Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House (2016) by Kathleen Grissom is the long-awaited sequel to her 2010 debut, The Kitchen House. I loved the original (read my review here), and am so happy that she continued the story!
Grissom continues to demonstrate a fantastic ability to write characters that you connect with immediately, which was one of the things I was so impressed by in her first book. And in this case specifically, she took a character (James) who was not particularly likeable in The Kitchen House as a child, and gave him such depth that you couldn't help but feel for him in this book. Even though he was anything but perfect, his actions were so understandable and... human... that even if you saw the mistake and its inevitable consequences coming, you get why he did what he did.
Some of the other characters were slightly less understandable -- namely Pan, who made such a wilful, obvious mistake that it was hard to do anything but shake your head at him. But still, he was such an endearing, sincere kid that you felt for him and desperately wanted him to be safe.
And Robert, James's resourceful and unflaggingly loyal butler, was the true hero of the story, swooping in and out with just the right word and idea at key points. I loved his composure and grace, though I liked to imagine that there was a good bit of snark behind that stoic exterior.
This was such a wonderful story, I'm sure this review won't do it justice. Though it started off in a little bit of a disjointed manner, the flashbacks come fairly early on in the book and really provide a complete picture. It was a thrilling page-turner, a heart-pounding look into the Underground Railroad, filled with characters I was truly invested in. You could certainly read it as a stand-alone without much confusion, but I would urge you to read both together -- they are truly worth it! Hopefully the story will continue within the next six years (hint, hint Kathleen...).
Keep reading! Beth