GLORY OVER EVERYTHING - Kathleen Grissom
A Perfect 10
ISBN: 978-1-4767-4844-3, Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-4767-4845-0, Trade Paperback
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to North Carolina - 1830
Jamie Pyke carries a dark and dangerous secret. He is now James Burton, living as a white, wealthy aristocrat in Philadelphia. Twenty years ago he was a slave. Born to a white father and mulatto mother, Jamie killed his father and escaped to the North. He met a runaway slave named Henry, who quickly guessed why Jamie was hiding. Henry taught Jamie how to live on the run and advised him to change his name, get a job, and live as white. In the ensuing years James became a renowned artist and silversmith, took on the name of his benefactor, and subsequently inherited a successful business after Mr. Burton passed; and when Mrs. Burton passed, he inherited her cockatoo, Malcolm.
Henry has never once in all these years betrayed James's secret. A few years ago, Henry asked James to take in his son, Pan, after Henry's wife died. Now, Henry is once again at James's door. Pan has disappeared. In the last few years, Pan has become James's treasured house boy and student, as James has taught Pan to read and care for Malcolm. But Pan is enamored of James and his love of birds, and Henry fears the boy went to the shipyards and has likely been captured by slave traders. Henry begs James to find Pan. But James is afraid, this means going south to the Carolinas and exposing himself.
James uses an upcoming art excursion as an excuse to travel South, all the while he is nearly frozen with fear of discovery, and, to add to his worries, he has learned that his married lover, Caroline, is pregnant with his child! What if that child is born black?
GLORY OVER EVERYTHING continues the story that began in the previous novel, THE KITCHEN HOUSE (February 2010). We follow James on a treacherous journey through the Southern states as he follows what he hopes is Pan's trail. The chapters are told in the alternating first person voices of James and Pan; and in the later chapters we hear from a house slave named Sukey. (Sukey, from THE KITCHEN HOUSE, was sold away and subsequently stolen by slave traders and sent to the Carolinas where she works at the auction house where slaves are brought to be sold off.)
In time, James will find Pan, but can he smuggle him out of North Carolina and back to Philadelphia? Along the way he is helped by other slaves in the Underground Railroad, and the journey is fraught with danger and death. GLORY OVER EVERYTHING is A Perfect 10 novel, a sweeping story that takes us deep into the South amidst the danger in those early years of slavery.
I fully recommend the authors previous release THE KITCHEN HOUSE (2010), while
THE KITCHEN HOUSE and GLORY OVER EVERYTHING stand alone, and you don't need to read them, I wholly recommend that you do just that! THE KITCHEN HOUSE is a powerful beginning to GLORY OVER EVERYTHING and sets up much of the background for the Jamie/James story, with characters from THE KITCHEN HOUSE appearing in the pages of GLORY OVER EVERTHING. These are such powerful stories that it is difficult to sum them up quickly. They are complex, gritty, and the suspense is palpable. In total, the span of years spreads from 1791 to 1830. I can do no less than award A Perfect 10 to BOTH books, just by the sheer weight of masterful storytelling! In the excitement of receiving the books, I sat down with both in my lap, trying to decide if I should read the current release of GLORY OVER EVERYTHING or both novels. Once I opened up THE KITCHEN HOUSE, I kept reading right through GLORY OVER EVERYTHING—non-stop. I lost a weekend immersed in these books (I could not put them down!), and it was an enriching experience and a wonderful way to spend the time! To read the review of THE KICHEN HOUSE, click HERE.