Customer Review

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Despite Flaws, July 31, 2011
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This review is from: The Kitchen House: A Novel (Paperback)
I have decided to rate this book on entertainment value. I listened to this book during commutes to and from work. For the first 2/3 of the book or so, I found myself riveted by the interesting angle of the plot; in the last 1/3, I had gotten into the soap opera-ish twists and turns.

It's funny how some have commented on the lack of mention of historical events of the time like the American Revolution. As though an 8-year old Irish immigrant and isolated slaves in Virginia had access to CNN. Exactly which part of the war would have affected them? Valley Forge? The Crossing of the Delaware? Bunker Hill? Just a hop, skip, and a jump from rural Virginia. Or perhaps they would have been reading about them in the newspaper that was delivered daily to their homes? (We all know how literate indentured servants and slaves were.)

Some of the characters were ones you've read about before or seen in movies. I wish they had been fleshed out a bit more, particularly Rankin, who mirrored every overseer I'd ever read about or seen in film. I would also like to have seen a white woman of the period who was not so delicate. Let's face it, many had to be tough to live through childbirth and the harshness of life during those days. Couldn't Lavinia have toughened up a bit over the years?

It's very true, and I noted this as I listened to the book, how much of the story was "told" not "shown". I didn't mind this much although I sort of felt that the end was rushed because of there being a bit too much summary.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed my commute for several days because I was engrossed in this story and would recommend the book to anyone based on the uniqueness of the the basic story line.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 12, 2013 6:19:45 PM PDT
Your review made me laugh outright. I loved it. I am only just an hour in on the audio version, but I am riveted. And I was a college English professor in my younger years. I do love good stories.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 12, 2013 9:37:49 PM PDT
Square Peg says:
Glad I could provide you with a chuckle. I majored in English but was only interested in writing. Give me a good story with fleshed out characters and some historical angles, and I'm happy (but please, no typos and glaring grammatical errors). All these years later, I still have no shame for using Monarch notes to get through Hamlet. You would've given me the stink eye as I stared blankly at you in a literature class, but you might have appreciated my ability to string a few sentences together.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 13, 2013 9:00:55 AM PDT
Actually, I would have loved to have had you as my student. (I am retired now.) And I'll bet that you could have come to enjoy Shakespeare, too, with the right teacher. That wouldn't have been me, though, as I was in American lit primarily. The right teacher can make all the difference. At Ohio State when I was working on my M.A., I had this amazing Anglo Saxon teacher who could make strong men weep when he read passages from Beowulf to us. I would then go home and try reading it for myself. I might have wept, too, but for totally different reasons! Again, thanks for the laugh. Pat
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