Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Review: Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

A novel of family and long-buried secrets along the treacherous Underground Railroad. 

The author of the New York Times bestseller and beloved book club favorite The Kitchen House continues the story of Jamie Pyke, son of both a slave and master of Tall Oakes, whose deadly secret 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.

Kindle, 384 pages
 Published April 5th 2016
 by Simon & Schuster
ARC from publisher via netgalley

The synopsis above does a great job of explaining what this book is about.  Taking place 20 years after The Kitchen House ends, this one works as a stand along, though I recommend reading The Kitchen House because it is just that good.  It's one of those books that will stay with you long after you are finished.  Such is the case with Glory Over Everything.

Concentrating mostly on Jamie/James this book is told from the point of views of others as well, Pan, Sukey and Caroline.  This makes the book well rounded and allows the reader to connect and get to know the characters better.  How Jamie turned into James was an interesting and realistic process and one I enjoyed reading.

With vivid descriptions it wasn't hard to feel the emotion pulsing through this story.  From the slave trade, Underground Railway and society life in Philadelphia the author did a great job of portraying the time period in an authentic and believable manner. The dialogue was wonderful, especially Pan's - it just felt true to the time and character.

This was the type of book to be sat and savored, whether in one sitting or not.  It is highly emotional, dealing with a sensitive subject matter that draws on the heartstrings in a powerful way.  The author didn't mince words when it came to the treatment of slaves which makes this story all the more powerful and why it is having such an impact on readers. Glory Over Everything is a book that I highly recommend.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster via Netgalley for the opportunity to review this gem.


  1. Excellent review Margaret and I agree with you 100%. Such a amazing read and a great follow-up to The Kitchen House. Scenes from The Kitchen House came flooding back to me as I read. Loved reconnecting with those characters again.

  2. I read The Kitchen House with my book club and enjoyed it. Can't wait to find the time for this one!