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The Kitchen House is Kathleen Grissom's first novel. The story is based in the late 18th century in Virginia. The chapters alternate between two narrators. Lavinia is an indentured servant. She's a child and due to the drama of losing her parents in the crossing from Ireland to the U.S. she has lost her memory. Belle is a slave at Tall Oaks, the tobacco plantation where Lavinia ends up. Belle runs the kitchen house.

As she grows, Lavinia encounters various power inequities -- between slaves, indentured servants and free people, between women and men, between landowners, upperclass and the poor. While she's a servant, she's educated as a companion with a young lady of her time.


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