Friday, May 6, 2016

Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Jaime Pyke has established himself as a successful silversmith in Philadelphia, but his world is about to come crashing down around him.  His servant Pan has gone missing, mostly likely taken by slavers on the docks and Pan’s father is begging Jaime to go get him back.  For Jaime this is a difficult request for although he looks white, his mother was a former slave and he knows that there could still be slavers hunting for him down south.  But how can he leave Pan to suffer as a slave?  On the other hand things are looking really bad for Jaime in Philadelphia right now; he has to get out of the city and fleeing south with purpose might be the best thing he could do.

Fans of the The Kitchen House will be thrilled to read about characters from that book again, but this novel works really well as a standalone.  I couldn’t really remember some characters, but that was fine, the author wrote as if they were new characters the reader was meeting for the first time. 

I’ve read a number of historical fiction books taking place during the time of slavery, but this was the first book I’ve read of the struggle of a person who could pass as white living under constant fear that his parentage would be revealed since his secret is know by a few people in the area.  The society of “free” Philadelphia wasn’t that kind to former slaves no matter the shade of their skin.

It’s an enlightening view of the times, especially how treacherous the lives of former slaves in free areas still were, and the workings of the Underground Railroad.