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What if....?

The Pirate's Daughter - Margaret Cezair-Thompson

I listened to the abridged audio-book version of this novel and, judging by other people's comments about the book being too long and dragging, that was probably a good choice. I really enjoyed my version and was quickly immersed in the relationship between sixteen-year-old Ida and the charismatic Errol Flynn. (I had to Google him, just to see if he was as good looking as everyone made out.) I also benefited from having the Jamaican dialect read to me correctly, which was much more seamless than trying to read it colloquially.

This is one of those books where a real life character is involved, living on an Island where he landed after his boat was washed ashore in 1946. However, he did not meet a coloured Jamaican girl named Ida and they did not have a daughter (May). Sort of like a 'what-if' tale. But it was a good basis for a story about glamour, aspirations for something better and the fall-out. It also covered an interesting period of Jamaica's history.

Ida is the daughter of a mixed marriage and her father, Eli, becomes indispensable to Errol when he arrives on the island. He tells her about this character from Hollywood and she can't wait to meet him. Errol is in trouble back home, for dallying with under-age girls, so he is in no hurry to return. It is not hard to imagine that Ida might have caught his eye.

Their daughter May, however, only meets her father once, and she is raised partly by Ida and partly by foster parents while Ida works away from home. This book is her retelling of her life story - daughter of the swashbuckling pirate, Errol Flynn.