Gillam Hale was born to free parents, and his life was untouched by slavery until his preacher father took him on a trip to minister to the Virginia slaves. Gillam wants beautiful Queen Esther from the moment he sees her, but the only way to purchase her is by distilling illicit whiskey--against his family's advice.
Though Gillam achieves his aim, his talent for making fine whiskey earns the wrath of jealous white neighbors, who kidnap Gillam's family and scatter them to plantations throughout the South. Gillam escapes from his new owners, yet he can never be truly free until he finds his lost loved ones, and faces the legacy of his own rash decisions.
The Knees of Gullah Island follows Gillam, Queen Esther and their son, Joseph, in the years surrounding the Civil War and Reconstruction, when the destiny of a nation hung in the balance. Filled with richly drawn characters and details that bring the past to vibrant life, this is a timeless story of love, loss, hope and rebirth.