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The Pirate's Daughter Paperback – 12 Jun 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; 1st edition (12 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075534359X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755343591
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 342,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Margaret Cezair-Thompson was born and raised in Jamaica, West Indies. She is the author of the highly acclaimed, bestselling novel The Pirate's Daughter, which was a Richard & Judy Summer Read in 2008. The True History of Paradise was her first novel, and was shortlisted for the IMPAC Award.
She is a professor of English at Wellesley College, and lives in Massachusetts.

Product Description


'An unabashedly frangipani-scented - and wholly satisfying - armchair read' (Vogue)

'Breathtaking pace and verve... a delight' (Independent)

'A love song to a slice of paradise that's teetering on the edge... a complete joy' (Daily Mirror)

' A joy to read, at once humorous, touching and poetic... The Pirate's Daughter charms as surely as any dashing film hero' (Sunday Telegraph)

'Cezair-Thompson has a light enough touch to tie such weighty issues as race, class and politics...a panorama of the diverse life of Jamaica held together by a sense of beguilement with the island itself' (Time Out)

Book Description

The ultimate 'thinking-person's beach read', a novel based on a fascinating kernel of fact.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Boof TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 July 2008
Format: Paperback
I took this book with me to read on holiday and the opening chapters describing the white sandy beaches, palm trees and fragrant bourgenvilla had me melting into my sun bed.

This book is a wonderful story about a teenage girl, Ida, on the island of Jamaica and her crush on film star Errol Flynn who befriends her Father and sets up residence on the island. Flynn takes a shine to Ida and seduces her and she then finds herself pregnant by him at the age of 16. The story then follows both Ida and her daughter, May, through the next 30 years including civil unrest and shocking violence on their beloved sushine island.

Cezair-Thompson has a wonderfully fresh voice which made me really warm to the fantastic array of characters. I have rated 4 stars as I felt that it slightly dragged in the middle (it seemed to lack direction at one point) before picking up again and drawing me back in.

All in all a highly recommended book - I thoroughly enjoyed and look forward to reading more from this author.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Moore TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback
Although the title refers to May, the daughter, this story is very much the story of both mother and daughter. It begins with Ida as a teenager, meeting and falling for Errol.. a love that never leaves her.

I initially had reservations about using a real famous person in a fiction book, but it does work. Errol is obviously important, and I did find myself looking him up, to see how realistic his character was, but he's not a central character, and this helps. Once past the initial part of the story, there is so much more to keep you interested.

Whilst reading, the book seems to move at a fairly comfortable pace, but at the same time, I often found myself wanting `just one more chapter'. I carried this one around, just so I could dip into in my spare minutes. It's the type of book that you get caught up in before you realise it's happened.

The majority of the story is set in Jamaica, during a period of unrest - the history is quietly presented.. enough to give an insight, without distracting from the real story.

It also deals with racism from a slightly different angle.. because of May's mixed background, she never feels completely accepted, as she feels neither `coloured' or white. This leads to May feeling an outsider.. a feeling I'm sure many feel at some point at their lives.

This is an entertaining, spell-binding tale, which would make a perfect holiday read.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER on 22 July 2008
Format: Paperback
I struggled to get through this novel. It took so long to get going and it never grabbed me. It's the story of Ida, a Jamaican girl who meets the actor Errol Flynn as a young girl and ends up having a daughter with him. Although the daughter May is the title character, she doesn't really come into the story until the second half of the book. The first part is all about how Ida meets Errol and eventually becomes his lover at the age of 16. The relationship doesn't last and Ida is left to raise her daughter on her own, although she does later marry.

The book is very slow - oddly so, because a lot happens, but the action parts are rushed and the parts between dragged out. The synopsis makes it sound so exciting: pirates' tales, hunting for lost treasure and appearances by stars like Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. All I can say is while these things are mentioned, they are hardly major elements of the story. It's a book that is more character driven than plot driven: unfortunately the characters are not particularly likeable or even interesting.

Cezair-Thompson seems intimidated by the idea of incorporating Errol Flynn as a fictional character: he never feels real in the way that the other characters do. The idea of using a real person in a piece of fiction is far from new - for example, William Boyd does it very skillfully in "Any Human Heart". But here it feels clumsy and contrived.

Some of the dialogue is written in the Jamaican dialect. Reading other reviews, I guess I'm the minority here, but I found that distracting. It irritates me when I need to slow down my reading to decipher what is being said by sentences like: "Wha'fe you cyan be unfe you".

The one thing that I really loved about this book is the descriptions of Jamaica, which are gorgeous.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
May Flynn, the daughter of actor Errol Flynn and a beautiful Jamaican girl, has always wondered about her roots. Brought up by her mother Ida, grandfather Eli, and, for four years, a foster family, May is clever and tough from a young age. Always an outsider, she could pass for white, though she is not part of the white world of her father and maternal grandfather. Not part of the black world, either, though she considers herself "colored," she is often mocked by her dark Jamaican peers. Frequently alone, she keeps journals, filling them with stories of pirates, inspired by the films starring Errol Flynn which she sees at the local cinema.

As May discovers more about Ida's life before, during, and after her birth, she creates the story of her own life, revealing it through flashbacks. When Errol Flynn's yacht gets blown ashore at Port Antonio during a 1946 hurricane, her grandfather Eli drives to his aid, soon becoming Flynn's social secretary, guide, confidant, and real estate broker. Flynn finds the relaxed atmosphere of Jamaica a welcome contrast to Hollywood, where he faces charges related to his affairs with underage girls. He soon buys Navy Island, just off the coast of Port Antonio, where he builds Bella Vista, the palatial estate where he entertains a host of Hollywood stars. Ida, May's mother, is sixteen when she gives birth May, Flynn's child.

The second part of the novel follows Ida to New York as she tries to support her family, find work, and hold to her values. Her return to the island, and the changes she introduces into May's life, Part III, parallel some of the changes occurring on the island itself. Cuban refugees have swarmed to Jamaica to escape Castro's takeover.
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