Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

Sarah Bird. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-19316-2
Bird’s rich historical novel (after Above the East China Sea) is a layered study of post-Civil War America from the imagined perspective of remarkable Buffalo Soldier Cathy/Cathay Williams, the first woman to serve in the legendary all-black cavalry and infantry. Mining the rich terrain of Civil War military history, the nation’s western expansion and clashes with Native Americans, and the fraught issues of gender and race relations, Bird frames an epic romantic tale around Williams. It tracks her life from the time she’s taken from her family as “contraband” by the Union Army in the waning days of the Civil War, to her service as a cook’s aide to Gen. Philip Sheridan, to her illicit enlistment in the Army—disguised as William Cathay—and service as a rifleman with the Buffalo Soldiers cavalry. Williams, as narrator, reveals a bravado fueled by her love of dashing Yankee soldier Wager Swayne, hero-worship of Sheridan, and pride in her heritage as the granddaughter of an African queen. Bird’s fast-paced, action-packed story is a bittersweet one—grand love and legacy ultimately eluded Williams—but this fearless, often heartbreaking account sheds a welcome light on an extraordinary American warrior. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/09/2018
Release date: 09/04/2018
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 544 pages - 978-1-250-19317-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-250-29901-7
Library Binding - 978-1-4328-5610-6
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-250-21803-2
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