Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book Review: The Kitchen House

Oh my goodness. Have you read Kathleen Grissom's The Kitchen House? If not, go quickly and buy it, borrow it, or take it off your TBR pile. I wish I had another book guaranteed this good to anticipate!

The Kitchen House is the story of Lavinia, a little Irish immigrant orphan who becomes an indentured servant on a Virginia plantation, and the family that raises her—and the family that owns her. What Lavinia doesn't understand is that she is white and her adopted family is the property of the master: the slaves of the big house.

As she grows into womanhood, she is forced to acknowledge that she is a white girl, and her family is black. What she refuses to deny, however, is that they are, indeed, her family. She has to learn to carefully straddle the two worlds, to protect those she loves, and to simply survive a brutal introduction into adulthood.

I know. It sounds like a "been there, done that" kind of novel. The plot line I've given merely scratches the surface. There is nothing sentimental or trite about this novel. Grissom is a master storyteller. Told from the perspectives of both Lavinia as well as Belle, her adoptive mother who is the master's illegitimate daughter, the novel is fast-paced, beautifully written, and absolutely compelling.

In an interview, author Grissom hints that she may be writing more on some of the characters in this novel. I can only hope!

Linked up on Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books

8 comments:

Heidi'sbooks said...

This sounds awesome. I'm going to check the library. That's for the glowing review--I've been in a reading funk.

Susan(Reading World) said...

I've seen this book around but wasn't clear what it was about. Thanks for the summary and recommendation. It sounds wonderful.

teachergirlbooks said...

Wow, this sounds like such an interesting book. I'll have to see if it's available at the library since I'm on a book-buying ban. Thanks for the recommendation.

Suzanne said...

This was a great book. If Grissom does write another novel with these characters, I would definitely read it.

Alyce said...

I enjoyed this one when I read it, but it's been a while so a lot of the book details are fuzzy in my mind.

Marg said...

I have had this book sitting on my TBR list for ages! Really need to move it up by the sound of it.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Adding it to my list!

Eesti said...

The Kitchen House offers readers a new, complex perspective on the antebellum south during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The story weaves together the complicated relationships between slaves and their owners by using an indentured white "slave" to determine what family means. I couldn't put it down. I loved The Help by Karen Stockett, but this book was a faster, more compelling read. LOVED IT!