To be honest, this isn't a full-blown review, but I just wanted to tell you all that this is a wonderful book I just finished that is now at the top of my “to recommend” list. The Kitchen House: A Novel, by Kathleen Grissom
A quick summary from the publisher:
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.
I really loved this book and used every spare minute I had to read it. The story is both moving and full of suspense. It's filled with interesting, detailed characters and really gives a window into the life on a plantation around the turn of the 19th century. I am hoping that it is picked up to be made into a movie – I would be there on opening day!