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Stephanie Dray

Author of America's First Daughter

29+ Works 3,462 Members 222 Reviews 4 Favorited

About the Author

Stephanie Dray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical women¿s fiction and fantasy. Her critically acclaimed historical series about Cleopatra¿s daughter has been translated into eight languages, was nominated for a RITA Award, and won the Golden Leaf. Using the stories show more of women in history to inspire the young women of today, Stephanie remains fascinated by all things ancient and has, to the consternation of her devoted husband, collected a houseful of cats and Egyptian artifacts. show less


Works by Stephanie Dray

America's First Daughter (2016) 1,080 copies
My Dear Hamilton (2018) 859 copies
Lily of the Nile (2011) 326 copies
Ribbons of Scarlet (2019) 171 copies
Song of the Nile (2011) 131 copies
A Day of Fire (2014) 109 copies
Daughters of the Nile (2013) 63 copies
A Year of Ravens (2015) 47 copies
Poisoned Kisses (2010) 46 copies
It Stings So Sweet (2013) 42 copies
The Knife's Edge (2009) 38 copies
Dark Sins and Desert Sands (2011) 34 copies
In Bed with the Opposition (2012) 12 copies
Siren Song (2011) 11 copies
Midnight Medusa (2009) 11 copies
The Fever and The Fury (2012) 10 copies
Wild, Tethered, Bound (2009) 8 copies
Becoming Madam Secretary (2024) 5 copies
This Wedding Is Doomed! (2015) — Author — 5 copies
Founding Mother 2 copies
Love Me or Leave Me (2013) 2 copies
Blood Fever 1 copy

Associated Works

Songs of Blood and Gold — Contributor — 3 copies


Common Knowledge

Legal name
Dray, Stephanie Hope
Other names
Draven, Stephanie
Places of residence
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
historical novelist
Kamoie, Laura (frequent co-author)
Short biography
STEPHANIE DRAY is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year. Now she lives in Maryland with her husband, cats, and history books. [from website: https://www.stephaniedray.com/about/ ]

Stephanie Draven is currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books. [from website: http://stephaniedraven.com/ ]



Ooooh! This book was such a treat! I just loved, loved, loved it! With an anthology with different authors (most of whom I haven't read before), it can be a mystery whether every story is quality and the work as a whole is cohesive. However, I was pleasantly surprised, and I have some new authors that I MUST check out.

My favorite stories were the heiress by Sophie Perinot, the senator by Kate Quinn, and the ex-soldier by Ben Kane. These stories were so poignant to me. I've read everything by Quinn and just love her. I was surprised to see familiar characters in her story, but I got to see a side of them I haven't before. It was like meeting new friends. These characters transformed as the catastrophe stripped them down to their core values, and I loved watching these people dig deep to find what was most important to them.

Middle of the road stories included the youth at the beginning and the priestess and whore at the end. There was some growth for these characters, but I don't feel like the authors had enough time to develop them. They felt pretty two dimensional, and they didn't grow quite as much as the characters in my favorite stories. It felt more like the authors were trying to tell me they grew rather than the characters showing me that.

My least favorite story was the mother by E. Knight. Let me preface by saying I still enjoyed this story. It's sad and futile, these characters, but it didn't pull me in quite like the others. Mostly, I was frustrated with the narrators, as they dealt with the fact that they'd failed as caretakers. It's a hard perspective to write, and it showed.

Overall, fantastic collection! Can't wait to read the other two books in the series!
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readerbug2 | 9 other reviews | Nov 16, 2023 |
This. Was. So. Good! Reading about tragic historical events is so bittersweet. On the one hand, I'm learning about a new era and meeting engaging characters. On the other, I know they're basically all going to die. It's like meeting a new friend only for them to suddenly move away, but the time I spent with this book was still so rewarding, that I recommend you read this book anyway.

My favorite stories were Dray's The Queen, Quinn's The Warrior, and Knight's The Daughters. These stories were poignant and full of soul. Dray's Cartimandua was a perfect foil to Boudica while Knight's Sorcha and Keena were the perfect vehicle to show us the infamous warrior queen. They sacrifices really sung from the page. As for Quinn, she wrote about the epic battle, which was heart-wrenching, even though I knew what was going to happen. What made it so sad was Duro and Valeria. Quinn really brought them to life. I understood and sympathized with both of them, which is no easy feat when the characters are sworn enemies. Quinn is truly masterful.

