Jeanette's Reviews > The Kitchen House

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
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Feb 11, 15

bookshelves: family-secrets, female-friendship, historical-fiction, survival, slavery, tragedy
Read in January, 2011

A colleague suggested this book and I waited two months for my hold to come in. It was worth the wait.

I LOVED this story! I spent my day off in my pjs finishing reading this story of Lavinia, a white Irish immigrant, who crossed the ocean to come to America on the Captain's ship, but her parents died on ship and did not pay for their passage. The Captain sold Lavinia's older brother into servitude and brought Lavinia home to his plantation to recoup his loss. Lavinia is sent to the kitchen house to work with Belle, the Captain's mixed daughter, who is so light skinned she can pass for white. The Captain's wife and his son believe Belle to be his mistress and horrid misconceptions and treatments occur for Belle who takes Lavinia under her care. Lavinia grows and comes to call the slaves on the plantation her family, which creates a confusing sense of place for her when the Captain's wife becomes dependent on Lavinia and has her become her personal maid, grooming her for status in white society. Lavinia's failure to understand her status (white) and her family's place (black slaves) creates heartache for Lavinia and those she loves. Very well written with strong beautiful characters. I didn't want the book to end.
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