*I received this book from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: Glory Over Everything
Author: Kathleen Grissom
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Synopsis from Goodreads:
This new, stand-alone novel opens in 1830, and Jamie, who fled from the Virginian plantation he once called home, is passing in Philadelphia society as a wealthy white silversmith. After many years of striving, Jamie has achieved acclaim and security, only to discover that his aristocratic lover Caroline is pregnant. Before he can reveal his real identity to her, he learns that his beloved servant Pan has been captured and sold into slavery in the South. Pan’s father, to whom Jamie owes a great debt, pleads for Jamie’s help, and Jamie agrees, knowing the journey will take him perilously close to Tall Oakes and the ruthless slave hunter who is still searching for him. Meanwhile, Caroline’s father learns and exposes Jamie’s secret, and Jamie loses his home, his business, and finally Caroline. Heartbroken and with nothing to lose, Jamie embarks on a trip to a North Carolina plantation where Pan is being held with a former Tall Oakes slave named Sukey, who is intent on getting Pan to the Underground Railroad. Soon the three of them are running through the Great Dismal Swamp, the notoriously deadly hiding place for escaped slaves. Though they have help from those in the Underground Railroad, not all of them will make it out alive.
I read The Kitchen House a few years ago and it’s always been once of those novels that was written in a clear voice with a compelling story that sticks with you well after you’ve finished the book. It’s one of those books that I’ve recommended to friends and family. Now, the stand-alone sequel Glory Over Everything follows Jamie Pyke, the young boy from The Kitchen House, now as an adult, hiding the secret of his heritage to try to live a safe life as a white man by denying who he really is. You don’t need to read Grissom’s previous novel to jump right into this new story. Grissom gives the reader enough of a background to give you all the context you need. But I definitely recommend reading both of these novels in sequence to get the most out of Jamie’s story.
Glory Over Everything is a heart-wrenching tale of Jamie, his adoption into the successful Burton family, his friendship with the ex-slave Henry who saved his life, and his pursuit of Henry’s son, stolen away by slavers. This book is jam packed with drama. Jamie forever lives at risk of discovery. His secret is threatened for years by the presence of the snooping kitchen maid, Delia, who’s jealousy for Jamie’s success brews a hatred in each of them.
This story is fraught with tension: will Jamie be discovered, will he be tracked down by the slavers that relentlessly pursued him after his first escape, will he be able to build a name and a life for himself, will he find success upon returning to the South? These questions plague both Jamie and the reader throughout the story. We hope for the best, but in such a precarious situation, loss and casualties cannot be avoided. Grissom does an excellent job of pulling the reader back into this worlds she’s constructed.
It’s a great book if you’re looking for a historical fiction. Grissom’s book begins a dialogue of race and history within the US. She touches on the Underground Railroad and the extent of this network across the US. I would have loved to see more of the inside workings of this connected group of people, but perhaps that’s a story best saved for another time. I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did!