Philippa Gregory is one of those writers that easily immerses the readers with just a few words. Her books about English royalty is more than historical fiction but a reimagining of these famous regents. Her books about the War of the Roses goes to great lengths to dramatize just how difficult and complicated these interactions were. The most magnetic part of her books is her sheroes, the women behind the scenes.
Scholars will usually highlight the men of each royal house when retelling events, but the women have as much to do with the outcomes as the men. But as her books show, the women wield as much influence and power than the men as they quietly tilt the scales of power in their balance. Of course, this is not only relegated to the events of England but other parts of the world. In a densely written and illustrated book by Professor Bayyinah Bello and Kervin Andre, Sheroes Of The Haitian Revolution strives the highlight the women who ensured the Haitian Revolution succeeded.
We meet Kasikess Anakoana , a tribal queen who fought Spanish rule in Haiti until finally defeated through deceit in the form of a peace offering. Then there’s Cecile Fatimah, a spymaster amongst slaves who created the code which signified the slaves when to revolt. We meet Aunt Toya a captured Dahomey warrior who would train the first emperor of Haiti, Jacques Dessilines. There was Sanite Belair, an officer in the Revolutionary Army, who would become a target of Napoleon Bonaparte. There was Marie Jeanne, a Maroon sharpshooter who would be one of the reasons why revolutionaries would take Crete’-a-Pierrot, a major turning point in the war. There is Suzanne Simon L’Overture, the fierce wife and companion of Touissant L’Overture, the hero of the Haitian Revolution. There’s Katherine Flon, the woman who would design and create the flag of Haiti. There’s Marissainte Dedee Bazile, the Revolutionary Army’s Henry Knox, and a master negotiator. We meet Marie Louise, Haiti’s first and only Queen. The last woman is Felicite, the wife of Jacques Dessilines, and the country’s only Empress, a title she would keep until her dying days.
Overall, an excellent book that finally brings light to these magnificent women who endured despairs, hate, and torture so that Haiti can see the promise of freedom. The stories by Bello are well researched and heartfelt. The art by Andre is gorgeous. Altogether, women that everyone should know and I am glad to know of.
Story: Bayyinah Bello Art: Kervin Andre Recommendation: Buy