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The Kitchen House [Hardcover]

Kathleen Grissom
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant story! May 9 2010
By Myckyee
Format:Paperback
The Kitchen House was an absolutely wonderful reading experience.

What I liked best about this book were the characters. They became people I wanted to know. When something good happened I was happy for them and sad when a not-so-great event occurred. The author made fictional characters seem so real that they jumped off the page. More than once I was brought to tears and felt real sympathy for these people. Most of the characters were complex personalities dealing with complex problems. Though the main antagonist (and it could be argued just who the main antagonist is) is not likeable, the character was written with sympathy and while I did not excuse his behavior, I could easily understand the reasons behind his conduct.

The other great thing about The Kitchen House was the plot. My heart was pounding after reading the first page. I didn't know exactly what was going on but the small bit that I read gave me a powerful sense of fear, anxiety and curiosity. From there on, the story developed into the drama, hardship and joy a close-knit family experiences in the slave quarters of a large plantation. The story moved quickly and I was so engrossed I couldn't believe it when it ended. I still want to spend time with these people!

I loved The Kitchen House and wholeheartedly recommend it for book clubs - I think it would generate very lively discussions.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my top reads this year June 4 2010
By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Every so often a book just reaches out and grabs you. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom was one of those books for me.

It's 1791. Lavinia is 7 yrs old and her entire family has perished on the boat from Ireland to America. The captain takes her to his own plantation as an indentured servant. She is sent to live with the slaves who run the kitchen house. Abinia, as she comes to be known, is welcomed into the hearts and homes of Mama Mae, her daughter Belle (who is the captain's illegitimate daughter) and their extended families. They love her as one of their own, despite the fact that she is white.

As Lavinia grows, she is taken to the big house to help with the captain's wife, who is battling an addiction to opium. It is here that Lavinia finally has to acknowledge the chasm between black and white, master and slave. And where her place is. As she grows older, circumstances conspire and she is forced to make difficult choices that have grievous repercussions. This is s a very bare bones synopsis as there is so much more to this book.

Grissom forced me to break one of my cardinal rules. I never, ever, read ahead in a book. I got so caught up in the story, the characters and the hurtling plot that I was reading way too fast to take it all in. I had to find out what happened, then go back and slowly take the journey to the event.

Grissom's descriptions of the settings, social life, characters and dialogue truly had them jumping off the page. Indeed, Grissom herself says that "For the most part, Lavinia and Belle dictated the story to me. From the beginning it became quite clear that if I tried to embellish or change their story, their narration would stop.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A griping tale June 9 2011
Format:Paperback
I couldn't put The Kitchen House down. It is a griping tale and would make a wonderful movie. I enjoyed the historical information and how well Kathleen Grissom takes the reader back into the eighteenth century. She paints such a graphic picture of the times and people you feel you have been there. If someone has read The Book of Negroes they will certainly also enjoy The Kitchen House.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Enjoyed this book from start to finish. I became captivated with the residents of the "Kitchen House" and was touched by the love and loyalty they shared with each. The storyline (although sometimes tender and at other times, very harsh) moves along very effortlessly and the book held my interest to the extent that I could not put it down until the end. Thank you Kathleen Grissom.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kitchen House Oct. 24 2011
By Nancy TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It was a page turner from the beginning and tugged at heart strings in many places. The characters were real and, like any good story, you hated to leave them when the last page was read. I couldn't seem to stop reading late into the night with this novel! I highly recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Read March 20 2012
Format:Paperback
This book was a very good read. The author writes with detail that has you imagining exactly how the characters look and feel throughout the entire book. She manages to bring out emotion in the way she describes situations and events that happen in this book. It is a real page turner with twists & turns.
This book brings up tough issues with perspective to shed light on the history in the south. Great read and would recommend this to anyone who isn't disturbed by the subject matter.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read... Oct. 8 2011
By K
Format:Paperback
I chose to buy this book because I wanted to read something from an author I'd never heard of before. The subject matter was interesting and the book was well written. I did not give it 5 stars because the plot line was not original - I have read similar stories before and I found the story line was predictable. But having said that, if you want to sit and read a good book, this one will fit the bill, and I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet another book that sheds more light on the past ...
Yet another book that sheds more light on the past treatment of black people in America. Unfortunately, as this book showed, even white people suffered because of the attitudes of... Read more
Published 18 days ago by sheila robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fast and efficient
Published 1 month ago by Linda L Tatler
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read!
Engrossing and textured, authentic and believable. I fell in love with the characters in this story. Just a great, well written story I highly recommend.
Published 1 month ago by Evelynne L. Ross
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book. Worth reading
Good book. Worth reading. I found the story fell apart a bit in the last third of the book.
Published 3 months ago by K. G. Lakes
2.0 out of 5 stars meh
I was disappointed by this book. It sounded like a good story but not really worth reading. I don't recommend it
Published 4 months ago by JP
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
The novel doesn't offer as much depth about slavery as others before it, but it is a good read. The story itself is a southern pot boiler and because the central character is a... Read more
Published 4 months ago by vipattie
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put it down
From the first page, I was put into a time and place that I did not know existed. I did not want the book to end. Read more
Published 4 months ago by sandy malich
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I had a hard time putting this book down, it was very interesting right from the first page to the last page.
Published 4 months ago by Denyse
5.0 out of 5 stars kitchen house
Excellent story of Maritime town and the midwife who lived there. I read it ages ago so can't remember all the details but just that I enjoyed it very much - sorry
Published 4 months ago by jacqueline farquhar
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read
A very heatfelt story of unconditional love, human strength, treachery and betrayal.
The characters were very believable, some admirable, some despicable . Read more
Published 5 months ago by Elizabeth Sokell
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