Jamie Pyke’s deadly secret keeps Jamie in fear and unable to face who he really is.
Running from his past and his identity, Jamie begins a new life in Pennsylvania as a 12 year old runaway from Twin Oaks Jamie has lived his whole life hating the life of the black man until he and the family slave Henry run away together and where they learn to trust each other and become more than good friends. This friendship develops that Jamie starts to face his own identity and understanding of the evils of slavery. It is this friendship he starts to face his own secret. With Henry’s prompting, he becomes an apprentice with a family owned silver shop. Henry knows that he needs to cut his ties to Jamie so that Jamie will find success and stability as Henry is always looking over his shoulder. The relationship with the shop owner and his wife becomes a point of stability for Jamie but he continues to live in fear of his secret being exposed. Henry comes back in Jamie’s life years later with his son Pan asking Jamie to pay the debt of saving his life and giving Pan a life as a free black man working for Jamie who now owns the silver shop.
The narration is told by Jamie and Pan as they come to terms with slavery and their own identity. The contrast of Jamie and Pan is what makes this a good historical fiction. Pan who accepts his identity and lives life a free little boy while Jamie as the son of black mother and a white slave owner lives his life in fear and bitterness. Jamie lived life as a coward while Pan lived life in bravery. I think I would have enjoyed this more if I could connect more to Jamie. He was winey and indecisive when you longed for a hero to sweep in take charge. There were attempts in the read for Jamie to redeem himself but it came across weak to me.
The historical aspect is always a good read in the evils of slavery and the oppression it caused. It causes the heart to cry for justice. So I was a little disappointed after reading the first one and the strong characters and the second one failing in that aspect. However, I would still recommend and would be happy to see another one follow up on Pan and the “babies”.
A Special Thank You to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.