Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen.
Booklist Reviews 2018 August #1
Many historical novels celebrate strong women whose accomplishments went unheralded in their time. Cathy Williams, the first black woman to serve in the U.S. Army, is a prime example. Bird's (Above the East China Sea, 2014) fictionalized version of her life begins in 1864, when Yankee general Philip Sheridan burns the Missouri plantation where she is enslaved and takes her as "contraband" to become his cook's assistant. Cathy is proud of her illustrious African heritage, and her witty voice and down-to-earth honesty enliven her lengthy tale. After Appomattox, declining a traditional feminine role, she dresses as a man and enlists as "William Cathay." 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. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2018 August #1
Developed from an original screenplay that won a place in the Meryl Streep-funded Writers Lab in 2015, this novel wraps a fictional narrative around the real-life Cathy Williams, the only woman, disguised as a man, to serve with the Buffalo Soldiers following the Civil War. Born a slave to a descendant of an African Amazon queen, Cathy is liberated from a miserable Missouri tobacco farm when Gen. Philip Sheridan burns it to the ground. Requisitioned from the farm by Sheridan to become his cook's helper, she attracts the protective attention of chef Solomon, who helps her navigate the military life. When the war ends, Cathy and Solomon's plans to head West fall apart, leading her to refashion herself as a "William Cathay" so she can join the peacekeeping forces of Sgt. Levi Allbright in the cavalry.
PW Reviews 2018 July #2
Bird's rich historical novel (after