Book details

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

A Novel

Author: Sarah Bird

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

About This Book

"You'll be swept away by the passion and power of this remarkable, trailblazing woman who risked everything to follow her own heart." – Kristin Hannah, #1 New York...

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Book Details

"You'll be swept away by the passion and power of this remarkable, trailblazing woman who risked everything to follow her own heart." – Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"An epic page-turner." Christina Baker Kline

Named Best Fiction Writer in the Austin Chronicle's "Austin's Best 2018"
Named one of Lone Star Literary Life's "Top 20 Texas Books of 2018"

The compelling, hidden story of Cathy Williams, a former slave and the only woman to ever serve with the legendary Buffalo Soldiers.

“Here’s the first thing you need to know about Miss Cathy Williams: I am the daughter of a daughter of a queen and my mama never let me forget it.”

Though born into bondage on a “miserable tobacco farm” in Little Dixie, Missouri, Cathy Williams was never allowed to consider herself a slave. According to her mother, she was a captive, destined by her noble warrior blood to escape the enemy. Her chance at freedom presents itself with the arrival of Union general Phillip Henry “Smash ‘em Up” Sheridan, the outcast of West Point who takes the rawboned, prideful young woman into service. At war’s end, having tasted freedom, Cathy refuses to return to servitude and makes the monumental decision to disguise herself as a man and join the Army’s legendary Buffalo Soldiers.

Alone now in the ultimate man’s world, Cathy must fight not only for her survival and freedom, but she also vows to never give up on finding her mother, her little sister, and the love of the only man strong enough to win her heart. Inspired by the stunning, true story of Private Williams, this American heroine comes to vivid life in a sweeping and magnificent tale about one woman’s fight for freedom, respect and independence.

Imprint Publisher

St. Martin's Press



Reading Guide

In The News

Christian Science Monitor's Best Fiction of 2018
Texas Observer's Favorite Books of 2018
Austin American-Statesman's All-time Best Books About Texas
Best New Sept 2018 Fiction BUSTLE

"Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen is Sarah Bird at her very best--witty, heartbreaking, and deeply honest. The carefully researched, richly imagined story of Cathy Williams is a beautiful reminder of a forgotten part of women's history. You'll be swept away by the passion and power of this remarkable, trailblazing woman who risked everything to follow her own heart." – Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Sarah Bird takes a few scant lines from history--fragments, really, the barest of bones that have come down to us of Cathy Williams, slave, freedwoman, U.S. Calvary trooper--and spins from them this magnificent imagining of a flesh-and-blood, heart-and-soul Cathy Williams who fears and loves and wants and hurts just as fiercely as any of us. This wonderful novel is as rich in the telling as Thomas Berger's Little Big Man and Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, but Bird is breaking new ground, staking out a whole different territory. Cathy Williams, a black woman in history; what's been lost to time and neglect is surely regained in good measure by this brilliant, powerful novel." – Ben Fountain, New York Times bestselling author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

"Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen creates a narrative as magnificent as Williams’s refusal to surrender to a second slavery that is certain to return Cathy Williams to the pages of history she has been lost from for far too long." - Christine Swanson, Director, “Love Under New Management:The Miki Howard Story.”

“An epic page-turner, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen is the real-life story of the feisty and fearless Cathy Williams,the first woman to serve in the U.S. military. Weaving fact and fiction, Sarah Bird dances between humor and heartbreak as she takes this American heroine from forgotten to unforgettable." – Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

“Sarah Bird masterfully tells the story of Cathy (Cathay) Williams, the only female ever to serve with the legendary Buffalo Soldiers, a heretofore little known story that extends the legend of the gallant black soldiers who served in the Western frontier. What especially stands out is Bird’s capture of Cathy’s well as the depiction of black culture from Africa to the Deep South. Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen is a wonderful read.” – Michael Hurd, author of Thursday Night Lights, managing editor of The Texas Black History Project, and director of the Texas Preservation of History and Culture

"Bird’s meaty epic provides abundant, intimate details about Cathy’s life as a Buffalo Soldier: her patrols on the western frontier; the racism of her unit’s white commanding officer; and the harassment she endures from her fellow soldiers, who find her self-protective modesty unnatural. She’s also secretly attracted to her fair-minded sergeant. “If you don’t push, you never move ahead,” she notes, determining never to be unfree again. An admiring novel about a groundbreaking, mentally tough woman." – Booklist

"Lightly based on the true story of a freed female slave who posed as a man, joined the army, and served with the Buffalo Soldiers, this rollicking epic marches fearlessly from the Civil War South to the sunburned edge of the Western frontier...Rapturously imagined and shamelessly entertaining." – Kirkus

"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." – Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review

"Bird crafts a number of clever scenarios that build tension around Cathy's disguise as a man, creating a not-to-be-missed read for fans of historical military fiction and strong female protagonists." - Library Journal Review

Bird conveys with epic sweep how Williams’s origins as the granddaughter of an African queen buttressed her strength and verve, whether on the frontlines fighting for westward expansion or, more personally, in the joys and heartbreak of life as an iconoclastic, irrepressible American hero." - National Book Review

“Only rare occasions when a book lives up to being called an epic, immersive adventure Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen is one of only five books I can think of that deserves that accolade.” - Historical Novel Society

“…creates a new dimension for those who never got their due.” - Texas Observer

“A rich, hidden gem of American history.”- Dallas Morning News

“Brings to life a flesh-and-blood human being . . . . a superb achievement.” - Houston Chronicle

“…had me variously chuckling, gasping aloud, rubbing the chill bumps on my arms, and holding my breath." - Lone Star Literary Life

“A sweeping tale that mixes humor, hope, courage, and a unique perspective on historical events.” - New York Journal of Books

“…an exuberant, mind-opening page-turner of historical fiction.” - Texas Highways

“‘Daughter’ has true grit.” - San Antonio Express

“A vividly realistic story of love and loss sure to immerse you in a suspenseful historical read.” - Fresh Fiction

“My favorite of the summer.” - Pop Sugar

“Five thumbs up.” - Color Coded Books

About the Creators

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen