Read It! "The Kitchen House" by Kathleen Grissom  
Read It!

Read It! Review of "The Kitchen House" by Kathleen Grissom 
by Nicole

Hello! Thanks to my awesome friends in Wisconsin I have been reading more and more books this year and books I normally wouldn’t read outside my scope of fantasy, and suspenseful thriller. This is why I love book clubs, I get to experience other genres outside my comfort zones, and get to know my friends more by the books they choose and through our discussions of what they enjoyed and didn’t. Our next book club pick was “The Kitchen House” by Kathleen Grissom

The Kitchen House

“The Kitchen House” by Kathleen Grissom is not only a New York Times Bestseller, but it has also been deemed a “Book Club Favorite”, and was nominated as both the Goodreads Choice Awards Best Historical Fiction and Goodreads Choice Awards Best Debut Goodreads Author. This book was first published in 2010 and is categorized as a Historical Fiction novel.  

The story starts with Lavinia, a young white girl orphaned during her passage from Ireland, who finds herself as an indentured servant on a thriving plantation in Virginia. She is cared for by Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter, where Lavinia learns to cook, clean and serve food in the kitchen house. Growing up, Lavinia sees Belle and the rest of her family as her one true family where she belongs. But as she starts to get accepted into the big house with the master’s opium addicted wife and their dangerous yet protective son, she begins to learn that because of her skin color she is not like Belle and the other slaves. The narrative follows both Lavinia and Belle as we see the differences that unfold in class, race and family secrets.  

This book was highly regarded among the group in our discussion. In similar fashion to the book “The Help”, we saw how differently people viewed color and status in the eyes of both Lavinia and Belle. Lavinia grew up thinking she was just like any of the other slaves, but because of her white skin she was given advantages as she grew up. Belle, on the other hand, was forced to keep the dark secret of her true identity and thus was treated just as unfair as the other slaves by the master’s family. There were some characters that treated the slaves like people, and then there were other’s whose hatred blinded their actions and made it sometimes hard to keep reading. We all agreed that it was eye-opening and an incredibly powerful story. We also noticed how different characters influenced others which affected them later in life when it came to how they treated slaves.  
 
If you read this book and enjoyed it so much, Kathleen Grissom wrote a sequel to this story called “Glory Over Everything: Beyond The Kitchen House” in 2016. 

Glory Over Everything

Other books to read if you enjoyed “The Kitchen House” would be “The Healing” by Jonathan Odell, “The House Girl” by Tara Conklin and “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd.  

Check back for my book review of our next book club pick which was “The Little Shop of Found Things” by Paula Brackston
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org On 03 October, 2020 at 9:10 AM  1 Comment

Comments
Author (Guest) said On 04 October, 2020 at 7:42 AM
Thank you for the book review. I am so glad that your book club enjoyed it. If you decide to read Glory Over Everything, please reach out to me through my website and I will call in and talk to you about it. 😘 Kathleen Grissom  
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