Vanessa Riley

Vanessa Riley is an award-winning author of historical fiction and historical romance that showcases the hidden histories of women of color, emphasizing strong sisterhood and dazzling multicultural communities. Her novels pull heartstrings, elicit laughs and share insights into the diverse history the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras.
The latest of her 10 books is Island Queen, which 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. Inspired by a sketch, a cartoon that originally printed in Rambler Magazine 1788, of Prince William Henry (future King William IV) and an unidentified Black woman, Vanessa began her journey to uncover the story behind this unique and rare image. The woman in the image was drawn beautifully, atypical for cartoons of Black women during this time.
Vanessa wondered why a woman of color would be drawn in such an intimate, yet respectful way with the future King. It took years for her to uncover snippets of information about this self-made, wealthy, formerly enslaved Black woman from the colony of Demerara. Why had history forgotten her name? Vanessa tells the story brilliantly in her new work. To learn more about Vanessa please visit

Comments are closed.