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Publisher's Summary

Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.
In time Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master's opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.
Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Grissom's debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.
©2010 Kathleen Grissom (P)2017 Simon & Schuster
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By DBD on 11-16-17

A must read!

Wow… What an amazing story. I can't believe I missed this one. Not only was it an epic story, it was incredibly thought-provoking and heart wrenching. I kept thinking how in today's political climate these are the stories we must return to. These are the stories to remind us of atrocities in our all too recent history, and to remind us that a family is a family is a family. I especially loved the woman who narrated Belle's character, though I had a little harder time with the narration of Lavinia, and overall it didn't detract from the story. I cannot wait to read the follow up novel.

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By Gottalookgoodwhenyouwkout on 10-18-17

Captivating read!

This was a great book. . .well written, timely and very graphic, without being crude. The readers were exceptional. There were so many characters, at times I got overwhelmed, but the readers were authentic and their realistic voices helped me move forward with greater understanding. At times I was even brought to tears; the cruelty of people is surprising. I'm so glad I read this book. It's given me much deeper appreciation for people who struggled during the late 18th century. A must read for anyone who likes historical fiction at its best.

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