The Kitchen House
Series: The Kitchen House #1
Author: Kathleen Grissom
Published: February 2, 2010
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 26- August 2, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family. Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.
Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.
I enjoy Historical Fiction and The Kitchen House was a book club read selection. I had never heard of it until it became the book we were to read for August. Grissom did her research for the novel meticulously, but it was not really a book for me: How much tragedy can one group of people face? It was too much melodrama in one book for me. It also took almost half of the novel for me to become interested in it. As it got further along, I was hoping for Lavinia to do something that she didn’t do. I can’t say because of spoilers, but this novel was just ok. There is a follow up novel dealing with one character many years down the road, and I just might possibly read that one at some point. I’ll have to look at some reviews first then decide.
There was also an unexpected twist for me that happens that I am sure definitely happened in reality with slavery, but I just was not expecting it here! The Kitchen House has an author’s note that gives the author’s inspiration and more appreciation for the novel for me. Definitely read it to enhance your feelings for the novel.