Review: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

When Lavinia’s parents both die in passage from Ireland to the United States, she is only 7.  The master of a plantation takes her in and has her live and work in the kitchen house with his slaves, one of them being his illegitimate daughter.  Over the years, Lavinia comes to think of the people in the kitchen house as family, but it’s the 1700s in the South, and Lavinia slowly realizes that some people won’t understand the bond she shares with these people.  This book follows Lavinia’s life and the choices she makes.  Most of all it shows the strong bonds we can share between family, and what family actually means.

I really liked The Kitchen House, even if it didn’t end exactly how I was hoping it would.  One of my favorite things about it was that it was told in two perspectives, Lavinia and Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter.  Through that, we see how the slaves that Lavinia comes to love like family are affected by everything going on, just as we see first hand how Lavinia deals with things, especially as she grows older and becomes an adult.

Mama Mae was my favorite character.  She was so strong and knew how to get through tough times.  Lavinia on the other hand sometimes got under my skin.  I loved her character, but later on in the book when she is married, she became a very meak person.  I understand that, I really do.  She wanted to try to keep things the way that they were.  But I was waiting and waiting for a stronger Lavinia to show herself, and she really didn’t, at least not when I most wanted her to.

With that said, I still highly recommend this book.  It shows that you can make anyone your family, regardless of race, blood ties, backgrounds, etc.  And I did find myself getting a bit teary eyed at times.  I loved the setting and the time period.  After I read this book I really wanted another great book about slavery and the south, but I was drawing a blank. 

Any recommendations from my readers??

Title: The Kitchen House
Author: Kathleen Grissom
Date of Publication: 2010
Number of Pages: 384
Genre: Fiction
Source: Personal Copy


About Kelly

Hi! My name’s Kelly. I’m a twenty-something gal from Buffalo, NY. Mom to a little dog named Peabody and a slightly evil cat named Archie. Engaged to the best dude ever. I love books and craft beer! I also love all things France and francophone and have a degree in French Language and Literature from Buffalo State College. My blog used to be called Kelly’s France Blog, but I finally decided it needed a change because I wasn’t posting about French things nearly as often as I used to! You can still see all my imported posts on A Book and a Beer, or you can visit my original blog at
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2 Responses to Review: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

  1. I loved The Kitchen House. I would recommend The Healing by Jonathon O'Dell. So good.

  2. Kelly says:

    Thank you for the recommendation! I'll have to look into that one!

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