Upon the recommendation of my librarian, I took home The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. (Dont 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 ripe 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 through out 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 orphan indentured servant, its acceptance of slavery as a way of life rather then the undertones of slavery needing to be abolished.
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 cant 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!
See you at the finish line!