Excerpt from The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Pirate's Daughter

By Margaret Cezair-Thompson

The Pirate's Daughter
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Oct 2007,
    432 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2008,
    432 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

prologue.
the island that was errol flynn’s

The stories my mother told me weren’t the ones I wanted to hear, stories about the man she said was my father, stories that seemed to come not just from her but upon her, unguarded and effusive, or as we say in Jamaica, “Mouth open, story fly out.”

I loved stories about the pirates who used to rove among these islands. True Accounts of Sea Robbers, Treasure Island - these were the books I read over and over again until I knew whole passages by heart. And then at some point, with all those lofty phrases in my head, I began making up my own story. I called it Treasure Cove.

That was also the name I’d given to a place here on the island, a cove where a coconut tree leaned out crookedly over the water. You could sit on the tree trunk and imagine it was a ship at anchor. A white bougainvillea grew on the slope above, and I used it as a landmark - She can see it all from the veranda - the cove and the white bougainvillea that once served her so well. For a moment she sees herself too, a boyish-looking girl running across the lawn to the sea.

The lawn is overgrown now and nameless bushes have sprung up around the bougainvillea. Lizards have taken over the garden and the derelict tennis court. Even here on this upstairs veranda they no longer run away from her.

At twenty-six, May is a tall version of the girl she used to be. She still keeps her straight brown hair very short, and she has the same valiant curiosity she had at the age of ten. Gold hoop earrings and numerous bangles help to feminize her. She’s become what people call “a handsome woman.”

She’s spent most of her life here on Navy Island, a place so small it’s not on any map, not even maps of the West Indies. It’s an islet really, about a mile off the coast of Jamaica (“a piece of Jamaica that drifted away,” she used to tell people).

Every day she sits at the wrought-iron table on this veranda, typing on an old manual Underwood. She’s not sure why. She could say, like the hero of Treasure Island, that someone persuaded her: My dear friend Nigel Fletcher, having asked me to write down the events that occurred here from beginning to end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen. . . . She knows that she wants to do this now, not wait until things have become memories of things - nutmeg-smelling rooms, the rasping sea, how quiet it is on this veranda after a downpour.

Her father, the man who is said to be her father, bought the island when there was nothing on it but trees. People say he won it in a poker game, but her mother, Ida, remembers him paying cash, the money he made starring in The Adventures of Don Juan (“He had to take that money out of America quick-quick before the first wife found out about it; he wanted a house pink like the sunset,” Ida said). He built the house, pink with white jalousies and white railings, and named it Bella Vista. A good name, she’s always thought. Bella Vista is a ruin now, a desecration; there’s almost nothing that isn’t broken or torn, but she can look out at the sea from every room of the house. From this veranda, she has the best view of all - the sudden descent to the whitewashed boathouse, then the turquoise water fluttering between the two shores.

Jamaica, or “land,” as they say, is ten minutes away by taxi-boat. She can see the harbor town of Port Antonio across the water and, beyond its Anglican steeples and corrugated rooftops, the Blue Mountains. Sometimes she hears music from the town across the water, reggae pounding from the rum shops and passing cars. But it has been quiet of late because of the curfew and the soldiers and the fear: it is 1976, and Jamaica is in a State of Emergency.

Excerpted from The Pirate's Daughter byMargaret Cezair-Thompson Copyright © 2007 by Margaret Cezair-Thompson. Excerpted by permission of Unbridled Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Goldfinch
    The Goldfinch
    by Donna Tartt
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction.

    Her canvas is vast. To frame a story about art, love and ...
  • Book Jacket: Toms River
    Toms River
    by Dan Fagin
    Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction

    In Toms River, investigative journalist Dan Fagin ...
  • Book Jacket: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
    by Gabrielle Zevin
    I feel like Gabrielle Zevin wrote this wonderful book, about a lonely New England bookstore owner ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

No pleasure is worth giving up for the sake of two more years in a geriatric home.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.