the kitchen mistress

the kitchen mistress

by kathleen shoop

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Overview

the kitchen mistress by kathleen shoop

THE KITCHEN MISTRESS--Katherine's Story--The Letter Series--Book 3

For every woman who's had to choose between the secrets that protect her and the people she loves the most...

1892--Des Moines

Katherine Arthur and her family are back and it's time to collect the money Mrs. Mellet left them in her will. The tidy sum will allow the family peace of mind and a future that's stable and fulfilling. But when things don't go exactly as planned, Katherine steps up to do more than her share. Hired as a kitchen mistress, her intuition (with the help of a mysterious recipe book), cooking prowess, and work ethic make her the perfect partner for the enigmatic, wealthy woman next door. Then Aleksey Zurchenko arrives.

Violet Pendergrass is a well-heeled, progressive woman with half a fortune in one hand and a plan for enduring prosperity in the other. Resourceful, shrewd, and tough, Violet doesn't realize her one and only weakness leaves her vulnerable as she attempts to solidify her independence. She sees unparalleled value in Katherine's gifts and does her best to keep the girl close, to keep her true work secret from her mother and the world.

Katherine's loyalties to her mother and Violet grow strained and soon her commitment to both frays even further as her feelings for Aleksey grow. Katherine must decide if pursuing her work with the formidable Violet and protecting her family are more important than following love. Can she do it all? Love, hope, joy, secrets buried in walls and hearts; all are threatened by those who claim to care about the Arthurs. Can Katherine separate what's right and true from what it takes to survive? Are they even different things?

Product Details

BN ID: 2940158848919
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 08/14/2017
Series: The Letter Series , #3
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 725
Sales rank: 111,449
File size: 848 KB

About the Author

Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance. Shoop’s novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Readers’ Favorite and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. Kathleen coordinates Mindful Writing Retreats and is a regular presenter at conferences for writers.

