Title: The Kitchen House
Author: Kathleen Grissom
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.
Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.
Reason that I read this book: I read it for a challenge on Goodreads. I had intended to read it in November, but got around to it this past month.
Thoughts: The storyline and the writing are wonderful for most of the book and then for the last 30 pages, it seems to drop off. Maybe I was expecting too much due to the amazing reviews that I have read about the book, but I honestly didn’t like the ending of the book; felt that it was too rushed and there really was no closure as to what happened to the characters that I had spent almost 400 pages learning about. Almost seemed as though Ms. Grissom was forced to end the book with the ending that the book had. I was just a bit disappointed and had really hoped that the book had ended better than it had. I suppose it didn’t help that I needed to get the book done and return it to the library.
Bottom line: While the first 350 pages are wonderful and the storytelling is really great, I found the last 30 was a bit lacking. I really wanted to like the book at the end as much as I had at the beginning, but whatever the reason, I found the ending to be a bit rushed and there not being a lot of closure for the main characters that I had become attached to, especially Lavinia.