The Pirate’s Daughter

Written by Margaret Cezair-Thompson
Review by Cindy Vallar

Errol Flynn’s unexpected appearance in Jamaica is a dream come true for thirteen-year-old Ida Joseph, but three years pass before she finally becomes his lover. When she discovers she’s pregnant, she expects he will divorce his wife and marry her, but real life rarely turns out as expected. Although she feels betrayed and gets on with her life, she also comes to realize that Flynn will always haunt her.

The lack of work on Jamaica forces Ida to leave her daughter, May, and go to New York to find a job. While there, she meets Errol’s Austrian friend, Karl, and they wed. Eventually, Ida and Karl return to Jamaica, but many years have passed and Ida’s relationship with her daughter is strained. May knows who her father is, but he remains an enigma to her. When he visits the island one last time, the little girl contrives to meet him, but he is a stranger soon gone forever. As she grows, she forms a relationship of sorts with Karl, and when the Jamaican revolution and drug use in the seventies intrude into their tranquil lives, May must choose between Ida and Karl, while coming to terms with family secrets kept hidden for years.

Rather than a tale of a waning film star, this is the story of two women and how they come to terms with each other, the men in their lives, and themselves. While intriguing, the author tends to keep the reader at arm’s length from the action, and her unexpected point-of-view switches within scenes disrupt the story’s flow. Readers enamored with the Errol Flynn who played Captain Blood will probably not like him here, although the author depicts him as he truly was in later life. This story will haunt the reader long after it ends.