Excerpt from Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

by Sarah Bird

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird X
Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2018, 416 pages

    Feb 2020, 544 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Valerie Morales
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"You have left us nothing," Old Miss shrieked. "Nothing!"

Looking at Old Miss then, with all three of her children alive and clinging to her, their fine house standing proud, I thought, Nothing? Why, that stupid woman hasn't touched even the least little hem of "nothing." But she was starting to, and for that I was glad.

"How will we feed ourselves?" Old Miss whined.

Sheridan roared down at her, "Rebel, don't be adding lying to the crime of high treason against the United States of America. Feed yourselves with the silver you've buried."

That shut her up right quick. We all knew that Old Miss had buried her precious silver even before the war started.

"Or would you prefer that I hogtie your youngest son?" Sheridan asked. "And hold him over a fire until the fat and the truth is rendered out of him?"

We had all heard about how bushwhackers had done just that over to Glen Eden plantation where they had strung Mister Pennebaker up over a low fire until they cooked the truth out of him, and he directed them to the fork above Perkins Creek where he'd buried his valuables in a barrel.

"Might that not encourage you to reveal where you've hidden the spoils which, by all rights, belong now to the Union Army?" Sheridan prodded.

Old Miss's jaw worked as she bit at the inside of her mouth. Her eyes twitched about in the rabbity way she had, but she didn't answer.

"Speak no more of the hardships you've endured," Sheridan said. "Not with more than half a million souls, yours and ours, lying in their graves because, for the most selfish of reasons, you willful, prideful, ignorant, arrogant, traitorous Rebels would destroy the finest country our Almighty Lord ever set upon His benighted earth."

I could see from the start that Phil Sheridan was a serious man.

With Old Miss shut up good and proper then, Sheridan demanded of one of his officers, "Have all the contrabands been accounted for?"

For the first time, the soldiers shone the torchlight upon our faces.

Mama, who was standing to my right, and Clemmie, to my left, huddled up closer against me. Fear was making my sweet little sister vibrate like a hive humming with bees. Old Mister's nasty doings had taken all the starch out of her. And that is why I had been forced to slip a brown recluse spider into his pocket to bite the hand that had interfered with my baby sister. His blood had gone bad and, with all the fit men carried off and no one else left to run the place, he'd had to make Mama overseer. After the bitten hand turned black, Old Miss took her nasty husband into town to have it cut off. But he died anyway. I thought that was the happiest day of my life. This one, however, was showing fair to beat it out.

I wanted to tell Clemmie not to be afraid. That no one's guts'd be getting dragged out by dogs. My little sister had never been able to fully understand that white folks generally preferred the more economically satisfactory practice of working us to death over outright killing.

Me? I was more excited than scared for, no matter how bad the Federals were, I saw no way they could be worse than what we had here.

"Madam," Sheridan boomed down at Old Miss, "are these all your Negroes?"

"All that your cowardly marauders and scavengers have left us," Old Miss sniffed, as though it wasn't the Rebs and general riffraff bushwhackers who'd carried off, first the strong men, then the weak, and, finally, the boys.

A Yankee with silver oak leaves on his shoulder straps stepped up and asked, "Sir, should I confiscate the contrabands?" The officer had the toadying manner of the worst kind of overseer sucking up to the master. I figured him to be either the General's overseer or he was angling for the job.

The General had what you might call a salty vocabulary and he roared, "Colonel Terrill, need I remind you that we are on a ______ foraging mission? And it's been a damn ______ miserable one so far? We've barely liberated provisions enough to keep our own ______ bellies full and you're proposing we add a pack of ______ Negroes to the quartermaster's load? No, Colonel, I'll send a detachment later to take them to a freedman's camp. I've no intention of feeding every ______ pickaninny between here and Washington, D.C."

Excerpted from Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird. Copyright © 2018 by Sarah Bird. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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