This inspired novel sings with the lilting voices of the islanders, the magical landscape a background for unfolding Jamaican history and the indelible footprint of a movie star who purchases an island paradise, where he lives like a god among mortals.
By 1946, Errol Flynn has long traded on his movie star glamour, sailing into Port Antonio, Jamaica, where he falls in love with the country and Navy Island, his personal estate. A local businessman, Eli Joseph, becomes a friend and confidant, the men sharing hours of conversation and camaraderie.
At thirteen, Eliís daughter, Ida, falls hopelessly in love with the movie idol, a larger-than-life rogue. At fifteen, Ida is pregnant with Flynnís child. Fearing litigation, Flynn ignores Idaís plight, sailing away on the Zaca. Ida struggles to raise her daughter, May, and care for her ill father; when she has an opportunity to work in New York, she is unable to resist, leaving May and Eli in the care of local residents.
Ida is unable to earn enough to bring May to New York, but fortune smiles on her in a chance encounter with an old friend from Flynnís Navy Island stay, the enigmatic Baron Karl von Ausberg, who dabbles in collectibles and shipwrecks. Ida returns to Port Antonio a baronís wife, three-year-old May replaced by a taciturn six-year-old with trust issues. Suffering in her motherís absence, May has been taunted and humiliated by local children.
Settling in Port Antonio with her family, Ida is acutely aware that Errol is but a boat ride away, nurturing secret fantasies she deftly conceals from Karl. After Flynnís untimely death, Karl purchases Navy Island, the estate haunted by Flynnís presence. At least May enjoys a safe, if temporary haven, although great changes loom, political unrest a hallmark of the coming years of Jamaican independence, from post-World War II to Jamaicaís independence from Britain and chaotic struggle toward self-rule.
Even in death, Flynn dominates Bella Vista, particularly for Ida. In the shadow of her motherís beauty, a solitary May writes of pirates and wenches, entrenched in the lore of the islands. The tenor of Karl and Idaís marriage, taxed by unresolved issues, is reflected in Mayís impulsive behavior, strong-willed as her father.
While Jamaica is caught in a generational struggle, those on Navy Island cling to the past, protected from the violence around them. The tension between mother and daughter has much to do with Idaís past and Mayís future, secluded on the island until one fateful night when Jamaicaís trouble touches even this wealthy family.
Painted on a broad canvas, Cezair-Thompsonís portrait of characters acting out their destiny against a countryís growing pains is rich with island history, a cobbled-together family and a tormented young woman addicted to bad choices saved by an abiding love of place. The Pirate's Daughter is a great adventure - passion, the danger, the music and the extraordinary characters peopling Ida and Mayís world.