From the Desk of Vanessa Riley...
Zoom at Harvard Book Store

Vanessa here!

Exclusive just for you!!! First, I want to thank you all for your support through the years. It means so much. Know that I take your encouragement and your willingness to read and share my books and author's journey to heart.

Today, I'm giving you an exclusive sneak peak at the cover for Island Queen. Island Queen is one William Morrow's lead titles for Summer 2021. The big reveal of the cover is tomorrow. So don't share today, Wednesday. 

However, on Thursday 19, 2020, please share the cover on your social media like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to help Island Queen gain traction. William Morrow calls this my breakout book. I hope they are right, and I know support from readers like you make a difference.

If you are game to share starting Thursday the 19th, use the following tags: 






And tag me too: @VanessaRiley on Twitter and @VanessaRileyAuthor on Instagram

It is up for Pre-Order, too.


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 Monserrat, Doll bought her freedom‚ÄĒand that of her sister and her mother‚ÄĒfrom 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.

The gorgeous original cover was designed by BIPOC artist Tonya Engel.  Here is her website:

I fell for this artist's talents right away. Here's one of her pieces that I had to have for my very own.

Other ways to help get buzz for Island Queen:

If you are a Goodreads follower, add Island Queen to your must read lists/shelves and vote for IQ in these categories:

Historical Fiction for 2021

Forthcoming Books for 2021 by African Americans

Next newsletter: I will share more on Island Queen and Holiday menus. If you are on social media tag me with some of your ideas. (Twitter - @vanessariley Instagram @vanessarileyauthor)

Thank you for your help!!

Be blessed and stay safe.


Vanessa Riley