Middle of the road for me was Downie's The Slave, Shecter's The Druid, and Turney's The Son. It's hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I didn't like about them. I guess their stories felt kind of small to me compared to the ones I liked.

My least favorite story was Whitfield's The Tribune about Agricola. I found this story dragged, and I had a hard time understanding how it related to the rest of the narrative. Eventually, it made sense, but it felt very detached and slow. I think this was partially because this is one of the few stories that doesn't get split up between two perspectives, so it was a bit of a slog to get through.

If you like doomed histories, you'll love this!
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readerbug2 | 5 other reviews | Nov 16, 2023 |
Ribbons of Scarlet showcases six historical women as each of them make their way in what becomes the French Revolution. All six women come from different places both in society and mentally. Some start off as optimistic. Others are bitter from a lifetime of being hungry and doubt that the revolution will bring enough change to fill their bellies. Each narrator ended up in a different place too, as the one unifying factor became the idea that no one was spared during the revolution.

I actually enjoyed a majority of the stories in this anthology. In general, I thought they were all pretty strong and compelling. My favorites were the strongest were Dray's "The Philosopher", Perinot's "The Princess", and Quinn's "The Politician". In all of these stories, you met characters who started out looking at the world one day, but by the end of their time on the page, they had become someone else. In the case of Sophie Condorcet from Dray's story, she became more optimistic by the end of her narration, which I still felt true to form since hers is the first story that kicks off the revolution. Perinot's Princess Elisabeth and Quinn's Manon Roland are almost mythical figures from the French Revolution. Princess Elisabeth is a saint while Manon Roland is a tiger mom. However, the authors do a phenomenal job painting the complexities of each woman. There are the moments when these women are weak or angry or vindictive, but they stand by their principles for better or worse. I enjoyed reading about them and understanding what motivated them, and I sympathized for them. To me, that's the sign of a truly great author, and that's why I enjoyed these stories so much.'

I also really enjoyed Kamoie's "The Beauty" and Knight's "The Assassin". These were just a smidge below my first three favorite stories. Mostly because there wasn't as many shades to these characters. Emilie from the "The Beauty" is a fascinating person, but there's never really a moment where her worldview are challenged or where she's shocked by the society around her. Having been groomed by her mother to the view the worst of society's (especially men's) impulses, she's never surprised by Robespierre's narcissism or even her lover's cowardice. While her story is very touching, I didn't feel touched in the same way. It was like reading more about someone who was stuck rather than someone who had to undergo an identity shift, compared to a lot of the other characters.

Knight's characters of Pauline Leon and Charlotte Corday were similar: they were so convinced of their ideals that nothing really shook them out of it. Even when Charlotte is getting man-handled, she's never really in doubt about whether murdering Marat was a good thing or not. Pauline gets distracted with a man, but while this physically distracts her, it doesn't mentally distract her. I had hoped to see more of her inner workings. As these two are the more violent characters in the book, I had hoped the author would delve more in their psyche that made them think that killing people (whether it's Marat or soldiers) was the best option to save France. I didn't feel like Knight went far enough with these characters.

The weakest story and the weakest character was Webb's Louise from "The Revolutionary". After reading Webb's note about how she created the character, I learned that while Louise the person existed, much of her life was shrouded in mystery and rumor, making it difficult for Webb to piece together who this person really was. All of the characters pop in and out of each other's stories, Louise most of all, and in every appearance, characters are befuddled about what Louise is thinking. It seems like no one knows what to do about Louise. Is she insane? Is she the new Joan of Arc? Is she just a victim? This indecisiveness made it difficult for the reader to understand this character's mentality and motivation. Just like with Knight's heroines, I don't think Webb went far enough with Louise. The heroine was introduced as this scrappy everywoman who just wanted to be part of something big, but she ended up sounding generic. And none of that prepared readers for the character's tragic demise. I felt like more could've been done to show Louise's instability or how all-consuming the mob mentality is. As a result, she didn't stand out compared to the other heroines.

Overall, this anthology is very strong, and it's compelling. The French Revolution and the subsequent Reign of Terror were full of tragedy and pain, but the stories here still manage to share optimistic views of love, women's rights, and democracy. Highly recommend this book for history lovers.
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readerbug2 | 14 other reviews | Nov 16, 2023 |
What a great book. I never favored one character over another as they all contributed equally to the story and made the transition between eras flow easily.

For such a large book, it was one where I would rather have sat and read it, rather than adulting.
Melline | 25 other reviews | Oct 24, 2023 |



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