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!
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