Friday, February 25, 2011

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

I have always been a fan of historical fiction although I haven't read much of it in recent years.  I happened upon The Kitchen House and added it to my Nook library not knowing when I might be in the mood to read it.  After reading the incredibly light novel A Piggly Wiggly Wedding I decided to read something I could get "in to" and this book filled the bill.

It is the story of slavery in post-Revolutionary War Virginia.  It is about Lavinia, a young girl who was traveling to America from Ireland with her parents and brother to engage in a life of indentured servitude.  Her parents expired while on the journey and, when they reached America, the boy was sold and Lavinia was taken home to the ship owners home to become part of his household staff.  Lavinia was white.  It is also about Belle, a young slave woman who was part of the same household.  Belle became a mentor to Lavinia and Belle became part of her family.  This is the story of Lavinia and Belle with each chapter alternating between the two -- each telling the story from their perspectives.

This is a story of human strength, weakness, determination, family bonding and a glimpse of the lives of the people during that time.  This is the story of family and not the one you might think.  It is a gripping tale and even though it tackles the subject of slavery of all sorts I couldn't put it down.  It was a sad book but then I guess there are probably millions of sad stories about the time when our country was just being born. I think this one would make a great movie.

I recommend this book with out reservation but you should know that it is somewhat graphic and it is sad.