“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.
“…you can’t carry nobody’s hurt. Hard enough to carry your own.”
I absolutely loved reading this book. I loved how simple the writing is and how the story seamlessly flows. For me, the book works excellently as a stand-alone, even though it is a sequel of sorts. A very moving and enlightening story of survival, fear, fight, faith, loyalty, and the courage serve, to put others before self.
I do not sympathize with racism, but I understand now that it is not something that can be snuffed out at the snap of two fingers. It takes people who are bold enough to look outside the comforts of their own beliefs, or as it is in Jamie Pyke’s case, someone who somehow finds himself on the receiving end of the bad treatment, to change things.
Many of the characters became dear to my heart: Jamie, Sukey, Henry, Addy, Pan, Robert…I hope to read about them all in another book.
Rating: 4 Stars
*I got an advanced reader’s galley from the publisher via Netgalley, in return for an honest review