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The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

The Kitchen House (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Kathleen Grissom

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,6451164,383 (4.01)115
Title:The Kitchen House
Authors:Kathleen Grissom
Info:New York : Touchstone Books, 2010.
Collections:Your library
Tags:historical fiction, plantation life, 19th century Virginia

Work details

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (2010)

  1. 30
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Blogletter)
    Blogletter: Zowel Het Keukenhuis door Kathleen Grissom als Een keukenmeidenroman door Kathryn Stocket gaan over slavernij in Amerika.
  2. 30
    Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill (Anonymous user, vancouverdeb)
    Anonymous user: Both The Kitchen House and the Book of Negroes are about Black Slavery in the South. They are different, but provide an eye opening look at Black Slavery.
  3. 10
    Oonagh by Mary Tilberg (Iudita)
    Iudita: Historical fiction about indentured servants.
  4. 00
    Cane River by Lalita Tademy (dara85)
  5. 00
    Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim (susiesharp)
    susiesharp: this is also a tale of the south and slavery but this one is not as depressing as The Kitchen House but has a similar feel.
  6. 00
    Slaves in the Family by Edward Ball (dara85)
  7. 01
    The Long Song by Andrea Levy (vancouverdeb)
    vancouverdeb: Similar themes: black slaves, a young woman who works within the "White Master's" Plantation house.Slavery,Freedom from slavery; both wonderfully written. Divided loyalities, a fiesty female slave.

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» See also 115 mentions

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This story of an indentured Irish servant raised among slaves in late eighteenth century Virginia is historically based and, at times, strongly emotional. Slave life on a tobacco plantation during this time period, coupled with a harsh Master and overseer, are seen through the eyes of Lavinia, the indentured servant and Belle, the half white daughter of the Master. From the beginning, both of their lives are intertwined. Lavinia's white skin and indentured status contrasted with Belle's white skin and slave status are explored. It is a novel that will leave you feeling saddened anew over the evils of slavery. ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
Another novel that I read for book club. It was a story, told in two voices, demonstrating why slavery is very bad for human beings. The story focuses on an indentured servant, a child, who grows up on a plantation mostly in the care of slaves. She doesn't understand the difference between her future and theirs, even when told about. The biggest thing she doesn't understand is why the child of a slave holder and a slave is also a slave, nor why that slave's parentage is a secret. Secrets, especially bad secrets, have a way of coming out of hiding and creating havoc in the lives of the people most concerned with them. ( )
  susanbeamon | Sep 21, 2014 |
This book was so good. Lavinia and Belle are outstanding characters who show the reader the world of slavery from such different perspectives. Life on a plantation house and in the kitchen house behind it are beautifully told through Lavinia and Belle and other great characters like Momma Mae and Papa George , the Captain, Marshall and all the rest. ( )
  Smits | Aug 29, 2014 |
In the beginning I didn't think I would be able to finish this book. But the character development was interesting and believable and I found myself being drawn in to the story line. What an awful fate to be married to an abusive man back then - there was no way out. I recommend this book. The audio version was particularly good. ( )
  csobolak | Aug 26, 2014 |
Wonderful. Truly, amazingly wonderful!! I cannot say more about this story because my heart is so saddened by events that I have read and because I know history to be truthful. [b:The Kitchen House|6837103|The Kitchen House|Kathleen Grissom|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1350302443s/6837103.jpg|7048306] tells of a time, more than just a hundred years ago, when whole families were captured, shackled, and sold. To be seperated forever. Then, if one was fortunate enough, one could toil and slave along side a family member in tobacco or cotton fields. If one was really lucky and did all the right things, one was selected to work indoors cooking, cleaning, at the beckon call of his/her owner. At night, when the Master and Mistress of the Big House has given permission, one could then rejoin the family members that remained in the designated slave quarters, often with little to eat or too tired to stand, only a cot to sleep on. If one was a woman slave, nights were often spent cowering somewhere, awaiting the unwanted advances of a drunken Master. This was the way. This was their life. When children were born of these relations, it did not matter that the Master was the father. He/she was still a slave and little consideration was given to the child. However, a family was a family to love and cherish no matter how this family was formed. This was the life they knew. It was there, in those slave quarters where a slave was free to love, celebrate the little blessings one had, hold on tightly to a loved one that could surely be sold on a whim. Families were split and splintered. It was the life of a slave. This was the South.

[b:The Kitchen House|6837103|The Kitchen House|Kathleen Grissom|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1350302443s/6837103.jpg|7048306] is about a family. A family of slaves. Some work in the field and some in the Big House but after the work is done, they are reunited at days end. They are a family, no matter HOW they became a family. The story revolves around Tall Oaks, a southern plantation. At first, things are ideal for the slave family. The Master is a kind and generous Master but circumstances change and the horror of life at Tall Oaks has only just begun.

As I close this book, I take a deep breath. I am sad. I feel ashamed of my fellow man for the cruelty and behaviors of the past but I also have a deeper understanding about the families that kept plantations operable. A behind the scenes glimpse, if you will. I close the book on a loving southern slave family, one of many, that was willing to risk life and limb to hold the pieces of their family together. I will never forget this family and I will not forget the families before them. My heart goes out to each and every one. ( )
  MaryEvelynLS | Jun 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
Though there are several compelling insights in The Kitchen House, it’s nevertheless a formulaic story. There are graphic shocks, but no surprises.
added by lkernagh | editQuill & Quire, Sara Forsyth (Mar 1, 2010)
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For my beloved parents, Ted and Catherine Doepker, and for my dear mentor, Eleanor Drewry Dolan
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There was a strong smell of smoke, and new fear fueled me.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
After seven-year-old Lavinia is orphaned on the journey from Ireland to the United States, she begins work in the kitchen house of a tobacco plantation and bonds with the slaves who become her adopted family, but when Lavinia is accepted into the big house, her loyalties are challenged.
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"In 1790, Lavinia, a seven-year-old Irish orphan with no memory of her past, arrives on a tobacco plantation where she is put to work as an indentured servant with the kitchen house slaves. Though she becomes deeply bonded to her new family, Lavinia is also slowly accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. As time passes she finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds and when loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare and lives are at risk. "--Publisher's description.… (more)

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