This book was like a train wreck you could not look away from.
The Kitchen House is told through the voices of two very different characters: Belle and Lavinia.
The main voice is Lavinia’s, though Belle pops in every now and again to show a much-needed perspective. Lavinia is an innocent child and takes everything around her at face value, unable to see the dangers around her. Orphaned on her way to America, she is sent to work at a plantation in Virginia. She lives in the Kitchen House with Belle and grows to love her slave family.
Blond with blue eyes, Lavinia cannot stay in the Kitchen House for long, and is forced into a different life: an engagement she does not want, a husband emotionally injured beyond repair.
You keep reading, hoping things will improve, but they just don’t. Ever. Just when it cannot get worse, it does.
I appreciate that the author included a note in the back of the book about how the book was written. She did not write an emotionally wrenching novel purposefully — she was merely a voice for a muse that had a story to tell.
And what a story.