Title Profile & Character Information

The Kitchen House

Annotation
Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of the highly anticipated Glory Over Everything, established herself as a remarkable new talent with The Kitchen House, now a contemporary classic. 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.

Characters
NameLavinia
GenderGirl
OccupationIndentured servant
TraitsIrish
White
Orphan

NameBelle
GenderFemale
OccupationServant
TraitsIllegitimate
Slave
African American

NamePyke, James
GenderMale
OccupationsCaptain
 Plantation owner
TraitsMarried
Father

GenreFiction
Historical
Domestic
Saga
    --Family
TopicsPlantation life
Orphans
Slaves
Indentured servants
Plantation owners
Illegitimate children
Southern life
Love
Slavery
Family relationships
Identity
Race relations
SettingVirginia
Plantation