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Kathleen Grissom's Glory Over Everything

GrissomThe Kitchen House was a surprise New York Times best seller in 2010. The novel tells the story of a young Irish girl, Lavinia, whose parents died during the family’s sea voyage to The United States. Taken in initially to work in <i>The Kitchen House</i> of a large tobacco farm in Virginia, Lavinia later becomes a servant in the main house. In time, the mistress of the house, Mrs. Pyke, treats Lavinia as a daughter. Unknown to many, another kitchen slave, Belle, is actually the daughter of Mr. Pyke. For all of us who wondered what happened to the characters after the novel ended, Glory Over Everything is the much awaited sequel. The books can be read in sequence, or as stand-alone novels.

Philadelphia, 1830. James Burton lives as a wealthy white silversmith. Born Jamie Pyke, he is Belle’s son. When he was a child, Jamie was taken in by the Burton family, and treated as their son. No one in town (especially not the Burtons) knows that Jamie was born on a southern plantation, and that he is the child of a mixed race servant who was forcibly impregnated by her white master.

Jamie, who passes as white, reluctantly returns to the south to retrieve Pan, his beloved servant and the young son of a black friend. Pan had been training as staff in Jamie’s house, and during an ill-advised trip to the docks, he was abducted by slavers and taken south. Jamie’s journey to find Pan takes him perilously near the area where he himself had lived as a slave, and he fears for his servant’s safety as well as his own.

The author writes about their journey, and she includes drama, intrigue, and romance, which give the saga added dimension. I especially enjoyed the information about the Underground Railroad, and wish that it was a bigger part of the book.

Glory Over Everything will appeal to lovers of historic fiction--particularly stories about the Underground Railroad--and to readers who enjoyed The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.

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