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The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

The Kitchen House (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Kathleen Grissom

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,2421602,862 (3.98)142
Title:The Kitchen House
Authors:Kathleen Grissom
Info:Touchstone (2010), Edition: 1ST, Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Indentured servants -- Fiction, Slaves - Fiction, Plantation life -- Southern States -- Fiction

Work details

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (2010)

  1. 50
    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: A Novel 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
    Slaves in the Family by Edward Ball (dara85)
  5. 11
    The Color Purple by Alice Walker (varwenea)
  6. 00
    Cane River by Lalita Tademy (dara85)
  7. 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.
  8. 01
    Year the Colored Sisters Came to Town by Jacqueline Guidry (varwenea)
  9. 01
    The Ways of White Folks: Stories by Langston Hughes (varwenea)
  10. 01
    Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (varwenea)
  11. 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 142 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)
Love, loss, struggles, and triumph….all in one absolutely wonderful book. I don’t think there is one negative thing I can say about this novel. I loved the characters, story line, descriptions, and the way it was written. I highly recommend it. ( )
  lynnski723 | Dec 31, 2016 |
An absorbing story about an Irish indentured servant working on a slave-owners plantation. I loved the first section, then was less engaged in the last parts. Characters, however, were pretty well-drawn and the details of pre-Civil War life were interesting. ( )
  jjaylynny | Nov 12, 2016 |
This book is a trainwreck. The story is interesting at first (the second half meanders), but the characters are wholly unbelievable, and this makes the plot farfetched. The good characters are angelic; the bad ones, irredeemably evil. (And it is a puzzle how the kind Captain and his well-meaning--if bitter--wife managed to produce a frothing racist with anger management issues.) The climax is chilling, but also preposterous; the final pages rush into a laughable happily-ever-after ending. Don't bother. If you want to read a good book set in the antebellum South, read the underappreciated Valerie Martin's [b:Property|414759|Property|Valerie Martin|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1174532898s/414759.jpg|403971] instead. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
Though it took me a month to read & finish this book, that is no reflection upon the quality of the book or how much I enjoyed it. I got sucked into the book from the very first page, fell in love with all of the characters, and worried about the family & what was going to happen to them. It would have been a very quick read, if I had actually made the time to read.

My only criticism is how quickly the book ended. Because of how the book ended, you knew how the book was going to basically end, but I still wasn't prepared for the fast ending & would have really liked to have known more of "what happened next".

I received a free copy of this book to read & review from goodreads. ( )
  anastaciaknits | Oct 29, 2016 |
I'm pretty iffy on plantation stories. Often they end up seeming trite and disrespectful, focused more on melodrama than on actual history. So if an author doesn't have an actual connection to their material it's probably going to be a bust for me. Especially if the book is historical fiction because I'm going to expect a good emphasis on the historical part of that genre.

However, Grissom has a good opening: a young Irish girl winds up the indentured servant of a very screwed up household but she finds a family in those that work the kitchen and 'big house.' Through her eyes, and the eyes of Belle - kin to the 'Captain' but forced to work in the kitchen for his wife and white children - we see a lot of the prevalent issues of the age such as relationships, the massive strength of character some people can have under inhumane conditions that would break most, denial of paternity, secrecy, idiotic medical practices that killed more people than they helped, a quick peek into the despair of a mental health hospital and the ability of a husband to toss his wife in one should he choose, rape and the resulting trauma, etc. Surely there is a lot of merit behind a book (and an author) that encompasses all of this. I'm not going to say that there isn't, no worries. What I will say is that, as a first book, I feel like more was bitten off than should have been. There are times of very frustrating shallowness in the depiction of characters that could have flown off the page larger than life given the right dose of prose and ink. Rather, the subsisting element of the book is crisis after crisis.

This element makes the crises run together rather than allowing her characters to grow as they face a specific thing. So the depth of the characters becomes implied rather than really explored by the author. It's a rather tepid complaint. I kept reading and I wouldn't say that this book wasn't worth the read. It encompasses historical realities that should be remembered and respected. I just wanted to see more than I did of certain characters, to see them fleshed out more... I guess 'consistently' would be the word. ( )
  lamotamant | Sep 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 160 (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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