Glory over Everything

Written by Kathleen Grissom
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

Jamie Pyke is a successful merchant in Philadelphia in 1830. Unbeknownst to members of local society, Jamie was born on a Southern plantation, the son of its master and a kitchen slave. Because he can pass as white, he is able to live an aristocratic life with house servants of his own. When his secret identity is threatened, he realizes he must leave the city. He decides to head south, promising to rescue Pan, the son of a black man who had helped him when he was a boy wandering the Philadelphia streets.

Pan befriends Sukey, a young black woman, who tries to help him escape from a plantation via the Underground Railroad before he is sold. Fortunately, they are able to meet up with Jamie to make their escape north together.

This is a sequel to The Kitchen House. Although I haven’t read the first book, I feel that Glory over Everything can be read on its own. There is enough backstory present to give the reader facts about the earlier lives of the characters. It is an exciting, stimulating read. The early part of the plot – the discovery of Pyke’s secrets – is suspenseful and gripping. The period is richly described, providing a fascinating glimpse of slavery in the South prior to the Civil War, the negative feelings about African Americans even in the North, the Underground Railroad, and the difficulties faced by escaped slaves. This novel could very well be one of my top 10 books read this year.