The Kitchen House: A Novel

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Feb 2, 2010 - Fiction - 384 pages
605 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 master’s 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 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, Grissom’s debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
269
4 stars
215
3 stars
89
2 stars
25
1 star
7

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ilive2read - LibraryThing

A page-turner from start to finish. Well-written and well-researched to make the story seem possible and realistic while more interesting than an actual history. I recommend this book. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - moonshineandrosefire - LibraryThing

When a white servant girl violates the rules of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the best and the worst traits of the people she has come to call her family. In 1791, Lavinia ... Read full review

All 489 reviews »

Selected pages

Other editions - View all

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. She is the author of The Kitchen House and most recently Glory Over Everything.

Bibliographic information