The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Simon & Schuster Books
384 pages

‘Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master’s opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.

Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, the story unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.’

I really liked this book. The chapters rotated between Lavinia and Belle speaking. We get a unique look at the story through the eyes of a white indentured servant and black slave. Even though they were both servants and owned they were treated differently.

After returning to Tall Oaks Lavinia was a little weaker than I envisioned her but in the end she rose to the occasion. It wasn’t your typical everything turns out happy book. It was very realistic which is one of the things that I really liked about it. I have to warn you there are a lot of unpleasantries. Any thing concerning our history with slavery is not pleasant reading. It’s a horrendous part of our past. God forgive us!

While I was reading it, I thought this would make a great movie and I just discovered that it is actually in development right now to be released in 2016!

This would also make a great book club read and there are notes for that here. You can read an excerpt here. Read how she came to write the book here. Read about the author here. And make a couple old southern cakes from this recipe and this one.

I’ve been to Williamsburg, VA. and it really made this book vivid for me as I read. If you ever get a chance to go definitely do it!

Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master’s opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.

Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Grissom’s debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds. – See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/The-Kitchen-House/Kathleen-Grissom/9781476790145#sthash.jm2FU8Ca.dpuf

Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master’s opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.

Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Grissom’s debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds. – See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/The-Kitchen-House/Kathleen-Grissom/9781476790145#sthash.jm2FU8Ca.dpuf

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