A novel of family and long-buried secrets along the treacherous Underground Railroad.
The author of the New York Times bestseller and beloved book club favorite The Kitchen House continues the story of Jamie Pyke, son of both a slave and master of Tall Oakes, whose deadly secret compels him to take a treacherous journey through the Underground Railroad.
Published in 2010, The Kitchen House became a grassroots bestseller. Fans connected so deeply to the book’s characters that the author, Kathleen Grissom, found herself being asked over and over “what happens next?” The wait is finally over.
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.
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: April 5th 2016 by Simon & Schuster
Genre: Historical Fiction
** I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**
You know that feeling you get when you finish a book and there are just no words to describe how thoroughly you enjoyed it? Glory Over Everything was easily that book for me. It is probably safe to say that it is my favourite read of 2016 thus far. I did have the pleasure of reading The Kitchen House first but Glory Over Everything can be read as a stand alone. Having said that, I personally think that there is great value in reading The Kitchen House first simply because it was also an incredible book.
Glory Over Everything continues the story beyond The Kitchen House. It is the story of James Burton or Jamie Pyke as we knew him in The Kitchen House. James/Jamie was the child of a white man and his slave who was raised by his grandmother to believe she was his mother and that he was white. Glory Over Everything tells the horrific tale of what happened when his world fell apart and his incredible journey to overcome a lifetime of adversity, fear and inequality during one of the most shameful and difficult times in our history.
There were multiple voices in this book that interconnect and weave back and forth through time to tell the greater story. Although James Burton was heard from most frequently, many other voices including Sukey who was also know from The Kitchen House were narrated as well. Through all of the voices I was able to get a clear picture of what it was like during that time frame and what it was like to be a slave or a person of colour. Portions of the book were difficult to read and it was definitely emotional. There is no denying that it was certainly an ugly time in history and although a work of fiction it still tore me apart to read about it.
It was certainly easy to fall in love with many of the characters in this book. I was definitely a huge fan of Pan, Sukey and Robert to name just a few. For every villain there seemed to be a hero both big and small and although it was such a tragic and sensitive time, there were a few shining lights to be found. Some of the heroes had only small parts in the book but their actions were far larger than the book could encompass. I had many mixed emotions when it came to James. His character was not cut and dry. I loved him in some moments and hated him in others. His story was complex and difficult and my emotions definitely mirrored that.
As a huge fan of historical fiction, I found it difficult to put this book down. In fact, when life got in the way of my reading it was extremely frustrating. Grissom has a way of putting words on paper that capture you and I was more than captivated. Although it was an extremely complex time in history, she penned it in such a way that readers could easily understand what she was trying to convey.
This book is a book that needs to be read to be totally appreciated. I can't do it justice or properly describe the emotions I felt while engrossed in it. I would say that it was a beautiful book but I feel that is inappropriate because the subject matter was anything but. I will say that I felt just about every emotion possible while reading it and I felt them deeply. This is the sign of a really great book in my view. Glory Over Everything will stick with me for a very long time and it will definitely be going down in the books as a favourite of mine. Loved it!
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