thumbs up. Gilroy Library Book Club: Library Provides Books Evening gathering of the Gilroy Library Book Club (l. to r.): Rosemary Munoz, Cindy Wilber, Sharon Tyler, Librarian Kelly Young, Alicia M. Gonzales and Kyle. The Gilroy Public Library takes the expense out of book club membership by providing multiple copies of the month’s selection for their club members to check out. Club members say Librarian Kelly Young “picks good books” from a broad range of genres including sci-fi , classics, teens, fi ction, non-fi ction and mysteries. Adults of all ages are welcome. For convenience, the Book Club meets for discussion twice a month about the same book, with the evening session at 7 pm on the last Tuesday of each month, and the morning session at 10:15 am on the fi rst Friday of the following month. SHERRY HEMINGWAY spent her childhood after lights out with a book and flashlight under the covers. With degrees from Kent State University and Harvard University, her lifelong career was in journalism and public relations. Her hobbies are travel in (very) remote countries, volunteering, and two book clubs. Favorite Books “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese “The Samurai’s Garden” by Gail Tsukiyama “The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” by Mary Roach “The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed” by John Valliant 100 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MAY/JUNE 2017