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the kitchen mistress 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
libriamorimiei More than 1 year ago
It was a great read, very realistic with a special atmosphere, suspense and mystery, hope and despair. Katherine's family receives a legacy from Mrs. Mellet that allows them to return to their hometown who had left with debt and shame. But she is not quiet, the ghost of their benefactor is appeared to her and she doesn't perceive anything good. She will be right, her family will be subjected again to harsh trials. Katherine is a great character, a strong woman willing to sacrifice her life to protect her family. The descriptions are very impressive and detailed that it seems to have made a travel through time and lived in Iowa in the late 19th and in early 20th century. Great choice is the narration in the first person alternating the point of view of the protagonists. Although it is a very long book the storytelling is so addictive that flows away quickly. It's the third book of the series, it can be read as standalone but I recommend reading the series in order to better understand the story. I recommend this book very much!
wifetoalineman02 More than 1 year ago
Life is about survival I loved reading Ms. Kathleen Shoop's book. The Kitchen Mistress is another fantastic read from her. If you love reading historical romance, her books are delightful to read. I have never been to Des Moines, Iowa but maybe someday. Reading this book gives you perspective how life back then with Katherine and her family. It makes you think how blessed we are with our life. Life is about survival. The Kitchen Mistress is a very long book. The longest book I ever read as a bookworm so far. I enjoyed every chapters of this book. Life is too short to focus on your happiness. Katherine has no choice but to do the best to saved her family. She is one unselfish girl to let go of her own happiness but to help the family survives. I am sure many women and perhaps men will do that in real life as well. This book has the betrayal, hope and most of all the will to survive to help your family. Sometimes heart does not matter and being unselfish will makes you better as a person. I would do the same just like Katherine. This girl is beyond unbelievable and she is my favorite character of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this series!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My husband was from Eastern Iowa and so much of the historical part of this book was truly love as Iowans know it. It was not an easy book to put down.
ebookaddictsuk More than 1 year ago
This is book 3 in The Letter Series, by Kathleen Shoop and boy do I wish I had read the previous ones! There has obviously been a lot happening to Katherine and her family - and though it touched on and mentioned it, I really want to go back and read how it all came about, and understand it better. In the Kitchen Mistress, Katherine is reunited with her mother, brother and sister back in their old hometown of Des Moines. It is clear that the family have fallen down the financial ladder and now they are desperate to get settled and start rebuilding their lives together. They are forced to go looking for rooms to rent after being left homeless and penniless after yet another blow to them comes their way, after several knock backs due the owners knowing the families past they eventually find room and board with Miss Violet Pendergrass. She takes them all in and gives them jobs around the house with Katherine becoming the kitchen mistress whilst her mother Jeanie tending to the gardens. I have to admit I didn't really like Violet, something was a little off with her and the more got engrossed with the story the more I disliked her. I felt she began to take advantage of Katherine, and poor Katherine not wanting her family to be homeless felt obliged to carry out Miss Violets wishes.  I will be honest I am not one to read a lot of historical fiction, but Shoop really sucked me in to this era and I got so caught up with the story I forgot I was reading a book set in the late 1800's I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.
MikiHope More than 1 year ago
This is an emotionally fraught novel which will leave you wondering what happens next. This is Katherine Arthur's life after being finally reunited with her family. She is bound and determined to get them on their feet again and takes a job in the kitchen of a wealthy lady. This woman, Violet Pendergrass, had a rough childhood and does not take it against Katherine's Mom that she is a divorcee--a big no no in this time period. She allows them to live in the cottage next door to her home. Instead of paying rent--they work for her. Katherine is relegated to the kitchen and cooking meals etc. Violet, an enterprising woman for her time to say the least, realizes that Katherine has a special gift and proceeds to take full advantage of it. Even though Katherine has been through a lot in her years she does not realize that Violet is not the kindly woman she believes her to be. When Aleksey Zurchenko, an old friend, comes on the scene things start to come together, and love begins to bloom. All I can say is--have the tissues ready--especially at the end! I'm pretty sure this saga will continue--it better--I want to know if they are able to get Katherine's young sister out of the asylum. I also want to know what happens to Violet, as well as what ultimately happens between Katherine and Aleksey! Although this can be read as a stand alone--I highly suggest you read the first books in this series!!
dewer421 More than 1 year ago
First off, I love historical fiction but struggle to find authors who can truly transport me into history. Kathleen Shoop can take me through time and space! Katherine's family was on the verge of total destruction. They'd lost their wealth and their family name, were separated and had horrible experiences, and were struggling to make it from day to day. When their last chance falls through they luck into a housing situation that will keep them together for the first time in years. But as Katherine's life begins to turn around everything starts to fall apart. The boy she taught to read is back in her life and studying to be a lawyer. The boss who saved her is asking too much of her. The mother who couldn't keep the family together is being betrayed by Katherine's actions. Can they survive the changes and come out unscathed? Or will their relationships and lives be forever changed? I received this book through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.
Cowgirl2Fireman More than 1 year ago
