So you know what it feels like when a book grabs you on the first page? Or after the first paragraph? Or even after the first sentence? Yeah, that’s this book.
This is the story of Jamie Pyke, who was conceived after the master of a Virginia plantation raped one of his black slaves. But Jamie looks white and passes as white. His story begins in the predecessor to this book, “The Kitchen House,” where he is a minor character and small boy. Now it is 1830. He is grown and living in Philadelphia, having escaped Virginia at age 13 for committing a horrific crime on the plantation. He creates a wonderful life for himself in Philadelphia, but all of that is threatened when his racial secret is exposed to a few influential people. Just as this happens, he learns that Pan, a special child in his life, was captured on the docks of Philadelphia and sent south to be sold into slavery. And so Jamie faces his greatest terror and returns to the South to find and rescue Pan–where he could very well be captured and hung for the crime he committed 20 years ago.
Kathleen Grissom has written an enthralling story about the transforming power of love, the extraordinary bravery of some and the inhumane barbarism of others. It will make you laugh, and it will make you cry. Most of all, it will make you think as it brings to life through these brilliantly conceived characters this ugly piece of our American history.
I just hope there is a third book in this series that is not really a series.