Book Rating: 4.0
Queen of Exiles is a novel of sacrifice, resilience, and passion. The story of Hayti’s King James Henry Christophe I and his wife Queen Marie-Louise Christophe hopscotches between 1810-1847 recounting what led to the political overthrow of King Henry I, how it eviscerated the family, and the life Queen Louise created in the aftermath of their exile to Europe. Madame Christophe and her daughters were determined to survive, defining their lives on their own terms in a time not thought possible.
Queen of Exiles recounts the first and only Black queen recorded to hold such a position, amplifying Madame Christophe’s place in history by introducing readers to a gem of political exploits and intrigue between France and Hayti. During a time, when Africans were being enslaved throughout the world, it was fascinating to learn Madame Christophe, Princess Amethyste and Princess Athenaire were recognized by European society while living and traveling freely.
Riley deftly entertains readers with details of intricate family life, supplying vivid descriptions of stylish imported clothes and elaborate jewels, giving readers a sense of the majestic pageantry that was displayed by the Christophe’s in their efforts to become politically recognized as a sovereign independent nation.
Queen of Exiles truly exemplifies the ideals of resilience and survival through this phenomenally researched novel, bringing forward a strong, educated, passionate black woman history will not soon forget.
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