Kathleen Grissom’s eagerly anticipated sequel to The Kitchen House (2010), which portrayed the grim reality of life on a Virginia plantation, follows some of that novel’s characters to pre-Civil War Philadelphia. But it stands alone as its own compelling story as well.
Jamie Pyke, son of a slave and the master of Tall Oakes plantation, escaped at age 13 to Philadelphia. Jamie easily passed for white, and he has become a well-established society gentleman over the last decade. But when Henry, the slave who helped Jamie get to Philadelphia years earlier, asks him for a life-changing favor, Jamie must confront his past.
Glory Over Everything features an engaging cast of characters. These include Henry and his son, Pan, who reminds Jamie of himself as a child; Robert, a longtime butler who has his own dark history; Sukey, a slave from Tall Oakes who is now part of the Underground Railroad; Caroline, Jamie’s love interest; and Caroline’s parents, a bigoted couple who threaten to reveal Jamie’s multiracial heritage. Chapters are written in the voices of these characters, delving into the interwoven stories.
Grissom brings the 1830s to life, a time when slavery was still thriving, freed slaves lived in fear of recapture and abolitionists were becoming increasingly active. Like The Kitchen House, Glory Over Everything will appeal to readers who appreciate a thought-provoking historical drama, making it a good selection for book clubs as well.