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Rebecca McLaughlin Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Nameless Queen (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Rebecca McLaughlin is a literary fiction author from Michigan best known for authoring the novel “Nameless Queen.” She calls herself a nerd who loves coffee and the scientific method since she is a nerd. She has a bachelor’s in Chemistry and English Creative Writing in 2014 since she figured that it was more fun getting two degrees rather than one. Since her graduation, she has been working as a technical writer. She takes manuals and other documents written by technical people such as engineers and reformats, rewrites and proofs them to ensure they make sense. However, she also knew that she wanted to become a professional author and believed her love for storytelling combined with her meticulous eye for detail would come in handy in either the scientific or creative writing fields. As a teenager in college, she would tear apart essays with line edits, argument, organization, brutally dissecting and grammar and syntax flaws. She also tore apart poems and stories and wrote in-depth and descriptive analysis of her friends’ poems and stories. She published her debut novel “Nameless Queen” in 2014. When she is not writing she loves to spend time drinking coffee or honing her knife-throwing skills.

She has always been consumed with storytelling even as her day job is all about facts As a tenth grader, she was assigned an assignment to write a working analogy for a plant cell. The assignment was so interesting and in her enthusiasm McLaughlin was soon going off track as she created Makawalli, a new country in Central Africa. For the next two years in high school, she went about developing the characters in her story that included the resident economist Mrs. Rockefeller, a crone, a herbalist, and several peasants. Makawalli goes to war against an evil scientist and an opposing country named Mahakalli. Since then she has been creating universes, governments, countries, provinces, and kingdoms. In total she has about four worlds created though she has only published “Nameless Queen.” MacLaughlin writes her debut from a middle-class perspective since she was brought up in middle-class surroundings. As such, the novel explores the economic and social divide between the haves and have-nots which creates an exploration that is very contemporary.

Even as the focus of the novel “Nameless Queen” is the impossible heir and her ascension to the world of loyalty, there are many themes that McLaughlin writes about. With the introduction of characters is also the introduction of the conflicts between the classes. The conflict between a person’s upbringing and their ability to make the most of their potential is what determines what they become. She asserts that uniting during a time of tragedy regardless of social station is what makes for a more cohesive society. Her lead character is a woman named Coin who has to invent new ways to survive on the streets almost every day. But it is what she goes through, her combined experiences that mold her into the woman she was destined to be. McLaughlin does a good job making her characters own up to their truth and never being embarrassed for being who they are. She says that it is only through embracing their experiences that they can come out victorious. “Nameless Queen” is thus something of a coming to age novel though it also emphasizes themes of the importance of family. In the novel family is not just the blood relations, but rather everyone that a person surrounds themselves with or the bonds they create as they live their lives.

McLaughlin paints a vivid picture of the classism and elitism that rules her world to showcase aspects of modern themes of identity and privilege. Coin her lead character is a no-nonsense woman that beats the odds even as she stays true to her values and herself. Speaking to her womanhood she has excellent supporting relationships with other women and rises above the restrictions placed on women in her society. Unlike many coming to age novels, there is no romance. The author asserts that a woman can go through life and achieve her greatest dreams without necessarily needing a love interest or relationship with a man. McLaughlin creates a world in which duty and powers are deemed blessing and curse as her character comes from a humble background to become a queen. It sounds like a dream but the reality is that it is not that glamorous. McLaughlin explores themes of social justice and economic class in a non-snobbish way. Her villains are much more realistic as they are mortals with relatable goals and motives rather than evil plotters on the quest for utter destruction and chaos.

“Nameless Queen” opens to Coin as a Nameless pickpocket making a living on the streets of Seriden. The city has a rigid social and class system with the Royals at the very top, the legal on the middle tier and the Nameless at the bottom. Since she is a Nameless, Coin is unrecognized by the legal systems and has no rights that the other classes have. The Nameless are subjected to persecution and are often degraded as they go about their lives. Their government believes they do not exist and even if they do they are not human beings worthy of respect and dignity. As such, it comes as a huge shock when the old king names a Nameless known as Coin to take over as Queen just before he dies. The entire political and social structure of the realm is now threatened. Coin had never thought she would ever amount to anything and suddenly finds herself having to navigate a court full of people that want to take the power for themselves. But as she cements herself on the throne of Seriden, things will never be the same again. The novel is a masterclass in world-building as McLaughlin expertly paints a world no longer at ease. The classism and elitism that once ruled Seriden will not rest on its laurels and let an outsider take power without a fight, which makes for a great story.

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