Our online book club's November pick is The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. Many of us in the group are huge fans of historical fiction, so this fits in perfectly with our favorite genre.
This is my first time reading this book, and so far, I love it! It reminds me a bit of The Help, which is another great book club pick that I read quite a few years ago when it first came out.
The Kitchen House is set in the early nineteenth century, and tells the story of Lavinia, a white orphan who ends up at a Virginia plantation. Here is a synopsis from Amazon:
In this gripping novel, a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate at a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War.
Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.
In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master’s opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.
Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Grissom’s debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.
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