Sister Mother Warrior

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Product Details
Harper Large Print
Publish Date
6.02 X 8.94 X 1.53 inches | 1.68 pounds

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About the Author

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.


"An impeccably researched, powerfully reimagined tale of sacrifice and success, love and selfishness, and war and independence...Riley's storytelling skills shine." -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Sweeping, powerful...Riley has written a well-researched gripping novel about an enslaved people gaining freedom, with the emotional connections among the main players as its beating heart." -- Library Journal (starred review)

"A riveting read! Richly imagined, meticulously researched, and fast-paced...Vanessa Riley encourages us to rethink history through fresh eyes." -- Myriam J. A. Chancy, author of What Storm, What Thunder

"Thrilling and utterly engrossing...Riley's prose is breathlessly beautiful, the lines clean and vibrant, her images raw and real. A gripping animation of the first successful Black-led democracy in the West as well as a moving exploration of loyalty, passion, and grief, this book sears itself on the consciousness. Highly recommended." -- Historical Novel Society

"A gripping tale celebrating the strength and resilience of exceptional Black women...emotionally rich, deeply detailed, and unforgettable." -- Booklist

"This book is not only a one-sitting read, it's a slice of history that needs to be told. Utterly brilliant, powerful, and inspiring." -- Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author of Always the Last to Know

"Riveting and transformative...evocative and turns vibrant and bold and wise...discovering Dorothy's story is a singular pleasure." -- New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice) on Island Queen

"Dazzling...compelling...Riley combines in-depth research with passionate and frank storytelling, The experiences and achievements of powerful women, especially those whose lives began among the enslaved, are too often overlooked, and Riley's richly engaging novel is a ringing reminder of how much we miss when these stories remain untold." -- Booklist on Island Queen

"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

"Island Queen is the magnificently reconstructed life story of Dorothy 'Doll' Kirwan Thomas, whose fascinating legacy of grit and success desperately deserves to be better known. With lush prose and raw emotion, Riley vividly captures the complexity of bringing to life a time of rebellion and possibility." -- New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Stephanie Dray

"Island Queen is what you would get if you were to drop Olivia Pope and all the men who lusted after her into the 18th Century Caribbean. . . With prose that reads like poetry, Vanessa Riley expertly steers the reader through Dolly's heartbreaking lows all the way into her triumphant emergence as the richest free woman of color in the islands. Passionate, headstrong, and loyal, Riley's version of the real-life Dorothy Kirwan Thomas legend will make readers fall in love with this overlooked "hidden" queen. -- Kaia Alderson, author of Sisters in Arms

"Riley...delivers a spirited narrative of an enslaved woman turned Caribbean power broker, based on a historical figure...Riley has made a fascinating character out of Dorothy." -- Publishers Weekly on Island Queen