Following up on The Kitchen House, I’ve got Kathleen Grissom’s new stand alone novel that brings back some of those favorite characters, and introduces some new ones. Please read on for my audiobook review of
Glory Over Everything
“I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person now I was free. There was such a glory over everything.
The sun came up like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in heaven.”
A tale that brought to me, the tension and heartfelt awe of the children in The King and I when The Small House of Uncle Thomas was performed. Predating the American Civil War by over a quarter-century, the story is one of contrasts: perception and reality, slavery and freedom, hope and despair, and done with a sense that brings everything into focus despite the oppositional elements.
James Burton is living a lie: a light skinned black man, thriving and succeeding as a silversmith in Philadelphia, far from the reality of his early life as the son of both a slave and a master. His journey to Burton from the young runaway slave Jamie Pike is a tale shared early in the story, giving dimension and background to listeners, providing a perspective of life viewed through his unique eyes. When his lover reveals her pregnancy, he must reveal his true identity but that revelation is waylaid when his beloved servant, Pan, is taken by bounty hunters and sold into slavery. A runaway slave himself, Burton knows that he is endangering himself by proximity to his former home, but a debt to Pan’s father must be paid.
Throughout the story, these revelations are brought forward as we meet several characters both free and enslaved that share hopes and dreams, and Burton’s secret comes ever closer to the surface. With the advent of Sukey and her determination to be free, and to see Pan returned to freedom, with her own hopes to find that glorious state. Moments on the Underground Railroad, hiding in swampland, ever vigilant and watchful, and new moments that test and try everyone’s mettle, the story is gripping and engrossing, and fully emotional.
Narration for this story was provided by Santino Fontana, Heather Alicia Simms, Madeleine Maby and Kyle Beltran. I’m not normally a fan of multiple narrators, but these four managed to present the story in a way that felt coherent, with conversations flowing naturally, reminiscences presented with a near lyrical storytelling flow, and never were moments over-played or overacted. You won’t go wrong with either the narrated or traditionally read version of this book- but be prepared: the desire for freedom did not come without its heartache or tears.
Overall: 5 Narration: 4 Story: 5
Title: Glory over Everything: Beyond The Kitchen House
Author: Kathleen Grissom
Genre: Literary Fiction, Literary Fiction /Historical Setting
Narrator: Heather Alicia Simms, Kyle Beltran, Madeleine Maby, Santino Fontana
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Published on: 5 April 2016
Source: Simon and Schuster Audio
Audio Length: 12 Hours: 5 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
From the author of the New York Times bestseller and beloved book club favorite The Kitchen House, a novel of family and long-buried secrets along the treacherous Underground Railroad.
Jamie Pyke, son of both a slave and master of Tall Oakes, has a deadly secret that 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.
A copy of this title was provided via Simon and Schuster Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.