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Island Queen Review

Island Queen

William Morrow

July 6, 2021

Historical Fiction


I’ll be honest, historical fiction is not a genre I typically read. Yet, there was something about this book’s cover and blurb that pulled me in and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

Mrs. Dorothy Kirwan Thomas is a fierce, loving, intuitive, courageous, and stubborn black woman. Overcoming many challenges from growing up in slavery, to buying her own and her family’s freedom, to building an empire, she never wavered in working towards providing a better life for her loved ones. Author Vanessa Riley shows her due diligence of her research to show these aspects of Dorothy’s life.

However, I was a little upset that there was more focus on Dorothy’s love interests rather than her business and family relationships. Now, this may be because there was not much documentation from Dorothy’s point of view given her lack of literacy. None the less, I was wanting to “feel” her struggles, her losses, and her gains and in my opinion I think this was lacking. Hence the four stars.

Given the triggers this book encompasses from rape, incest, abuse, racism, plus others associated with the time frame of 1746-1846 this was a compelling story to read. It shows how love, strength, courage, and family can overcome even the dire of circumstances. Mrs. Dorothy Kirwan Thomas is an inspiration to not only woman of color, but to all woman and I’m privileged that I had an opportunity to read about her.


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