The Kitchen House: A Novel

Front Cover
Touchstone, Feb 2, 2010 - Fiction - 368 pages
1362 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.

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It is well researched and well written. - LibraryThing
The ending was abrupt. - LibraryThing
Kudos to Grissom for writing such a balanced character. - LibraryThing
There is definite plot manipulation. - LibraryThing
This book is rich in detail and moves at a fast pace. - LibraryThing
The only weakness I felt was the ending. - LibraryThing

Review: The Kitchen House

User Review  - Dana - Goodreads

Good story, but the writing style didn't hook me. Read full review

Review: The Kitchen House

User Review  - Carrie Rzeppa - Goodreads

A historical fiction story set in Viriginia and told through the eyes of two very different characters- Belle (the daughter of the master and a slave) and Lavinia (a child brought home as an ... Read full review

All 486 reviews »

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

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