The Kitchen House
Working as an indentured servant alongside slaves on a tobacco plantation, Lavinia, a 7-year-old Irish orphan with no memory of her past, finds her light skin and situation placing her between two very different worlds that test her loyalties. A first novel. Original.
Working as an indentured servant alongside slaves on a tobacco plantation, Lavinia, a seven-year-old Irish orphan with no memory of her past, finds her light skin and situation placing her between two very different worlds that test her loyalties.
Simon and Schuster
In this gripping New York Times bestseller, Kathleen Grissom brings to life a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War, where a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate.
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.
From the critics
From Library Staff
June 24 6:30PM
February 22, 2012
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Historical fiction depicting the lives of slaves in the pre-Civil War South, and the life of a woman who arrives in the U.S. from Ireland as an indentured servant and grows up to become the mistress of the plantation where she first arrived as an indentured servant.
Main characters Lavinia, Belle, Mama Mae, Papa, Marshall, Rankin.
A page turner, like a British Victorian novel, captures voice of the times, good on black dialect, insights into situation of slaves vis-a-vis the white masters, sex relations, & on plight of indentured Irish.
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