The Kitchen House: A Novel

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Simon and Schuster, Feb 2, 2010 - Fiction - 384 pages
2302 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.

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User Review  - Susan H. -

Great book really enjoyed it . Read full review

Review: The Kitchen House

User Review  - Kelly Wong - Goodreads

I read it though because it was gripping enough to want to know what happened to the characters but the characters seems to fall into convenient stereotypes and it wrapped up too cleanly for my liking. Also, if I had to read the word "eager" one more time... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Kathleen Grissom is now happily rooted in south-side Virginia. She is the author of The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything. You can visit her website at

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