I am totally drained after finishing this fabulous fabulous book. It touched my heart and my soul and my conscience. It is so heartbreaking that I cried at the end of each chapter. It is Gone With The Wind and The Help and much much more all tied up nicely in a most beautiful way. I don't even know now if I am capable of letting go of this book...I literally just finished it and I feel exhausted. It is the South and the horrible parts of the early 1800's. It is women and men who are treated lovingly and intimately within these plantation families and after years and years of the most intertwined family service meeting with brutal punishment for the most trivial of disobediences. I can feel the tears now...it is such a masterful story. The author's reasons for writing this book are almost as compelling as the book itself and the reasons of course are based on fact. I absolutely hate telling the story of the book within a review...but I will say that it is based on the true story of an educated Irish family who was trying to come to this country. Unfortunately the parents died during the voyage. The only one who survived was the littlest daughter and The Kitchen House is her story. The captain of the ship took her home to the South with him to be an endentured servant and her life becomes intertwined with the many slaves that the sea captain owned. You have to steel yourself for the harshness of this story and usually I shy away from this sort of tale but within the reality of the harsh lives led by these people there was magic and happiness and love. This is a thought provoking book and I loved every word in it...I began reading yesterday and finished it this morning at noon...I guess it was my own little readathon...This book simply cannot be overlooked. It is very powerful.