Thursday, September 14, 2017

Kathleen Grissom - The Kitchen House: A Novel

24. The Kitchen House: A Novel by Kathleen Grissom (2010)
Length: 377 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Started: 6 September 2017
Finished: 14 September 2017
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale 
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 1 June 2015
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and Kathleen Grissom is a new author for me.

When a white servant girl violates the rules of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the best and the worst traits of the people she has come to call her family.

In 1791, Lavinia McCarten is almost seven years old when she arrives on the steps of a tabacco plantation in Virginia. Having lost both her parents during the voyage from Ireland, she is subsequently placed with the family of the ship's captain - the Pykes - as an indentured servant. As one of the few white members of the household, Lavinia is raised by Captain Pyke's slaves: Jacob, Mama Mae, Papa George, and the master's illegitimate slave daughter, Belle. Soon, she learns to cook, clean, and serve food with the slaves of the kitchen house; all while being guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In due time, Lavinia is also accepted into the world of the big house, caring for Martha, the master's opium-addicted wife and befriending his impetuous son Marshall - someone who is as dangerous as he is protective. As Lavinia attempts to straddle both worlds of the kitchen and the big house, she begins to realize just how much her skin color will always set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.

However, when she is forced to make a choice that she never thought she would have to make; loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk. Ultimately, everything that Lavinia holds dear will be threatened. Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Kathleen Grissom's debut novel unfolds into a heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deeply buried secrets, and familial bonds.

Actually, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I learned more about slavery than I thought I would. In my opinion, this was a beautifully written but heartbreakingly sad story - poignant and thought-provoking. I would certainly give this book an A+! and will be on the lookout for more from this author in the future.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight


  1. I always wondered what this book was about because I saw it repeatedly on my Amazon page. You did a great job of conveying its essence and why you liked it. :-)


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