The Kitchen House

The Kitchen House

Large Print - 2012
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Orphaned onboard a ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives at a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of the master's illegitimate daughter, she becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family. Eventually accepted into the world of the big house, with its absent master and mistress battling opium addiction, Lavinia straddles two very different worlds. Then she is forced to make a choice.
Publisher: Waterville, Me. : Kennebec Large Print, 2012
Edition: Large print ed
ISBN: 9781410444622
Branch Call Number: LARGE PRINT Grissom 2012
Characteristics: 625 p. ; 22 cm


From the critics

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Tigard_DeidraM Sep 06, 2019

Great book!!! I loved this one.

Aug 26, 2019

Tea & Talk Book Club / January 2017

Jul 26, 2019

This started slow for me and suffered a little because I had read something similar in theme and feel last summer (Wench), but then it grabbed me and didn't let go. Very fast-paced and readable for a serious-themed novel and I enjoyed it very much. Definitely some characters to love (Mama, Sukey) and hate (Marshall).

Mar 14, 2019

Great author

Aug 18, 2018

Understanding the history and period of the time, I’d consider it a realistic account of what it meant to be a slave. It embarrassed me as a white person of the horrendous and appalling conditions a black person had to endure. It is still unthinkable because of the color of your skin, or what
g-d your pray to can really matter. Any human life matters.

ArapahoeJillK Jul 09, 2018

This story relates the joy, sorrow, character, and unalterable roles given to those living on a Southern plantation in the late 1700's. Told particularly from the perspective of Lavinia, a young white girl indentured to the Captain and owner of the plantation, and Belle, his black illegitimate daughter. The novel captures the feelings of helplessness that all living on the plantation experience at the hands of entitled white men.

Mar 30, 2018

Absolutely mesmerizing read....Lavinia a young and white 7 year old orphaned...ship"s
captain James Pyke takes her to his plantation to work as an indentured servant in a kitchen
house of a tobacco plantation...all hell breaks loose when racial tension, family misunderstanding, lynching, rape, arson and murder are inevitable at Tall Oaks Plantation...
reading the sequel Glory over Everything

May 03, 2017

Beautifully narrated and touching story which has a true base in the history of slavery.
Even though it's drama, you get to make deep connection with these families of slaves who have meaningful and deep relationship among them and the compassion among them is admirable.

Oct 18, 2016

Having the story told by two voices makes this novel much stronger. Lavinia is 7 when she comes to the plantation as a white indentured servant with, at first, no memory of her parents' death on the trip from Ireland. Belle is a young mulatto slave, daughter of the plantation's owner, given charge over the child, to care for her and teach her to be a house servant. Lavinia comes to love the people she lives among, calling them "my family." The feeling is mutual. Mostly, the characters are very well rounded--I'd say the major exception is the overseer. On the other hand, much of what we know historically of how overseers treated slaves is exactly like this man treated the people he had power over. For me, the ending, the last few paragraphs, was a bit abrupt. I'd read the sequel first, which may be the reason for this reaction on my part. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the fast paced book, and look forward to what I suspect will be a third in the series.

Sep 11, 2016

I've read many similar tales, but without the indentured servant twist. Never the less, I liked it very much. It did not gloss over major problems, but rather treated them gently enough so that I was able to continue reading. Too often the graphic horror of a situation is enough to make me unable to keep on, so this was well handled, in my opinion. Well developed characters, and an interesting take on drug use.

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Add a Quote
Sep 20, 2019

“My grandma showed me that there is always something to learn, that everybody got something to tell you”
― Kathleen Grissom

Sep 20, 2019

“We a family, carin' for each other. Family make us strong in times of trouble. We all stick together, help each other out. That the real meanin' of family. When you grow up, you take that family feelin' with you.”
― Kathleen Grissom, The Kitchen House

Jul 24, 2014


mrsgail5756 May 29, 2013

“One person can make a difference and every person should try.” –John F Kennedy


Add a Summary
Oct 10, 2013

Historical fiction depicting the lives of slaves in the pre-Civil War South, and the life of a woman who arrives in the U.S. from Ireland as an indentured servant and grows up to become the mistress of the plantation where she first arrived as an indentured servant.

Sep 18, 2011

Main characters Lavinia, Belle, Mama Mae, Papa, Marshall, Rankin.
A page turner, like a British Victorian novel, captures voice of the times, good on black dialect, insights into situation of slaves vis-a-vis the white masters, sex relations, & on plight of indentured Irish.


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Dec 31, 2014

ironbed9 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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