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The Pirate's Daughter [Kindle Edition]

Margaret Cezair-Thompson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
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Book Description

“Back in America, little was known of my life in Jamaica,” wrote Errol Flynn.

In 1946, a storm-wrecked boat carrying Hollywood’s most famous swashbuckler shored up on the coast of Jamaica, and the glamorous world of 1940’s Hollywood converged with that of a small West Indian society. After a long and storied career on the silver screen, Errol Flynn spent much of the last years of his life on a small island off of Jamaica, throwing parties and sleeping with increasingly younger teenaged girls. Based on those years, The Pirate’s Daughter is the story of Ida, a local girl who has an affair with Flynn that produces a daughter, May, who meets her father but once.

Spanning two generations of women whose destinies become inextricably linked with the matinee idol’s, this lively novel tells the provocative history of a vanished era, of uncommon kinships, compelling attachments, betrayal and atonement in a paradisal, tropical setting. As adept with Jamaican vernacular as she is at revealing the internal machinations of a fading and bloated matinee idol, Margaret Cezair-Thompson weaves a saga of a mother and daughter finding their way in a nation struggling to rise to the challenge of independence.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cezair-Thompson conjures the tragic glamour of golden age Hollywood against the backdrop of lusty, turbulent Jamaica in her dual generational coming-of-age saga. Ida Joseph is 13 years old when Errol Flynn is nearly shipwrecked off the coast of her hometown of Port Antonio in 1946. Flynn instantly loves Jamaica and, eager to find a refuge from stateside scandal, purchases an island across from the port. Navy Island becomes the setting for his glittering parties, movie projects and affair with Ida in her senior year of high school. Flynn refuses to take responsibility for the resulting child, May, and after trying to make a go of it in Jamaica, Ida leaves May and heads to New York City, where she marries a wealthy baron friend of Flynn's who purchases the island after Flynn dies. May grows to adulthood on Navy Island, develops something more than a crush on a married family friend 40 years her senior and indulges in drugs and free love. Jamaica's tumultuous progression toward self-governance—with the violent chaos it unleashes on Navy Island—reveals certain hidden truths about the baron. For all the high drama, the reader never feels fully privy to Ida or May, but Cezair-Thompson otherwise succeeds magnificently in evoking a world distant in both time and place. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Jamaica-born Margaret Cezair-Thompson, a creative writing instructor at Wellesley College and author of The True History of Paradise, knows her native island’s physical, political, and social landscape well. Her historical epic, which spans the years between the end of World War II and the 1970s, sets a mother’s and a daughter’s coming-of-age stories against this lush country’s tensions of race and class. While most critics thought that both imagined and real characters (think Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe) sparkled, a couple accused the author of portraying self-absorbed, uninteresting stereotypes of Jamaicans; others cited a few too many plot coincidences. Neverthelessâ€"especially in May’s Treasure Cove, a book within a bookâ€"Jamaica comes alive in all its tropical splendor.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 720 KB
  • Print Length: 428 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1932961402
  • Publisher: Unbridled Books; 1 edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0066A8U0U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,440 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
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 her mother 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 was blown ashore at Port Antonio during a 1946 hurricane, her grandfather Eli drove 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 builds a palatial estate on Navy Island, off the coast, where he entertains Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Truman Capote, and a host of other Hollywood stars. It is here that Ida, May's mother, first meets Flynn when she is thirteen.

The second part of the novel follows Ida after she gives birth to May. Trying to support her family, she leaves Jamaica (and May) to find work in New York. Her return to the island several years later, and the changes she introduces into May's life, parallel some of the changes occurring on the island itself. Cuban refugees swarm to Jamaica to escape Castro's takeover.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You shake him hand, you no shake him heart." October 11, 2007
The tale begins with the larger-than-life presence of Errol Flynn, the great swashbuckling hero of the pirate movies, the stage set for an exotic adventure, a movie star who purchases his own private island near Port Antonio, Jamaica, building an estate and a reputation as a playboy extraordinaire, advised by a Port Antonio businessman and friend Eli Joseph. The two men share a love of conversation and grand ideas, Eli failing to notice his thirteen-year-old daughter's adoration of Flynn. Accompanying her father to Navy Island, Ida is enthralled by a luxurious lifestyle beyond her experience. By the time she is fifteen, Ida is pregnant with Flynn's child.

Given this dramatic turn of events, one might expect the movie star to do the right thing by his friend's daughter, but it is not in Flynn's nature to consider the feelings of others, still pursued by litigation for other underage conquests: "He felt as though he had some sort of moral immunity." Flynn sailing away, Ida is overwhelmed, her father in increasingly poor health. Faced with great responsibilities and few choices, Ida provides as best she can for May and Eli, but circumstances defeat her; when an opportunity to make a decent living in New York arises, Ida leaves three-year-old May and her ageing father in the hands of friends, hoping to bring them both to New York.

