28 October, 2013

The kitchen house by Kathleen Grissom [Suneeta, Highland Park Library]

syndetics-lcThe Kitchen House is Kathleen Grissom’s first novel and she has to be applauded for the detailed research that she undertook to create a work of historical fiction that packs an enormous emotional punch. Set between 1791 and 1810 on a tobacco plantation in Virginia, it is a story that addresses slavery, indentured labour where people are bought and sold like goods, rape and murder. These every day occurrences will fill any reader of the slightest imagination with a sense of horror at the cruel injustices carried out by the powerful over the powerless. At the same time, it is as much a story of love and acceptance that brings out the true meaning family, which is colour blind and in which loyalty wins over the rules of black and white. The plot is woven into the narration by two characters – much of it through the domestic detail that occurs in the “big house” of the owner and his dysfunctional family and that of the “kitchen house” in which live the black slaves who serve the family. Into this mix is thrown a 7 year old white servant girl who defies the order of that society and exposes the hypocrisy, dark secrets as well as the warmth of kinship of plantation life. While I found the writing in some parts slightly predictable and the relationships between characters sometimes confusing, this is a great book for discussion and can be enjoyed in a few sittings. Possibly a must-read if you enjoyed The Help.                                                                                                                                                                                                              Title: The kitchen house
Author: Kathleen Grissom
ISBN: 978085752d1545
Published: c2010
Publisher; Touchstone      

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