The title of this book appealed to me–because I like to eat. And once I read the opening paragraph, I was hooked and inhaled the rest of the story. I love when a book kidnaps me and holds me hostage until the end. This book bound and tortured me with a myriad of emotions that threatened to destroy me (okay, that’s a little melodramatic, but it was very intense).
The story is set in slave times in America. The kitchen house was where the more ‘elite’ slaves served–the ones that maybe looked a little better and were ‘fit’ to serve the white Master and his family. The kitchen help didn’t have to toil in the plantation fields, but their lives still weren’t easy, as this book depicts.
The author did a lot of research into this time period and it made the book come alive. If you read The Help by Kathryn Stockett, then I think you’ll like this one too. Kathleen Grissom did a great job with the slaves’ dialect, but made it easy enough to read without getting confused (I personally like that–when it gets too true to how they spoke–like in Uncle Tom’s Cabin–it can be easy to get confused).
I grew to love the characters–and even cared for the villain (which is a hard task to do as an author). The main characters are Lavinia, an Irish orphan assigned to work in the kitchen house with the slaves, and Belle, a beautiful mulatto slave who is dear to the master. Over the years, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, although she is set apart from them by her white skin. Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house and straddles two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.
This book was amazing! I couldn’t put it down, and when I finished, my mind kept pondering it, consumed with the tragedy that swept them and me up, forcing us to become changed people. I love books like that! So, if you’re bored and looking for something to read, check out The Kitchen House by Grissom. And if you’re hungry, then check out your own Kitchen in your House.