The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson spans generations of a Jamaican family, focusing first on Ida Joseph who, as a teenager, has an affair with aging movie star Errol Flynn and bears his daughter May Flynn, the focus of the second half. Usually, I find novels using real people as characters to be irritating, and I am not a big fan of mother/daughter novels, so I had trepidations about reading Cezair-Thompson' s hefty novel.
My worries were put to rest within the first couple of chapters. The Pirate’s Daughter turned out to be a surprisingly delightful read. It has an elegantly constructed plot, complex characters, steady pacing, and a satisfying resolution. The book is about the story, not the writing, which is clean and unobtrusive. Even the author’s use of Jamaican dialect is so natural it blends right into the narrative.
At one point, May is talking with her would-be lover, a character based on novelist and ex-pat Jamaica resident, Ian Fleming, about writing books. He tells her he is thinking of writing a book that would be “Lolita, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and Rebecca all mixed together and set in Jamaica.” Cezair-Thompson may not have accomplished such a lofty goal, but she made a respectable effort. The Pirate’s Daughter is a good book.
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