Book Review: The Kitchen House

Cinthia Ritchie

I don’t normally write book reviews but couldn’t resist this time. I feel so haunted by Kathleen Grissom’s The Kitchen House that I feel the need to write out my feelings, as if to shake off the hold.

kitchen houseThis was a difficult book for me. It took me over three weeks, and in that time I finished numerous other reads. Yet I kept returning. I was intrigued, despite myself. Or maybe because of myself.

The story spans the years of 1791-1810 on a Virginia plantation. There are slaves,yes, and they’re sometimes treated badly, and some of the situations are hard to read, especially knowing they had no doubt taken place, in one respect or another.  It’s not a shining time in the history of our country and Grissom doesn’t flinch from or sugarcoat realities.

The story follows Lavinia, an indentured servant, and Belle, a slave who works in the plantation’s kitchen house.  It opens with suspense and once it quieted down, I found myself deep in plantation…

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