The Kitchen House – Kathleen Grissom
I’ve just finished reading “The Kitchen House” by Kathleen Grissom. I found this book on Pinterest, listed as a book that is hard to put down. Well, it’s true!
This book is very similar to “The Help” (also a movie). The Kitchen House is set in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s in Virginia, America.
Lavinia is a seven year old orphan who is taken in by a wealthy plantation owner. He doesn’t take her into the big house with his family. Instead, he assigns her to work and live out in the kitchen house with the black slaves. Lavinia is given to Belle, who works in the kitchen house, to raise with the other black children on the property. She loves Belle and loves the other girls like sisters. Lavinia quickly becomes part of the black slave family and sees herself as being the same as them. Her black slave family treat her well and include her in their daily lives and dramas.
But the colour of Lavinia’s skin will always set her apart from her black slave family, whether she likes it or not. As she grows older she is torn between her close-knit community in the kitchen house and the big house where she is given increasing responsibilities and opportunities.
This novel hits hard with the realities of life as a black slave in Virginia. With descriptions that made me feel like I was there with them, this book gives great insight into life during this era.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It is easy to read and I didn’t want to put it down! There is hardship, grief, joy, fear, murder, confusion and romance in this book. It is Katherine Grissom’s first novel an it’s really well written. I recommend this book!