Tag Archives: Dominica

The Buzz in On: Vanessa Riley’s new sweeping historical novel, ‘Island Queen’, is already being called One of the Best of 2012

We hear it’s  one of the most anticipated publications of 2021.

Whisk away to the Islands of the West Indies and meet one of the most incredible women of colonial times—Dorothy Kirwin Thomas, a free woman of color who rose from slavery to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful landowners in the colonial West Indies. Island Queen (William Morrow, $27.99) is celebrated author Vanessa Riley’s remarkable, sweeping historical novel based on Thomas’ incredible true-life story; no wonder the buzz is buzzing that the tome is sure to be one of the most talked about books of Summer 2021. (Save the date: The book hits shelves on July 6, 2021.)

Born into slavery on the tiny Caribbean island of Monserrat, Dorothy [nicknamed “Doll’] bought her freedom—and that of her sister and her mother—from her Irish planter father and built a legacy of wealth and power as an entrepreneur, merchant, hotelier, and planter that extended from the marketplaces and sugar plantations of Dominica and Barbados to a glittering luxury hotel in Demerara on the South American continent.

Riley’s novel brings Doll to vivid life as she rises above the harsh realities of slavery and colonialism by working the system and leveraging the competing attentions of the men in her life: a restless shipping merchant, Joseph Thomas; a wealthy planter hiding a secret, John Coseveldt Cells; and a roguish naval captain who will later become King William IV of England.

From the bustling port cities of the West Indies to the forbidding drawing rooms of London’s elite, Island Queen is a sweeping epic of an adventurer and a survivor who answered to no one but herself as she rose to power and autonomy against all odds, defying rigid eighteenth-century morality and the oppression of women as well as people of color. It is an unforgettable portrait of a true larger-than-life woman who made her mark on history.