4 out of 5 books
Prior to reading Island Queen, I was already a Vanessa Riley fan. To say I love historical fiction would be an understatement. I have read other books by her, and think this is her best work yet! Not only was I riveted, (I’m talking stuck in the book and burn your dinner riveted), but I also learned about Dorothy Kirwan Thomas, “Dolly or Doll” to those who knew her.
This book is based on Ms. Thomas, a very courageous and strong black woman, who grew up in slavery. She not only bought her freedom, but her family’s as well. Then went on to not only build an empire, she provided a better life for her family.
Although I felt the book was a good read, I wish that Ms. Riley had given us a bit more focus on her familial and business relationships, rather than those of the failed love interests. However, I was still enthralled with the book, which takes place in the 18th century colonial Caribbean, and especially loved learning about Ms. Thomas, who was from the West Indies, as is my family. I’d never heard about her prior to reading this, so I’m glad that I learned something new.
I would recommend this to anyone who loves historical fiction, loves to read, and loves to learn. I’d have to say, well done, Ms. Riley, well done.
Reviewed by Kiera J. Northington