‘You must not become too friendly with them,’ she said. ‘They are not the same as us.’ ‘How?’ I asked. ‘How are they not the same?’
When seven-year-old Irish orphan Lavinia is transported to Virginia to work in the kitchen of a wealthy plantation owner, she is absorbed into the life of the kitchen house and becomes part of the family of black slaves whose fates are tied to the plantation.
But Lavinia’s skin will always set her apart, whether she wishes it or not. And as she grows older, she will be torn between the life that awaits her as a white woman and the people she knows as kin…
A compelling, powerful and poignant coming-of-age story about the fragility of family,and where love and loyalty prevail.
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I recommend the novel THE KITCHEN HOUSE by Kathleen Grissom. This novel, like THE HELP, does important work: it factors in the experience not only of African-Americans under enslavement, but of poor white Europeans, who, during the same period of American history, were often indentured. - Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple and Pulitzer Prize winner
The plantation's social order's emphasis on violence, love, power, and corruption provides a trove of tension and grit, while the many nefarious doings will keep readers hooked to the twisted, yet hopeful, conclusion. - Publishers Weekly
A heart-breaking novel set on a 1790s Virginia plantation. A page-turning romantic tragedy. - ASOS magazine, April 2013
A powerful, well written story that doesn't pull any punches. - Choice, April 2013
a potent picture of servant life in plantation America. - Sainsburys Magazine
About the Author
Over the past ten years, Kathleen Grissom and her husband have been restoring an old plantation tavern in Virginia. While researching the plantation's past, Kathleen found an old map on which, not far from their home, was the notation, 'Negro Hill.' Unable to determine the story of its origin, local historians suggested that it most likely represented a tragedy. This became the inspiration behind THE KITCHEN HOUSE.