The Kitchen House
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 Bel...more
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Author Kathleen Grissom's debut novel about slavery in the South in the late 1700's, early 1800's is one of the best out this year. This thought-provoking look at life on a tobacco plantation in that era both shocks us and draws us into the souls of these compelling characters, the white owners, the black slaves, and the little white girl who is brought in as an indentured servant, with whom we "experience" her growth into womanhood. Totally believable and thoroughly resea ...more
While reading this book this is what I wrote:
"I am not liking this book. It feels like the books I read when I was a teen and had nothing good to read. It is too much. Too much sorrow and everything goes wrong. Now she is going to make life changing decisions because of lack of communication. If there is something I dislike it is that in books.
I meant by tha ...more
I have to give credit to the author’s wonderful talent for being able to render such an unvarnished, yet grippingly beautiful tale of life on a southern p ...more
My main problem with the book, however, was that the author never seemed to go past the plot and what was happening to the characters externally. Because of this, they often came across as a little shallow and unde ...more
This is the terrifying realization for Lavinia, who was thrust to work the house kitchen with other slaves in the late 1700’s in Virginia. Feeling isolated and confused, her fellow slaves open their arms to this sad girl, ...more
Lavinia, born in Ireland, is an indentured servant who comes to live at Tall Oaks tobacco plantation in southern Virginia in 1791. She is placed in the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter. Lavinia lives and works in the kitchen house along side the slaves on the plant ...more
• Boring protagonist; weepy, passive women just irritate me now. I used to be more tolerant; I’ll put this down to aging...
• I read similar books when I was younger, nothing fresh here
• It's a pager turner but the plot was pretty obvious; good story that I wish hadn't m
Kathleen Grissom started with a great story idea - bring to life the tales of children sold into slavery or indentured servitude in 18th century Virginia whose country of origin was not Africa. In the hands of a more experienc ...more
On completion: Four stars! I know I really liked the book, but why, and what is it that prevents me from giving it five stars? You keep turning the pages, I kept wondering what is going to happen next? Yes, a lot does happen, and sometimes it does feel a bit melodramatic given all the shit that hits the fan. What happens does not feel impossible, but sometimes I found myself thinking that the blacks absolutely never were as bad as the whites. Let me say once again, the story does n ...more
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My review for this book........ is....
By the end of this book I sooooooo wanted to put a few drops of laudanum in my drink, to take away the pain of it all!
Don't waste your time on this one...so poorly written..... predictable.... I only stuck with it due to being a bookclub selection.......
There was a discrepancy between those books and this one though. THOSE books had not necessarily happy endings but at least they had hopeful endings. This one was just plain TRAGIC. I love my historical fiction novels and I KNOW most of history was sad, especially in the U.S. during slavery times, but I mean really???? Was all this misery really needed?!!! I'm not asking for flowers and sunshine and a Disney ending, but at least.. ...more
Of course, I think the author does a great job with portraying the time period, although since Historical Fiction is not one of my favorite genres, I had a hard time with some of the character's choices (although I would think looking at the time period were realistic responses).
Overall, it was a wo ...more
First off, let's start with the cast of characters. There's Mama Mae - the "big mama" of the kitchen house. She's the one eve ...more
I read the author's note and interview immediately following the end of the book. In it she says that the "voices" she hears tell her "their story" and she writes it. She also said, "I tried on a number of occasions to change some of the events (those that I found profoundly disturbing), but the story would stop when I did that, so I forged ahead to write what was revealed."
There are not many professions where one can openly claim to do what "the voices" tell them ...more
The story of Lavinia and Belle is so very moving. Lavinia's adopted familly are some of the most memorable characters I have encountered in a novel lately, I came to care about each of them very much. The family she marries into much less so. This is a story about family, but much deeper than many ...more
I don't love this book. It is a hot mess.
Every possible mishap occurs for our not-remotely-plucky and utterly clueless Irish lass of a heroine, just to keep the plot plodding along. Her complete and utter inability to read a room or learn one darn thing about the time in which she is growing up is an obnoxious device to make the most insane things happen. Somehow they were not insane enough, though, because I guessed ev ...more
"There was a strong smell of smoke, and new fear fueled me. Now on the familiar path, I raced ahead, unmindful of my daughter behind me try ...more
In 1791, seven year old Lavinia arrives in the U.S. She is an immigrant. Her parents died on the ship on the way over from Ireland (Not Good), she is separated from her brother (Bad), she is made an indentured servan ...more
Lavinia is clueless and spineless, a pawn among pawns (who is the Queen in this chess game?). And that's the problem ...more
I couldn't find the point of the story. The author would jump from one incident to the next. She provides details that make no sense or are totally irrelevant to the story. There is no flow to the story. It reads like a 5 year ol ...more
Soon after Sister ...more
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The large, broad-shouldered man looked away before he answered. "Well, now," he said, as though he had given it deep thought, "I sure do think I would like that."
"But," I said, concerned that he hadn't noticed, "I don't look like your other girls."
"You mean because you white?"
"Abinia," he said, pointing toward the chickens, "you look at those birds. Some of them be brown, some of them be white and black. Do you think when they little chicks, those mamas and papas care about that?”