Theodosia and the Pirates: The Battle Against Britain
‘Theodosia Burr Alston boarded The Patriot on December 31st 1812 and was never seen again.’ A real person in American history, I confess I had never heard of her. What a pity – she sounds quite a character! Theodosia was the only daughter of Aaron Burr, third vice-president of the United States, who was accused of treason, killed a man in a duel, and tried to become Emperor of Mexico. He believed in education and insisted his daughter was well schooled. She made a prestigious marriage but disappeared at sea. There have been a host of theories regarding what happened to her ever since – a delight for novelists of course!
Aya Katz has produced a plausible scenario: what if Theodosia had been captured by and fallen in love with Jean Lafitte, and spent the rest of her life adventuring with him? She becomes involved with fighting against the British and corrupt state officials, there is sexual romance, political intrigue, fights and battles at sea. Add in a disagreement between Theodosia’s father and Thomas Jefferson plus a host of other political shenanigans and it is not surprising that this book is over five-hundred pages long. It is a lusty read, in several senses of the word, with a few unbroken passages of dialogue, a little ‘tell’ not ‘show’, and mixed with some clichés and anachronisms, but overall, a light, fun read.
My main criticism is the cover which is simplistic in style, giving the initial impression of a young adult book (which this definitely is not!). A professional design would boost the book’s immediate impact status for potential readers.