Friday Morning Bookclub

January 19, 2011

The Kitchen House By Kathleen Grissom

Filed under: Book Recomendations,The Kitchen House — susanbright @ 12:18 pm

I am constantly adding books to my “to read” list, but never seem to actually read them , so my list keeps getting longer and longer.  One of my many New Years resolution is to start reading these books.  One of the first titles on this daunting list was The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom and it turned out to be a great book to start with.

The Kitchen House takes place in the Old South. After her parents die on a ship coming from Ireland, and her brother is sold, 7-year-old Lavinia, frail from her travel is taken by Captain James Pyke to work in the kitchen house on his tobacco plantation in Virginia. Lavinia, or “Albinia” as she is called by the black slaves who work on the plantation is nursed back to health by Mama Mae, who you cannot help but fall in love with, Belle, the illegitimate daughter of Master Pyke as well as the many other slaves working in the kitchen house. A bond developes and they become her new family.

Because of her white skin, Lavinia is accepted into The Big House where Martha, the Mistress of the house  rarely leaves her room and is given laudanum drops to calm her nerves and Captain Pyke, a man with a good heart as far as masters go is gone most of the time due to business. Unfortunately the overseer Mr. Rankin is exactly what you would expect and exerts his power at will. Lavinia finds herself torn between two different worlds and is forced to make many difficult decisions.

 The Kitchen House is told through the eyes of Lavinia and Belle. Kathleen Grissom manages to bring the many diverse characters in her book to life. Once you start reading you will not want to put this book down. It is a gripping tale and will make you want to smile at times and cry at others. This would make a wonderful book club selection and on a scale of 1-5, I give The Kitchen House a 5!



  1. Sounds like a great book Susan! Now I’ll have to put it on MY to-read list!

    Comment by Esther — January 19, 2011 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

  2. Susan,
    Thanks for posting this review. Because of your enthusiastic review I’ve put The Kitchen House on my “to-read” list!

    Comment by Jean — January 20, 2011 @ 12:19 am | Reply

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