• Syd Young

July & August Reads, Part 2


As July turned into August, I didn't have as much time to actually review the books I read, but I at least marked and rated them, except when reading for reference. I see some that I will certainly go back and review!


Taking these out of order as I want to talk about Vanessa Riley's ISLAND QUEEN. Its subgenre is Black women historical fiction that I'm finding so breathtaking. At the 2019 HNS conference (ah, the days!), there was a section about how Black stories didn't all have to be the tragedies. Those are important, vital, but I love seeing the triumphs, the surprising journeys, too. This growing body of fiction is opening a whole new world to me. I want to know more, learn more, understand more, so I hope readers will embrace them and publishers will keep them coming.


ISLAND QUEEN is about Dorothy Kirwan Thomas, who rose up out of slavery to be a successful business woman in her own right. Her ups and downs were certainly dependent upon the men in her life, but it was her fighting spirit that shines through, her ability to keep going. ISLAND QUEEN is an inspiring story. Kudos to Vanessa!


Next, you all will recognize BRIDGERTINS #2, super fun, enough said.


I also enjoyed Bryn Turnbull's interesting story on THE WOMAN BEFORE WALLIS, which has a great American twist. Goodness, I really had no idea. This book changed how I feel about David (King Edward VIII)--he was simply human after all. I'm not sure how I feel about Thelma Morgan and Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt. It's easy to blame them for the messes they found themselves in. However, it's also a very timely story, very striking. I am concerned for women around the world, both in Texas and in Afghanastan, and for what is coming for them. Read the story with that in mind and see if you have more compassion for these young women and what happened.


ZERO FAIL: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service by Carol Leonnig is an immensely interesting story of the Secret Service. I read it for reference but it really held my interest.


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