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The Kitchen House Audiobook

The Kitchen House: A Novel

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Audible Editor Reviews

In The Kitchen House, author Kathleen Grissom weaves together the stories of two women: Lavinia, an Irish immigrant who, in 1791, arrives alone in America at 7-years-old and becomes an indentured servant on a Virginia tobacco plantation, and Belle, the slave who takes care of her. Narrators Orlagh Cassidy and Bahni Turpin (known for her work as Minny in The Help) alternate chapters, so listeners get the same story from two very different perspectives — both with their own unique voice. Both Lavinia’s Irish accent and Belle’s southern dialect are smooth and authentic, and as both characters interact with the same group of people, the narrators keep the secondary voices consistent; they can manage the white-collar accent of a Philadelphia society girl, the dangerous undertones of a malicious slave owner, and the distinctive voices of each of the plantation’s slaves with equal confidence.

Grissom, who says she was inspired by her own modern-day renovation of a Virginia plantation, fills the novel with careful details, historical touches, and believable racial and political tensions. As Lavinia grows up, she finds herself caught between the slaves that raised her and the white world that waits for her — and her tone, naïve and uncomprehending when she’s not allowed to sit with her black friends in church as a child, matures along with her. She sounds weary and resigned (though still optimistic) when, as an adult, she faces similar challenges. As Belle navigates complicated relationships with her lover, parents, and siblings, the reading remains convincing, emotional, and satisfying. And when a generation of closely-held secrets leads to danger — and tragedy — for both women, each is forced to choose where her loyalties lay. —Blythe Copeland

Publisher's Summary

When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family.

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.

©2010 Kathleen Grissom (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Forget Gone With the Wind. Belle and Lavinia, the heroines in this novel, will make Scarlett seem like a wimp in comparison….Together they narrate a story that grabs the reader and demands to be devoured. Wow.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“[Grissom’s] debut twists the conventions of the antebellum novel....Provides a trove of tension and grit, while the many nefarious doings will keep readers hooked to the twisted, yet hopeful, conclusion.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Kathleen Grissom peers into the plantation romance through the eyes of a white indentured servant inhabiting the limbo land between slavery and freedom, providing a tale that provokes new empathy for all working and longing in The Kitchen House.” (Alice Randall, author of The Wind Done Gone and Rebel Yell)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (10750 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Beth DESTREHAN, LA, United States 07-31-12
    Beth DESTREHAN, LA, United States 07-31-12
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    1
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    "Slow to start but very enlightening"
    If you could sum up The Kitchen House in three words, what would they be?

    Eye opening book


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Kitchen House?

    At the end when they all choose to stay together and rebuild THEIR home.


    Which character – as performed by Orlagh Cassidy and Bahni Turpin – was your favorite?

    Momma


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Once again the end where they stayed together with what was left of their family.


    Any additional comments?

    Just as the author states,some parts of the book were hard to read. It's shows how much power the white male had over everyone. To realize that in many cases the wife was a helpless servant as well. In the middle of the book i found it to drag a bit but the end made the wait worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    deborah Albertson, NY, United States 07-31-12
    deborah Albertson, NY, United States 07-31-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Outstanding!"
    What did you love best about The Kitchen House?

    I enjoyed the two separate viewpoints and narrators. This gave a fuller understanding of the story.


    What other book might you compare The Kitchen House to and why?

    The story of "The Kitchen House" was similar to "The Help" in that in both books there were different voices telling the story from each one's individual perspective.


    Have you listened to any of Orlagh Cassidy and Bahni Turpin ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    When I finished listening I actually missed the voices so listened to the first hour again just to not have it end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. T. Bazen 07-30-12
    P. T. Bazen 07-30-12
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    21
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    "excellent!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Kitchen House to be better than the print version?

    unknown, haven't read the book


    What other book might you compare The Kitchen House to and why?

    the help


    What does Orlagh Cassidy and Bahni Turpin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    dramatic voices


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    the kitchen house


    Any additional comments?

    would recommend as a gift for young and old

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janis Ann Arbor, MI, United States 07-30-12
    Janis Ann Arbor, MI, United States 07-30-12 Member Since 2012

    Janis B.

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    "Very predictable, pretty shallow"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I found this book to be superficial and predictable. Minimal character development, filled with cliches. I'm not sure who would enjoy it.


    Has The Kitchen House turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Not necessarily


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Good voices, well acted. They did what they could with what they had.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Kitchen House?

    Really don't have an answer here.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Arkoma, Ok United States 07-30-12
    Kindle Customer Arkoma, Ok United States 07-30-12

    always learning

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
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    Story
    "Compelling Read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have and will continue to recommend this book. The main characters/narrators of the story are endearing in their humanity and strong in dimension and quality. And yet, the antagonists were also very human and though wrong in their assessment of good and evil, they were very rounded characters and easy to relate to.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Watching Lavinia grow from a nearly drowned little Irish waif to a woman of integrity and strength. She is read beautifully by the narrator.


    Which character – as performed by Orlagh Cassidy and Bahni Turpin – was your favorite?

    Lavinia.


    If you could rename The Kitchen House, what would you call it?

    I would not rename it. It intrigued me from the title.


    Any additional comments?

    I look forward to more from Ms. Grissom and would love if she could mentor me while I write my book that is similar in context. :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deanna Hubbard, TX, United States 07-28-12
    Deanna Hubbard, TX, United States 07-28-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I hated for this book to end..."
    What made the experience of listening to The Kitchen House the most enjoyable?

    The narrators really brought the characters to life.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I loved them all but Belle was my favorite. She just anchored the story


    Which character – as performed by Orlagh Cassidy and Bahni Turpin – was your favorite?

    Lavinia- you could feel her pain as struggled through difficult decsicions. They brought her to life


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but you don't want it to end!


    Any additional comments?

    You will not regret purchasing this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Norwalk, CA, United States 07-28-12
    Anthony Norwalk, CA, United States 07-28-12 Member Since 2011

    Antonavich

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    "A very sad family story"

    This was a very sad story of man's cruelty to man, and the hope that abides in the human psyche for things better. It is also the story of a family and the love that holds them together through terrible times. It's also the story of an abused boy who becomes the worst of men who heinously uses and abuses others. Mostly it's a story of great grief and the human spirit's rebellion against evil, while keeping that which is most precious: A family's love.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Miami, FL, United States 07-26-12
    Elizabeth Miami, FL, United States 07-26-12 Member Since 2017
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    "Loved it!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    One of the best books I've read in a long time! Story is wonderful, narrator(s) are amazing. Great listen!


    What about Orlagh Cassidy and Bahni Turpin ’s performance did you like?

    The accents


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was horrified at times, laughed at times and cried.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn 07-25-12
    Carolyn 07-25-12

    Curious, searching avid reader.

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    "Interesting and compelling story"

    After a confusing beginning the story evolved into an interesting tale of a sad era in the history of our nation. This story tells of a time when women were denied equality and slavery of men and women was legal. Gratefully, the human race has made strides in righting these injustices. A bit long, but a compelling, if sad, story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Perry Carrison 07-24-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stereotypes Can Work"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This book was imagined by a woman who never knew the South. It shows. And the dramatic elements were disappointingly unimaginative. Yet, it was entertaining enough to propel me through a month of gym workouts. And I liked the main character -- an Irish orphan who is raised by slaves.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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