The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
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Cannonball Read IV: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

By Rachelmarjne | Book Reviews | August 23, 2012 | Comments ()


Upon the recommendation of my librarian, I took home The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. (Don't you love a good librarian??) I set it down, I picked it up, set it down again and renewed it once before reading the dust jacket. I opened the book and fell down the proverbial rabbit hole. I was hooked. Within the first few pages, I realized this author had not only developed a story line, she had researched it in depth. It was truly a delight to walk through this historical vision even though it was rife with tragedy. I was appalled and yet fascinated by the tale told and the harsh reality of it. It repulsed me yet drew me in deeper.

The Kitchen House is a story of a family on a plantation in Virginia at the turn of the eighteenth century. Life was different then, slavery was commonplace, slaves were family members both acknowledged and unacknowledged. The Kitchen House tells a family story through the life of a young orphaned Irish girl, Lavinia, brought to the plantation from the Master's ship. From her perspective, the tale is twined throughout the slave quarters and reaches into the house. This novel is engaging because of the ring of authentic truth woven in the tragic family tapestry, its mundane routines, the interests and experiences of both slave and orphaned indentured servant, its acceptance of slavery as a way of life.

The characters come alive and you hear the rope swinging, you feel the fire crackling, you see the colors so vivid and horrible truth laid out at the in the beginning, and then you read Chapter 1...only to come full circle at the end with a better understanding and insight into the scene that sets up the book at the beginning. All in all, I can't wait to read another of Grissom's books, and I have highly recommended it to friends and family.

I highly recommend it to you now!

For more of Rachelmarjne's reviews, check out her blog,

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read IV. Read all about it.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

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  • Bryan

    I was going to make a snide comment, like "I fell asleep for a few minutes reading this review" but then I realized something: if the characters in a book are vibrant and interesting enough the plot hardly matters at all. I would've missed out on a LOT of good reads if I hadn't ignored my lukewarm reaction to the plot description. Something my cynical ass (and those of you out there who also possess cynical asses) should keep in mind.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Added this to my goodreads list. Good review. A little vague maybe, but enough to get me interested. Thank you. And please tell your cousin to stop threatening everyone. =)

  • rachelmarjne

    Ha! You should see some of the stuff she shouts at me!! ;)

  • lowercase_ryan

    Oh I can imagine hehe

  • mswas

    Who, me?

  • $27019454

    My librarian (I actually have one, much the same way as one "has" a hairdresser.) has never steered me wrong and this sounds like a book I should pick up soon. And read.

  • Maguita NYC

    Like two.

  • rachelmarjne


  • DeistBrawler it kind of like The Help? We learn house and family aspects and relationships from both sides?

    I suppose Downton Abbey could be another comparison.

    I'm a little lost as to what, exactly, the story is.

  • rachelmarjne

    No where near as "light" as the Help. And not as detailed as Downton Abbey. This is a very realistic portrait of plantation life in 1790's. It tells the story of a family through the life of a white indentured child/servant who is raised in the servants quarters. I cant recommend it highly enough if you appreciate well-written and well researched novels.

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