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The Resource The kitchen house, Kathleen Grissom

The kitchen house, Kathleen Grissom

Label
The kitchen house
Title
The kitchen house
Statement of responsibility
Kathleen Grissom
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"Oprhaned aboard a ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and worth 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 the by her white skin. Eventually accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction, Lavinia straddles two very different world. Then she is forced to make a choice"--P. [4] of cover
Member of
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • Grissom’s unsentimental debut twists the conventions of the antebellum novel just enough to give readers an involving new perspective on what would otherwise be fairly stock material. Lavinia, an orphaned seven-year-old white indentured servant, arrives in 1791 to work in the kitchen house at Tall Oaks, a Tidewater, Va., tobacco plantation owned by Capt. James Pyke. Belle, the captain’s illegitimate half-white daughter who runs the kitchen house, shares narration duties, and the two distinctly different voices chronicle a troublesome 20 years: Lavinia becomes close to the slaves working the kitchen house, but she can’t fully fit in because of her race. At 17, she marries Marshall, the captain’s brutish son turned inept plantation master, and as Lavinia ingratiates herself into the family and the big house, racial tensions boil over into lynching, rape, arson, and murder. The plantation’s social order’s emphasis on violence, love, power, and corruption provides a trove of tension and grit, while the many nefarious doings will keep readers hooked to the twisted, yet hopeful, conclusion. (Feb.) --Staff (Reviewed November 9, 2009) (Publishers Weekly, vol 256, issue 45, p29)
  • Irish orphan finds a new family among slaves in Grissom's pulse-quickening debut.Lavinia is only six in 1791, when her parents die aboard ship and the captain, James Pyke, brings her to work as an indentured servant at Tall Oaks, his Virginia plantation. Pyke's illegitimate daughter Belle, chief cook (and alternate narrator with Lavinia), takes reluctant charge of the little white girl. Belle and the other house slaves, including Mama Mae and Papa George, their son Ben, grizzled Uncle Jacob and youngsters Beattie and Fanny, soon embrace Lavinia as their own. Otherwise, life at Tall Oaks is grim. Pyke's wife Martha sinks deeper into laudanum addiction during the captain's long absences. Brutal, drunken overseer Rankin starves and beats the field slaves. The Pykes' 11-year-old son Marshall "accidentally" causes his young sister Sally's death, and Ben is horribly mutilated by Rankin. When Martha, distraught over Sally, ignores her infant son Campbell, Lavinia bonds with the baby, as well as with Sukey, daughter of Campbell's black wet nurse Dory. Captain Pyke's trip to Philadelphia to find a husband for Belle proves disastrous; Dory and Campbell die of yellow fever, and Pyke contracts a chronic infection that will eventually kill him. Marshall is sent to boarding school, but returns from time to time to wreak havoc, which includes raping Belle, whom he doesn't know is his half-sister. After the captain dies, through a convoluted convergence of events, Lavinia marries Marshall and at 17 becomes the mistress of Tall Oaks. At first her savior, Marshall is soon Lavinia's jailer. Kindly neighboring farmer Will rescues several Tall Oaks slaves, among them Ben and Belle, who, unbeknownst to all, was emancipated by the captain years ago. As Rankin and Marshall outdo each other in infamy, the stage is set for a breathless but excruciatingly attenuated denouement.Melodramatic for sure, but the author manages to avoid stereotypes while maintaining a brisk pace. (Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2009)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
338816
Cataloging source
BTCTA
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Grissom, Kathleen
Dewey number
813.6
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
Kitchen house
Series volume
0001
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Indentured servants
  • Slaves
  • Plantation life
Target audience
adult
Label
The kitchen house, Kathleen Grissom
Instantiates
Publication
Note
Includes a reading group guide and a conversation with the author
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
21 cm
Edition
First Touchstone trade paperback edition.
Extent
368 pages
Isbn
9781439153666
Isbn Type
(trade pbk. : alk. paper)
Lccn
2009017509
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 319955280
  • (OCoLC)319955280
Label
The kitchen house, Kathleen Grissom
Publication
Note
Includes a reading group guide and a conversation with the author
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
21 cm
Edition
First Touchstone trade paperback edition.
Extent
368 pages
Isbn
9781439153666
Isbn Type
(trade pbk. : alk. paper)
Lccn
2009017509
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 319955280
  • (OCoLC)319955280

Library Locations

    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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