An intriguing and mysterious book of survival! The Kitchen Mistress is a well-written story of unfortunate life changing events, survival and pride. We get to see Katherine and Aleksey grow in their feelings for each other and get through conflict and feelings of betrayal. Through all the hardships Katherine has endured, she keeps her family in the forefront and wants to do what is best for them and protect them. The story kept me guessing and intrigued with the many different twists, turns, and secrets that were throughout. I felt that the story moved a little slow in many parts. Although there are many different things going on in the book, I did feel that the ending should have been drawn out in a few more chapters to get answers to some unanswered questions. It is a long book but it is well worth reading. I am interested in the first books in this series. I think they will feel in some of the missing pieces. I have read several books by Kathleen Shoop and will definitely read more. I was not disappointed at all. I recommend The Kitchen Mistress to anyone that enjoys reading a fiction story that is different and will keep you guessing.
BookwormNM More than 1 year ago
This was my second Kathleen Shoop book and she easily pulled me in again with her characters and their story. You will not notice the large size of the book, in fact, I was looking for more, not wanting the story to end. It is a great story set in Des Moines, Iowa back in the day. I lived in Des Moines for a short while so I loved reading about it, recalling street names and imagining how it would have been back in the day. I really enjoyed this book and felt like I was there. Shoop is a fantastic storyteller!
JulieGB More than 1 year ago
Although this is book three in The Letter Series, it entails the continuing story of Jeanie Arthur and her three children, not long after they are reunited. The family has gone through so much in the past few years, but none are ready to share the past they each survived while apart. Things start looking up for the family after they gain room and board with Miss Violet Pendergrass, an independent businesswoman, who takes Katherine under her wing. But as Katherine’s gift of being able to see the dead gets stronger, it creates problems between her and Jeanie. It’s a sign of a great writer when their story can evoke so many emotions in you for the characters they have created. I can’t describe everything I felt while reading this, but fear and anger were forefront to them. Fear for the family, and anger at the rampant greed going on against them. This series is a must read. It is a heartfelt story of a family during unfortunate times, doing whatever it takes to survive, while keeping their dignity through it all.
ReadersFavorite4 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite Kathleen Shoop’s The Kitchen Mistress is the third entry in The Letter Series, a historical novel featuring well-crafted characters that reflect historical personages. It is 1892 and Katherine Arthur and her family are relying on what is left for them in Mrs. Mellet’s will to survive, but then things do not turn out as anticipated. Now, Katherine makes a very difficult choice, sacrificing her personal dreams to secure the well being of her family. She accepts a job as a kitchen mistress to the shrewd, rich, and cunning Violet Pendergrass. Her boss values her services and her exceptional skills in the kitchen, but then Aleksey Zurchenko arrives and things change. Katherine begins to feel an irresistible attraction for the handsome man and it is not long before she is faced with the moment of truth. Will she continue to work to ensure security for her family and loyalty to Violet, or will she find freedom by following her heart’s desire? The Kitchen Mistress is a book in which the heart of a woman is skillfully explored, laid bare for the reader to see its complexities, its grandeur, and its pains. The characters are well developed, and while Katherine exudes a wonderful finesse and inner beauty, Violet comes across as overly ambitious, domineering, and manipulative. The setting is vividly impressed upon the reader’s mind, thanks to Kathleen Shoop's wonderful prose. The plot starts slowly and moves faster as the conflict escalates. The story is woven with great emotional intensity and readers are on board for an exciting journey with a satisfying end.
ReadersFavorite3 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite The Kitchen Mistress by Kathleen Shoop is the third entry in The Letter Series, a compelling historical novel with great characters and a wonderful setting. Katherine Arthur and her family believe that what Mrs. Mellet left them in her will could help them survive an unpredictable future, but they couldn’t be more wrong. To help her family cope, Katherine accepts an offer to work as the kitchen mistress for the smart, shrewd and successful lady next door, Violet Pendergrass. But things change when Aleksey Zurchenko arrives and Katherine starts developing feelings for him. A time comes when she has to choose between protecting her family and pursuing her heart’s desire. This is a story of family and romance, and a woman’s deep desire for freedom. Told in an absorbing first person narrative, The Kitchen Mistress is a beguiling story, with characters that feel so real the reader could almost believe they walk the same road with them. What immediately caught my attention when I started reading this book was Kathleen Shoop’s masterful use of the stream of consciousness, a style that allows readers to get into the psyche and the inner conflict of the characters. The author explores family drama in an impeccable way, unveiling the simple things that create the dynamics of many families. The protagonist has a complex world to navigate and it is interesting to see how she deals with her secrets, faces the challenges of her relationships and her work, and how she connects to herself. The Kitchen Mistress is delicately written, with a beautifully imagined plot, great prose, and memorable characters. I was seduced by the expert writing and could not stop reading until the last page.
