The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
This was a fan favorite among readers. The novel gives two different perspectives of slavery; one of a black slave and one of a white indentured servant. In addition, the women in the novel were slaves to their husbands. This mixture provided readers with different outlooks to the idea of slavery. The slaves had a real sense of family, as opposed to the white land owners. The white women were not as mentally strong as the black women in the novel, mainly because the black women has a stronger support system for each other.
The topic of isolation within the novel carried through many characters--Marshall, Miss Martha--both who were considered upper class and owned slaves, as well as Lavinia, an indentured servant, and Belle, a black slave.
The hierarchy among the slaves was a topic of discussion. There were field slaves, who worked endlessly and tirelessly on the crops. Then there were the house slaves who were treated more kindly and almost like family.
Marshall was an interesting character who was discussed at length. Due to being violently abused by his tutor, as well as the ranch manager Rankin, Marshall became an evil and cruel man. While growing up he is not only abused, but he lacks a father figure because his father is gone all the time. His mother really has no interest in him, and he ends up being responsible for his sister's death. All of these mold him into the man who marries Lavinia, the indentured servant. He ends up treating her horribly, mainly because of his own abuse as a child, and she ends up living the same life as Marshall's mother--alone and addicted to opiates. In the end, Lavinia's life as an indentured servant was far better than her life as a free, married woman.