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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
1,7261274,103 (4.01)121
Member:janiereader
Title:The Kitchen House
Authors:Kathleen Grissom
Info:Touchstone (2010), Edition: 1ST, Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Indentured servants -- Fiction, Slaves - Fiction, Plantation life -- Southern States -- Fiction

Work details

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (2010)

Recently added byjMitty, Sheilah.Egan, Lokweesha, private library, sdbookhound, aclaywill, millatone, nattso78
  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 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. 00
    Cane River by Lalita Tademy (dara85)
  6. 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.
  7. 01
    Year the Colored Sisters Came to Town by Jacqueline Guidry (varwenea)
  8. 01
    The Ways of White Folks: Stories by Langston Hughes (varwenea)
  9. 01
    The Color Purple by Alice Walker (varwenea)
  10. 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.
  11. 01
    Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (varwenea)
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» See also 121 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
Lavinia would have been a more reliable narrator if she didn't keep forgetting things and the use of laudanum seemed like a cover up for a plot that had gone missing. ( )
  JenMDB | Mar 8, 2015 |
The Antebellum South. Wide open houses, verandas, smokehouses, creeks, slaves, lynchings, laudnam, and loveless marriages. This list covers everything except the complex relationships between characters. What makes this book remarkable is how Grissom demonstrates the openness slaves practiced when it came to family. Anyone living in forced servitude could become family, even when that family was imposed on them due to death or rape. Belle and Lavinia, women without mothers and fathers develop a bond that they cannot share throughout the lifetime. Parents birth children and set them adrift on the sea of life only to return with spoils of disregard. I give the book 4 stars as certain parts ran too long and amounted to little. The author's voice was devoted to those of yesteryear and was quite engaging, though I'll shelve it, not sure I'd reread it. ( )
  BetsyKipnis | Feb 24, 2015 |
I started reading this book 3 times before I actually sat down to read it. Once I got into it, I couldnt put it down! ( )
  ashlou6225 | Feb 5, 2015 |
The year is 1791. A young, red-haired, white Irish girl who has become indentured to James Pyke. She has been brought to a plantation called Twin Oaks, in Virginia, and is handed to Belle and Mama Mae to learn how to help in the kitchen house. The young girls' name is Lavinia, although she can has repressed her memory of who she is or where she came from.

Belle is a black/white woman who helps Lavinia adjust to her surroundings and becomes very much like a mother to her. There are many other slaves who fill Lavinia's new life, some older and some her own age and younger.

Eventually, Lavinia recalls the loss of her parents, immigrants from Ireland, who passed away on the trip over to the United States, She also had a brother, Cardigan, who was indentured elsewhere.
Lavinia becomes a true member of the family at the kitchen house and at the plantation. She is very shy and aims to please all who come in to her life.

The Pykes, James (Cap'n) and Miss Martha, have two very beautiful blond children, Marshall & Sally. Lavinia does not have much interaction with them, as they are the children of the manse. There are occasions when they are allowed to interact, and Lavinia loves both of them.

A master is hired for Marshall Pyke, and things aren't right with how he is treating Marshall. The slaves can see this, but Miss Martha is often in a drug-induced state of mind, with her use of laudanum. This happens because her husband is often away on business in Philadelphia. Cap'n has hired a manager, Rankin, who takes care of the plantation. Rankin is very mean-spirited and extremely prejudice about the indentured individuals working at Twin Oaks.

Lavinia's life takes on many changes. As she is white, she is treated differently than the black slaves, especially at church.

This novel is based on real events researched by the author and there are some very happy events, but also some horrible events. I really like the way Kathleen Grissom switches the chapters between Belle and Lavinia. It gives you a true sense of both sides of plantation life at Twin Oaks. ( )
  JReynolds1959 | Jan 24, 2015 |
This novel had good potential with its setting and storyline, but somehow, falls short of being a really great novel. The beginning narrative that sets up the plot is quite good, but before long, the story starts to bog down and actually becomes dreary in its repetitiveness. The characters almost become trite in their descriptions and development. The bad guys are REALLY bad, and we are told over and over just how evil they are. The innocents and the others are also equally stereotypical. While the book is lengthy, it still lacks development of some of the main characters. The end seemed rushed, almost as though the author decided she had to wrap it up quickly. Worth reading? Yes. Memorable months later? Probably not. ( )
1 vote Maydacat | Jan 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 127 (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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