The Kitchen House: A Novel

Front Cover
Touchstone, Feb 2, 2010 - Fiction - 368 pages
2434 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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Loved, loved, loved this page turner! - Goodreads
Difficult to read at times. - Goodreads
A compelling book; great storytelling. - Goodreads
Such an awful non-ending! - Goodreads
I loved the writing style here. - Goodreads
Worth a read, but found the plot a little lazy. - Goodreads

Review: The Kitchen House

User Review  - RsvpShindig - Goodreads

I loved this book. I found the perspective of what it was truly like to live in a plantation out in the country as such pure loneliness. It wasn't all magnolia trees, pretty set tables and social ... Read full review

Review: The Kitchen House

User Review  - Alijayne - Goodreads

I have no idea how I missed this book when it came out, but it is a must-read. It was absolutely fantastic, and I couldn't put it down. 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, 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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