As many immigrants discover, America is not easily conquered; it is only through a stroke of luck that Ida encounters an acquaintance from Flynn's Navy Island days, Baron Karl von Ausberg. Karl is enchanted by the beautiful young woman and offers marriage. Eventually, Ida returns to Port Antonio as the wife of a baron, but at considerable cost to the relationship with her daughter.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I wasn't sure... December 30, 2007
I had a bit of trouble getting into this book at first. I am not sure why other than the fact that I disliked Errol Flynn as portrayed in this book so much that I didn't care to finish. However, as I kept plugging along I found that I began to care deeply about Ida first and then her daughter May, and finally, about many of the family and friends that surround her. I also found that I became more and more interested in the portrayal of a by-gone era and the happenings on the island of Jamaica.

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the portrayal of Errol Flynn, the history of Jamaica, or any of the other stars mentioned. However, I can vouch for the fact that this was an enjoyable story that really made the island of Jamaica come alive in my mind. I am glad that I persevered with this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A memorable tale of love, strength and Jamaica August 29, 2008
The Pirate's Daughter is not the sort of book I usually pick up. At first glance it has the look of a romance novel, a genre I don't condemn but one that I feel too pressed for time to invest in. In my mind there are just too many non-fiction books out there, waiting to enlighten me about one thing or another. Fortunately, a friend urged me to give this book a chance and I'm glad I did. The Pirate's Daughter is a wonderful novel with memorable characters. Most impressive, it manages to feel like a true story throughout. I often forgot that I was reading a work of fiction. It all felt so very real. Ida and May, the central characters seem more real in my head than half of the actual living people I know.

Jamaican-born Margaret Cezair-Thompson teaches literature and creative writing at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. After reading The Pirate's Daughter I'm ready to sign up for her class. Her ability to tell an interesting story with great characters while gently nurturing a sense of concern and empathy into readers' minds seems effortless. Beyond the people, Cezair-Thompson leads readers on a memorable tour of Jamaican culture and history without ever once sounding like some shallow tour guide throwing disconnected facts at you.

The novel centers around Ida, a young Jamaican girl who has a love affair with 1950s Hollywood superstar Errol Flynn. The swashbuckling matinee idol lives on Navy Island off the coast of Jamaica and has a working relationship/friendship with Ida's father. What began so simply, however, quickly becomes complex when Ida becomes pregnant. When the baby, May, is born the novel becomes her story too. Spanning decades, The Pirate's Daughter brilliantly mingles the stories of Flynn, Ida, May and Jamaica.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The book was in good condition.
Published 1 month ago by massatheg
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
A fabulous story written with an artist's eye.

"The Pirate's Daughter" fits so many categories and is a hard-to-put-down read. Read more
Published 3 months ago by AngeB
5.0 out of 5 stars Jamaica
Read this while on vacation in Jamaica. Totally understand the characters love of this island country. Enjoyed learning more about the history and culture. Great story.
Published 8 months ago by Julie Kelly
2.0 out of 5 stars Waiting
I felt like I was waiting for something to happen and it never really did... The imagery was nice, but the story it self was not that compelling.
Published 14 months ago by Jenny
5.0 out of 5 stars The pirate's daughter
This is the story of Jamaica in the struggle for independence. We see the island changing as told through the eyes of two women. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Clare O'Beara
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite Book
I cannot stress how much I love this book. Draws you in and keeps your attention. You actually grow close and attached with all the characters. A great book!!!
Published on August 9, 2012 by natalya maharaj
4.0 out of 5 stars From the Notes of May Flynn, Errol Flynn's Daughter
Some books seem to be slow starters for me. This was one of them but I grew to really enjoy the heroine, May Flynn so much. Read more
Published on July 14, 2012 by RE Krause
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible!
I love books set in exotic locations (exotic to me at least). No place intrigues me more than Jamaica! Read more
Published on March 11, 2012 by M. N.
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who love Jamaica, for better or worse
I have no interest in Errol Flynn or the adventures of movie stars in colonial Jamaica, but A True History of Paradise was such a wonderful book that I had to give The Pirate's... Read more
Published on August 27, 2011 by W. Wedenoja
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting history of Jamaica amid family struggles
Margaret Cezair-Thompson has created several multifaceted families and a delicious Jamaica in The Pirate's Daughter. Read more
Published on June 17, 2011 by zhabazon
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