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The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
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The Kitchen House (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Kathleen Grissom

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,5841124,603 (4.01)111
Member:Milehighlibrarian
Title:The Kitchen House
Authors:Kathleen Grissom
Info:New York : Touchstone Books, 2010.
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:historical fiction, plantation life, 19th century Virginia

Work details

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (2010)

19th century (13) 2011 (14) 2012 (12) 2013 (10) 2014 (7) American South (7) audio (11) audiobook (8) book club (20) ebook (11) family (15) fiction (124) historical (20) historical fiction (127) indentured servant (10) indentured servants (30) Kindle (14) novel (10) own (8) plantation life (23) plantations (21) read (18) slavery (114) slaves (10) South (14) southern (10) southern fiction (14) to-read (98) USA (8) Virginia (31)
  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 111 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
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 |
I really wish I could give half stars, because this was a 4.5 for me. My only real complaint is that it wrapped up too quickly, leaving me feeling like the author rushed through giving her characters an ending. Two or three pages didn't feel sufficient, after all the time we had spent together. But otherwise, a gripping read. ( )
  fefferbooks | May 12, 2014 |
I glanced through a few of the reviews of The Kitchen House before writing my own. It seems the people who liked the book felt it was a well researched picture of the lives of slaves on a Virginia plantation in the late 18th century. The people who didn't like the book felt too many horrible things happened to the characters, making it a difficult read. It seems to me to achieve the former the latter has to be true. I put the book down a number of times when the story got too depressing, but in the end I was glad I read it.

The story is about an Irish immigrant who lost her parents and ended up as a indentured servant raised by slaves in the kitchen house of a plantation. It is also about the lives of those slaves. Although Lavinia is the principal character, the story often switches to the point of view of Belle, the illegitimate daughter of the Captain (the plantation owner). Belle's mother was a slave the Captain found beautiful enough to purchase and “use.” Later on Belle was “used” by Marshall, the son of the Captain and Belle's own half brother.

Lavinia was one of the weakest main characters I've ever encountered. I know life was also difficult for the white women of that time, especially those who made poor choices with their men. But there are so many ways Lavinia could have acted to prevent some of the tragedies from occurring. When she did try she gave up too soon. Some of the other characters in the book referred to her as naïve, but her weakness went way beyond that. Most of her choices were painful to read.

What I liked best about the book was the Upstairs Downstairs picture of life on the plantation. I knew the slaves in the big house had it better than the slaves in the fields, but I'd never thought about the middle tier, in the kitchen house. And what was also interesting was the hardships endured by slaves who had fair owners. They had family and friends on other plantations, they were treated horribly by other whites in the community, and they were still property, even if their owners were good people.

Steve Lindahl – author of White Horse Regressions and Motherless Soul ( )
  SteveLindahl | May 8, 2014 |
Very good story. Set in the late 1700's, mostly on a plantation in Virginia, the book uses two voices to tell the story. Belle is the mostly grown child of the Captain and one of his slaves, who is now banished to the slave quarters since his marriage to Miss Martha. Lavinia was a traveler on one of his ships, lost both parents on the voyage from Ireland, and is now a white child, indentured servant, living amongst the slaves. Both Belle and Lavinia have prime jobs, they work in the kitchen house or the big house, instead of the fields. The story follows 20 years, told in the alternating voices, following Lavinia's bonding with the slaves, then being wrenched away from them to follow a white girl's life, eventually becoming the mistress of the plantation she grew up on. ( )
  nancynova | Apr 26, 2014 |
Couldn't put this down! ( )
  CharlaOppenlander | Apr 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (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.
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(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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