The Kitchen House: A Novel (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Feb 2, 2010 - Fiction - 384 pages
3990 Reviews
In this gripping New York Times bestseller, Kathleen Grissom brings to life a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War, where a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate.

Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the masterís illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the masterís 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, Grissomís debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Well researched and good plot. - Goodreads
Depressing awful story with no good ending for anyone. - Goodreads
Good pacing between plot action and setting details. - Goodreads
This book was difficult to read. - Goodreads
Loved the story telling. - Goodreads
This book is a page turner but very depressing.... - Goodreads

Review: The Kitchen House

User Review  - Mary Banken - Goodreads

The book is rather engaging as a melodrama if that is your mood... But as an attempt at literature it is a disappointment. Not much to be learned from this reading... Just an adventure with a selection of threads that all resolved too quickly. Read full review

Review: The Kitchen House

User Review  - Betsie - Goodreads

A really good story about early 19th century slaves and indentured servant. I thought at times it was a bit on the dramatic, but really moved along and kept me reading. Read full review

All 489 reviews »

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Kathleen Grissom is now happily rooted in south-side Virginia, where she and her husband live in the plantation tavern they renovated. The Kitchen House is her first novel. You can visit her website at

Bibliographic information