REVIEW: Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird
Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird, an absorbing African American Civil War story told from a former female slave’s point of view, is a powerful testimony. I love books that illustrate a woman’s strength amongst her trials. Highly recommend this novel to those who love fictionalized history.
I was immediately drawn in by the main character’s voice. In the beginning, Cathy Williams tells her story to an injured soldier, Private Wager Swayne, to occupy his time and ease his pain. Cathy has just been taken from her family, and the only home she knows, to be a cook’s assistant for Sheridan’s army. She had been raised to appreciate her heritage as the great-grand-daughter of an Amazon warrior queen. That fact also hit my preferences as I love reading about these mystical, courageous women.
What was also intriguing from the very beginning is that the reader realizes the protagonist is not perfect. She is a handful, and not afraid to avenge her family when they’re done wrong. She’s also very laugh-out-loud funny, so be prepared to be thoroughly entertained by her spunk and shocked by her rage.
Cathy does eventually fight for the Buffalo Soldiers as a man known as Private Williams, but her early life with Sheridan is fascinating as well. The American Civil War ends, and Cathy seems to have decided on a plan with her friend that is perfect. It made me smile and hope. What came next was devastating. Like a roller coaster, the reader’s emotions are dipped up and down, slow, then fast, pulling us along to discover how Cathy survives this next chapter of her life.
Although there is a beautiful romance toward the end of the book, there are many unknowns that may irk the strictest of romance book lovers. Based on a true story, the end came too quickly for me which makes me hope for a sequel, imaginary or not, that will give me what I crave.
Per the author’s note, this novel takes place 150 years before women could legally serve in combat. The historical detail is wonderful mixed in with the story. I felt as if I was a fly on the wall watching it happen. The writing is beautiful, evocative and mesmerizing.
Even though I adored most of this book, sometimes it seemed to wander, and I couldn’t fathom where it was going. The rambling inside Cathy’s head seemed to be the culprit. Some details are horrific, so you believe she’s not worthy of love because she’s so twisted. Yet, you want it for her, hoping it will soften what the pain and sadness of her life has done. She’s a character you can root for even when you can’t believe what she has just done.
The only thing I found odd were the number of blanks in my Advanced Reading Copy, which I assume were for cusswords. It made me curious about what landed in the final text. My advanced copy was clean of off-color words, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t violence and abuse. This is a realistic historical novel for the time period, including all its good and bad occurrences. It isn’t pretty, but it sure is gripping.
I read this book while traveling last summer and took copious notes. I finally got to putting it all together into a review, so I hope it makes sense months later. My apology for the delay. I did reread some of it to help revive my memories.
To author Sarah Bird – you have a new fan, even though the end made me want to scream. Yes, I get it. I’m hopeful. But why couldn’t you veer off historical accuracy to give me my solid fantasy? Clever, brilliant, and even though you made me a bit crazy, I can’t wait for your next book.
If you’ve read numerous fictional tales that take place during the American Civil War, and think you’ve read it all, think again and try this novel. This is a big book at 416 pages, but I could have read another 200 from this gifted author. Sarah Bird writes about the Civil War into the years after its end with fresh incite. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Review by Dorine, courtesy of TheZestQuest.com. Digital copy provided by the publisher for an honest review. Thanks in advance for sharing this review or using the buy links.
Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird
Category: African American Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (September 4, 2018)
Rated 5 out of 5, Recommended Read
Buy the book at Amazon.
Tell me some of your favorite historical novels and why you enjoyed them. I love recommends!