Glory over Everything by Kathleen Grissom
Published by Simon & Schuster
Published on April 5th 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction
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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.
We are so excited to be hosting a Guest Review from author MJ Abraham! Check out her review for Glory over Everything below, and if you’re interested in checking out her novels or poetry, go HERE to see her Goodreads page, or HERE to check out her author page Facebook!
As a fan of The Kitchen House there was no doubt that I wanted to get my hands on Glory over Everything, and I’m so happy to say that I was not disappointed. Kathleen Grissom has a great skill in producing historical fiction novels so eloquently, while portraying the authenticity of the subject matter so smoothly. Her pacing is just how I like it, and the effort in her research and time it took to build the characters is apparent in her work. Within 20% you’ve learned so much already and yet there’s still a lot of heartache and movement left to discover. While I personally didn’t find this book as intense as The Kitchen House it was certainly no less entertaining and heart felt.
Jamie Pyke’s story kicks off in this book as an adult named James Burton; a skilled silversmith. The author does a great job with the backstory of Tall Oaks without it feeling like information overload, but addressing what the essential turning points for the protagonist was. There’s also a few other points of views as well which really adds to the overall theme and setting of the characters and the struggle of being a black American in the early nineteenth century. You not only feel for the characters but you’re right there running along with them. The scenery plays out so vividly in my head and I often pause to look around and remind myself to get back to reality. Mrs. Grissom is THAT good.
The only tiny bit of damper in my experience is that while I adored so many of the new characters in Jamie’s story, I didn’t have as strong connection as I would have liked with Jamie himself. I understand that not every hero will be brave and take over the world but toward the end of the story I’m expecting some growth to be there and I felt like it took him way too long – saying out loud around 90% “Have you learned nothing?!” I also would have wanted to see more of the Underground Railroad but I understand we needed the buildup to that.
Bottom line: I still fell in love, I still wanted MORE and with so many characters you can’t help but daydream of how their life turned out… or, wait for a third book ;)
Although Glory over Everything can be read as a stand-alone, it really compliments The Kitchen house and I do recommend you read that one first as it is an excellent novel.
* A Review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.