The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
Lavinia is a young girl crossing the Atlantic with her family from Ireland in 1791. During the sea voyage both her parents die and she is sold as an indentured servant to a wealthy plantation owner in Virginia. She is sent to work in the kitchen house with the slaves who tend to the big house. There Lavinia makes lifelong friendships but her role changes when she returns after a short absence away as the new lady of the house.
Told from Lavinia’s point of view as well as Belle’s (the daughter of the plantation owner and a former slave) these two perspectives tell a heartbreaking story of misunderstandings and betrayals. It is fascinating to see slavery and role of women of all races and classes during this time on plantations. Romanticized versions of antebellum life are definitely smashed by the harsh realism presented here. Fans of historical fiction should not miss this one.