Author Kathleen Grissom was raised in the tiny village of Annaheim, Saskatchewan, lived and worked in Montreal and New York City, and finally settled on a large farm in rural Virginia. While researching the history of her old plantation home and the land that surrounded it, Kathleen came across the notation “Negro Hill” on an old map and was fascinated. Unable to determine the story of its origin, she gradually set aside everything else to pursue the research and writing of the story that is now The Kitchen House, her debut novel.
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.
The Kitchen House is a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail.
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Kathleen Grissom talks about The Kitchen House
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