finished reading

I almost forgot to talk about this book. It's historical fiction, set in the 1790s into the early 1800s, in Virginia. The central figure, Lavinia, is an orphaned Irish girl who becomes an indentured servant living in the care of plantation slaves. It's a well-researched look at the harsh reality of plantation life.

There are a couple of slow patches, but overall I was drawn into Lavinia's story and rooted for her. Some of the secondary characters (mainly the Pyke family) are cliched. But overall it was good historical fiction. I'm interested to see how my book group reacts.

From the publisher:
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.

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