Join us for a special virtual launch event with Vanessa Riley on July 15th at 7:30PM! She will be discussing her new novel, Island Queen, in conversation with Beatriz Williams, moderated by Maureen Lenker from Entertainment Weekly Magazine. In Island Queen, Riley reimagines the true-life story of Dorothy Kirwan Thomas, a free woman of color who rose from slavery to become a powerful landowner in the colonial West Indies.
For this exclusive launch event, we are pleased to partner with Loyalty Bookstore, Penguin Bookshop, Round About Books, Novel Neighbor, and Barbara's Bookstore. Ticket price is the cost of the book with free shipping to your home! The CrowdCast viewing link and password will be sent to your email upon registration.
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A remarkable, sweeping historical novel based on the incredible true life story of Dorothy Kirwan 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.
Born into slavery on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat, 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.
Vanessa 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.
“Richly detailed, vividly depicted, and sweeping in scope, Island Queen is historical fiction at its absolute finest. A stunning must-read!”—Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba
In addition to being a novelist, Vanessa Riley holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering and a master’s in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University. She also earned BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. She currently juggles mothering a teen, cooking for her military-man husband, and speaking at women's and STEM events. She loves baking her Trinidadian grandma's cake recipes and collecting Irish crochet lace. You can catch her writing from the comfort of her porch in Georgia, with a cup of Earl Grey tea. Riley lives in Atlanta.
Beatriz Williams is the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of Our Woman in Moscow, The Summer Wives, Her Last Flight, The Golden Hour, The Secret Life of Violet Grant, A Hundred Summers, and several other works of historical fiction, including three novels in collaboration with fellow bestselling authors Karen White and Lauren Willig. A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA in Finance from Columbia University, Beatriz worked as a communications and corporate strategy consultant in New York and London before she turned her attention to writing novels that combine her passion for history with an obsessive devotion to voice and characterization. Beatriz’s books have won numerous awards, have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and appear regularly in bestseller lists around the world. Born in Seattle, Washington, Beatriz now lives near the Connecticut shore with her husband and four children, where she divides her time between writing and laundry.
Maureen Lenker is a native SoCal resident who loves the beach, but hates driving. She is the EW romance columnist for the books section, as well as a TV, Movies, and Theatre reporter. Follow her for all things classic Hollywood, romantic, and musical theater/history related.