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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
1,5111084,847 (4.01)111
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)

  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 108 (next | show all)
Couldn't put this down! ( )
  CharlaOppenlander | Apr 4, 2014 |
Couldn't put this down! ( )
  CharlaOppenlander | Apr 4, 2014 |
Page turner ( )
  Smcgovern | Mar 27, 2014 |
This book was a little hard for me to get into at first, though once I did, I was hooked. It took me only 2 days to finish. There were two reasons from my difficulty. This first was that I had just finished a book (Playing St. Barbara) that refused to let me go! (That is a good thing!) The second was I was convinced this book was going to end badly and I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with the tragedy. I had a foreboding all through the book, and at times, especially in the last 50 pages, I would put the book down and walk away because I really didn’t want to read the ending.

That aside, I did enjoy this book, as did the majority of my book club. It is well written and definitely kept my interest. While some have compared it to The Help, I really would not make that comparison. I can’t really tell you this was an accurate portrayal of plantation life in the late 1700s, because I really don’t know. I could believe that while not everything that happened here was common on every plantation, all of the events COULD have happened on a plantation somewhere. I think the author did a good job of showing extremes. Will represented the very kind overseer; Rankin the evil overseer. The Captain is the benevolent master; his son Marshall is the cruel master.

The book also did a nice job of showing the powerlessness of women and slaves in the early days of our country. While the house slaves knew something terrible was happening and tried to bring it to their master’s attention, he brushed them off, and they had no way of helping after that. Livia was kind and wanted to maintain the friendly relationship she had with the slaves, but her husband was also her master, and he forbid it.

The biggest frustration with the story was all the mis-communication. There were a lot of ‘what-ifs’ and a lot of possibilities for different outcomes if the characters could have been more honest. In some cases, as mentioned before with the slaves, there was no power to speak up, but in others, there were assumptions made that turned out to not be true, and decisions made based on false assumptions. It would have been an entirely different story, but probably much less memorable.

This was a great pick for our book club. The discussion pretty much took off on its own, however there are discussion questions at the back of the book if you need a starting point for your discussion. You can visit the author’s website for photos and background info. ( )
  Time2Read2 | Feb 10, 2014 |
THE KITCHEN HOUSE by Kathleen Grissom

In an interesting twist on the pre-Civil War story of slavery, Grissom presents us with an Irish child orphaned on the ocean crossing and delivered into the life of an indentured servant. Because Lavinia is only 6 years old as the tale begins, she is handed over to the “house slaves” to raise by the master of the house. Belle, who ultimately becomes Lavinia’s “mother/sister,” is the master’s illegitimate daughter and receives many privileges because of this relationship. Promised her freedom by the master, Belle unhappily comes under the eye of the master’s son who is unduly influenced by the evil overseer.
Grissom has written an engrossing tale of life of “house slave, “field slave” and bullied and frightened wife. The characters are clearly written, the scenes are believable, the secrets are many. The plot will grab your interest from the first page and keep you reading to the final page. Grissom has a clear vision of plantation life, family relationships, and the fear engendered by powerlessness. The tempo of the story gains momentum as the characters reveal their lies, secrets, loves, hopes and fears as Lavinia grows from child to adult.
5 of 5 stars ( )
  beckyhaase | Jan 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (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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