ReadersFavorite2 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite The Kitchen Mistress by Kathleen Shoop is the third book in The Letter Series, a riveting story that explores one woman’s dilemma; it is emotionally charged and packed with psychological insights. Katherine Arthur is employed as a kitchen mistress to her neighbor, a job she takes to pull her family out from difficulties. Her employer, Violet Pendergrass, is a successful lady who also has her plans for the future and her plans could include Katherine. She loves Katherine’s cooking skills. Everything is going well until Aleksey Zurchenko arrives. Katherine’s attraction for Aleksey grows stronger and the moment comes when she has to choose between providing for her family and her loyalty to Violet, and following her heart. Can she dare to choose love over everything she’s valued until now? The Kitchen Mistress is a beautiful story beautifully told. Kathleen Shoop comes across as a master storyteller with a great gift for the first person narrative, a voice she harnesses so well to create a dramatic effect on readers. The prose is excellent and it features compelling and emotionally insightful passages. The descriptions are vivid, and they capture the setting as well as the characters in a brilliant way. One of the things I enjoyed about Shoop’s writing is her mastery of the conflict. It is introduced very early in the narrative and it escalates pretty fast. I read the story nonstop, waiting eagerly for the satisfying denouement. This is a novel for readers who are looking for a densely plotted story with great characters.
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite Oh, what an emotional ride The Kitchen Mistress: The Letter Series Book 3 by Kathleen Shoop has been! Katherine, the protagonist, loves her family more than anything in the world. She wants to help her mother, Jeanie Arthur, in every possible manner. Katherine has a twin brother, Tommy, and a younger sister, Yale. She had one more brother, James, but he died in a storm. However, Katherine sees James every now and then. In fact, James is not the only dead person whom she can see. She has a gift that allows her to see souls and angels. She tried to tell her mother about this gift, but Jeanie never encouraged her talent. She always pushes Katherine to focus on completing her education and getting a job. When Katherine was very young, her family had everything. But certain circumstances made them lose it all. This tragedy changed the Arthur family entirely. Katherine and Tommy had to move away from their whole family and each other for quite a few years. Fortunately, they found their way back to one another. Those years of separation were very tough on Katherine; therefore, she decided to do everything in her power to keep her family together forever. Since Jeanie's husband had left her long ago, many residents are reluctant to allow her family to stay in their home as a tenant. Thankfully, a businesswoman, Violet Pendergrass, allows them to stay at the property behind her house as long as they take care of her kitchen, tend her garden, obey her commands, and keep the baby (Yale) out of her sight. Glad to have found a shelter, the Arthurs agree to all her terms. Katherine's culinary skills helped her win the title of "the kitchen mistress" from Violet. Things were looking up until Violet found out about Katherine's special talent. The ladies of The Kitchen Mistress: The Letter Series Book 3 by Kathleen Shoop are wise, strong, self-sufficient, and compassionate. Jeanie's patience, kindness, confidence, and tenderness have been a real treat for me as a reader. She works hard to provide for her family. She does not look for a man to give it all to her for free; instead, she works tirelessly for it. She encourages her children to get an education and make a good life for themselves. Violet, to me, seemed a very mysterious character. Up until the last page, I could not form a solid opinion about her. The author has very cleverly written her character. My favorite character is definitely Katherine. She never stops believing in herself -- even when half the time she was unsure if the person in front of her eyes was alive or dead. The author has done a praiseworthy job of narrating a fiction story that is filled with deep emotions, strong characters, engaging dialogues, and a wonderful plot. The pace of the story is just right. It is a long read but I, as a reader, found myself interested in gathering every pearl of wisdom and/or entertainment that the story had to offer me. Although it is not a horror story, the sudden appearances of the dead people gave me chills. I get scared easily so other readers might not feel the goosebumps. This is a story of loving your family, keeping your head held high, walking forward, and believing in yourself. After singing so many praises, it is just a formality to say that I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Teresa Syms for Readers' Favorite The Kitchen Mistress, The Letter Series Book Three by Kathleen Shoop is a compelling historical fiction story set in Des Moines in 1892. The main heroine of the story, Katherine Arthur, has experienced severe hardships in her young life as her parents lose their family fortune and status in society, and then divorce after the death of their eldest son. Mrs. Arthur is forced to send her two older children off as indentured workers, causing the separation of the family for four years. During these difficult years, Katherine is molested and abused by one family she works for. She is portrayed as “the devil” because she mentioned seeing angels. For weeks, she is imprisoned in a cellar, awaiting an exorcism. Katherine manages to escape her tormentors, and is reunited with her mother, brother and little sister. She begins working as the kitchen mistress for the independently wealthy entrepreneur, Violet Pendergrass. Katherine believes everything she does for Miss Pendergrass will edge her one step closer to helping her Mama buy a little cottage for her family, when what is truly happening behind the pink and green painted mansion is not as forthright as Miss Pendergrass would have Katherine and the citizens of Des Moines believe. Kathleen Shoop’s book, The Kitchen Mistress, The Letter Series, is a long read but one filled with good story content and character development. The storyline is well developed and the reader may find this useful as the story builds and characters grow and develop. It was fascinating to have angel visitations described so lovingly and beautifully by the author. As each character is described and cultivated, the reader can visualize the height, build and facial features, along with personality and temperament. This was an intriguing book. I was transported back in time to Des Moines of 1892 as we follow the Arthur family, Violet Pendergrass and Aleksey Zurchenko. The intertwining of the characters, the societal classes at the time and the many caring and loving spirit guides and angels gave the story great depth and intrigue. I enjoyed the mystery behind the investment and the secretiveness of Miss Pendergrass and her business. She develops each girl’s talents to best suit her business, her clientele, and strategically lays plans for her future.