Books that are sequels but could stand alone can be a blessing or a curse. Secondary characters can become primary characters. Your favorite characters from the previous novel could all but disappear in the new sequel. I was torn while reading Glory Over Everything because the characters that I'd come to love were gone, yet I was intrigued to find out what was ahead for Jamie Pyke, the son Belle had in The Kitchen House. Readers will remember that he was a product of rape and that his white grandmother raised him in the big house. As such, he is able to pass and this new novel finds him doing just that in Philadelphia.
Passing is a risky endeavor. It requires that everyone sees you only as you present yourself, but all it takes is one person to really see you and learn your truth. Will they keep your secret or will they out you? Upon his arrival in Philadelphia, Jamie is taken in by Henry, a free man of color. They establish a good relationship, but Henry sees Jamie and knows that he is passing.
Jamie's new life in Philadelphia is going quite well. As an established blacksmith, he's a man of means and a man of means must have a wife. He's well on his way to becoming the man his grandmother meant for him to be but is sidetracked by a request from an old friend. When Henry's son, Pan, is kidnapped and sold into slavery, Jamie must return to the plantation he escaped from to save his friend's child.
While Jamie's story was interesting, I really wanted to know what was going on with the characters back at the Pyke plantation. Jamie's return to the area reunites us with Sukie and we find out what happened to the characters we loved and loved to hate, but I would have preferred to have them as the primary story line and Jamie's life in Philadelphia as the secondary.
It seems that white authors have just recently discovered passing and it feels icky in their hands. Though less problematic in Glory Over Everything than in the forthcoming novel, The Gilded Years, it still feels like their latest fascination with being black in America. Maybe I'm over thinking it, but it made this sequel just a little less enjoyable than the original.
Published: April 5, 2016
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.
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