The Kitchen House
  • The Kitchen House
  • The Kitchen House
  • The Kitchen House
  • The Kitchen House
ISBN: 1439153663
EAN13: 9781439153666
Language: English
Release Date: Feb 2, 2010
Pages: 368
Dimensions: 0.9" H x 7.9" L x 5.2" W
Weight: 0.75 lbs.
Format: Paperback
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Book Overview

Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of the highly anticipated Glory Over Everything, established herself as a remarkable new talent with The Kitchen House, now a contemporary classic. In this gripping novel, a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate at a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War.

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.

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Book Reviews (13)

5
  |   13  reviews
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5
   Heartbreaking
Heartwrenching. It left me feeling a deep sadness for the people who lived through the indignities and brutality of slavery.
 
5
   Torn
On one hand, the book was addicting. Yet at times, the drama was so heart-wrenching, and conveyed with such raw honesty, I had to take a slight respite so I wouldn't have a stroke! A story of sacrifice, determination, familial ties and suffering... and hope.
 
5
   Compelling and gritty
The book was told in an unusual twist. In "The Savages," Lavinia is torn between the slaves who become her family and the owner and his family who live in the big house. Told in painstaking detail, this book is a deeply personal look at this time in American history, but is ultimately a story of hope, family secrets, and the bonds that transcend race.
 
5
   Hard to put down
In Ireland, a little girl is indentured because her dead parents could not pay for the passage. In her family, she was raised by plantation owners who took in the slaves. Aside from race and the fact that her indenture will eventually end, her status would have little to do with the slaves. However, tragedy places her close to the mentally ill mistress who mistakes the child for her own dead sister. There are no fewer than three dozen books about plantation life that deal with the themes of grief and loss. The Kitchen Aid star, Anthony Bourdain, said: "I thoroughly enjoyed the show.
 
4
   It was physically painful, but kept me turning the page.
By the time I had read one-third of the way into this book, I had a firm grasp on the scale of the sufferings: more than a dozen skulls had been bludgeoned, stabbed, or raped, sometimes by their masters. I thought, for example, that this is probably the most depressing book I'd ever read. It was a slow burn, but I kept going, praying that the misery wasn't gratuitous, and that the author had a redemptive goal in mind for the constant onslaught of misery. Even with all the training, I'm not sure what the point was. However, I give this book 4 stars and not 3 because despite my agony, the author's storytelling somehow encouraged me to finish it. Something about her descriptions of the people -- her relationships, I believe, were very evocative for me, in a good way, she said.
 
5
   You Can't put the book Down
This book is a great read, said Barbara Comstock, a professor at the University of Michigan. It caught my attention right at the very beginning, and it held it all the way through. You have to pay attention to the chapter headings, and it puts it in first person of the character who is the chapter's title. The story follows a young Irish girl who is on her way to America. In her honor, the slaves are rasied by the black masters. Through her life, the book tells the story of a troubled teenager who grew up in the suburbs.
 
4
   A Slave Story
Indentured to the ship captain's family, she was sent to live in with the kitchen slaves as opposed to the field slaves. She eventually bonded with the slaves and the half-black children of the slaves and their white masters and overseers. As she grew up, she witnessed first hand the atrocities of these white kings of their plantations and resented being treated differently by her family - the slaves who had raised her. Kathleen Grissam writes a detailed story about the interactions of these white and black families, sometimes drawing it out to the point of reader exhaustion, but then doesn't quite finish the story.
 
4
   An enjoyable read
It is told in two voices: Lavinia, the illegitimate daughter of a plantation owner, and Belle, the illegitimate niece of a plantation owner. The owner rescues Lavinia as a child of 7 after her parents die on a ship migrating from the Great Famine. The man's house slaves grow to love her, including his daughter, Belle, who acts as her mother. The story follows the life of Lavinia through her childhood. Marshall, the son, appears to be a decent man, but in reality he is a brutal, dissolute spendthrift who takes slaves as his mistresses. The author creates this believable world in the late 1700s and early 1800s with its drama. The two narrators change throughout the years, and offer different looks at the society at the time.
 
5
   The Kitchen House
The women of antebellum south are romanticized as being soft, even though they were often brutally treated. In this week's issue we explore the loneliness that so many women of this era felt. They were left to take care of the family's sprawling plantation during her husband's extended absences. Slaves who lived and worked on the plantation were not allowed to think for themselves. The Harrisons’ claims were immediately denied by the FBI. She was taken from her mother at age 5 by plantation workers and placed in the care of a family friend. In her household, she is given to the cook as her helper. In the second part of the story, she becomes a part of the slave family. Years later, she learns the truth about her role as a plantation mistress. She is no longer a part of the family. In her testimony, Mrs Clinton said that her husband was "the white lady of the house". Inc., Nasdaq Stock Market and the City of New York are not the only companies dealing with data privacy. In a statement, the prosecutor's office said: "The rape is still pending. HBO said it will air the film "Sex and the City" on Thursdays. Pure Addiction is a chronic drug abuse problem. For more than a century, the Byrds kept secrets about their family's past.
 
5
   A marvelous book
This marvelous book was a true gift to read, and I was sorry to finish it, Morgenthau said. Though the subject of slavery is always difficult, it is so important to understand how this never happened again, and to revel in the knowledge that even those who caused such suffering, there were also those who provided salvation, he said.
 
12