August 25, 2016

The Kitchen House - a book review

As you may know, we just returned from a vacation where Wi-Fi was virtually non-existent.  As such, Man-Child and I reverted to our go-to offline way to pass the time...reading.

I only packed two books but Man-Child - the over-achiever - packed at least five!

At any rate, one of the books I packed was The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.  Now, I realize this book has been on the market for quite some time, but it has just hit my radar and I absolutely loved it!  And after visiting the author's website, I notice that she has recently released a new book, which is a follow up to The Kitchen House - so I will definitely be searching out that book soon!

The description on the back reads as so:

"At the turn of the nineteenth century on a tobacco plantation in Virginia, young, white Lavinia, who was orphaned on her passage from Ireland, arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate, black daughter.  Lavinia learns to cook, clean, serve food, and cherish the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In time Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master's opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son.  She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.

Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Kathleen Grissom's debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep buried secrets, and familial bonds.

*Minneapolis Star Tribune."

I started this book on the two hour drive from Connecticut back to Pennsylvania and was entranced.  As my MIL and The Husband napped on the couch, I finished it -all 365 pages of it.

The book goes back and forth between Lavinia and Belle's perspective, so at first I had to be fairly vigilant about which character was "speaking" but quickly I was able to switch gears between perspectives.

This book will be one that will live on my bookshelf forever and ever - right next to my copy of Gone With The Wind - and will be read over and over and ever more cherished with every reading.  If you have even a glimmer of interest in reading this book, I would suggest that you do so - you won't be sorry.


  1. It would be nice to read books while traveling so that we will not know the tiredness of traveling.

  2. I just went to my library website and put a hold on it. It will show up right about the time I finish reading my current book. BTW, I just read Molokai by Alan Brennert and simply loved it! :-)