Book Review of
The Kitchen House
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.
The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom, has been in my TBR pile for years. I bought this book a long time ago at a used bookstore. I can’t say that I loved this book, but it is a book I can’t stop thinking about. And when I can’t stop thinking about a book I know that it is a great book.
This book deals with tough subjects. It is about life on a Southern plantation. The story takes place years before the Civil War. It deals with the difficult issues of the day, which is why I have a hard time saying that I loved the book. But it is also the reason why I can’t stop thinking about the book.
This book is a novel, but I felt like I was reading a real story. It was so well written that I was drawn in to the characters and story. I couldn’t put this book down.
I can see why this is a popular book club book. I am not sure I love the book, but there is a lot to be discussed in this one. I kind of wish I was reading it with a book club so that I had someone to talk about the book with.