The Kitchen House kept me reading, reading, reading. I couldn't put it down.
Written: Jul 30, 2012 (Updated Jul 31, 2012)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:very interesting and engaging story, couldn't put it down
Cons:deals with antebellum slavery
The Bottom Line: If you are looking for a great read, check out The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.
My sister and I recently swapped Kindle Touches because she wanted to read Fifty Shades of Grey which I had and I was just looking for new things to read which she had. I had already read several of the books that she had on her Kindle, but The Kitchen House was a new one that I had never read or even heard of before. Once I started reading it yesterday, I seriously couldn't put it down aside from making dinner and sleeping. I finished it within 24 hours!
The Kitchen House is set in the antebellum South and is told by two people: Lavinia and Belle. Lavinia is a young Irish girl whose parents died on the Captain's ship during their passage to America. The captain sold her brother as a servant but brought Lavinia to his tobacco plantation to pay off her parent's debt as a servant. She is distraught, but eventually she becomes part of the house slave family and considers members her mother, father, sisters, brother, etc. Belle is the half-black daughter of the Captain who is the head of the plantation's kitchen house. He keeps her away from his wife and family which makes his wife curious and jealous of Belle, but the Captain has plans to give her free papers, send her off to the North, and get her established into her own home.
The Kitchen House tells the story of everyone (inhabitants of the Big House, the servants, the kitchen house workers, and even some of the field hands living down in the quarters) as they try to survive and live at Tall Oaks. Lavinia is a young Irish girl trying to fit into a slave family while Belle is the daughter of the "master" who is kept hidden from his wife down in the kitchen house. Suffice to say that this story has many different things going on and is very interesting.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I was hooked into the story almost right away and was very interested to find out how Lavinia would fare with the family and what Belle's father would decide to do with her. Yes, this story involves description of plantation life, including slavery, but it doesn't totally depress you to read it. The facts are stated and reinforced by how the servants respond to situations, but they aren't really dwelled on which is fine with me. There are a few very unpleasant scenes, but I had no problem reading them and accepting them as they aren't graphic or very detailed. I don't mean to make light of the experiences of slaves, but when I am looking for a book to read, I want something that is an easy read. I don't need books ruining my good mood while I am on the beach or giving me nightmares.
The Kitchen House was a very interesting book and I finished it within a day because I just couldn't put the Kindle down. I was fascinated with Lavinia's acceptance into the slave family and the Captain's treatment of his daughter, Belle. The ending didn't work out the way that I wanted it to but there definitely was enough closure to satisfy.
I really enjoyed reading The Kitchen House. The premise of the story immediately hooked me in and kept me flipping the virtual pages on my Kindle for every free moment that I had over the course of a day. This is the kind of book that I would pass along to family and friends. It's really good!
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