The Pirate's Daughter, by Margaret Cezair-Thompson. Unbridled Books, 2007

This is the story of Ida, a fictional Jamaican girl, her relationship with Erroll Flynn and their illigitimate daughter, May. It is set in Port Antonio, Jamaica, where Flynn lived in the '50s while trying to rebuild his reputation as an actor. I picked it up because the author is Jamaican, and because I have visited many of the places where the book's action takes place.

Critics have faulted Cezair-Thompson for changing the viewpoint of the book in the middle from that of Ida, the mother, to that of May, the daughter, saying it interrupted the energy and potential power of the narrative. And certainly Ida is a very strong and vibrant character in the first half, who becomes just a part of the background noise in the second half.

I freely admit I wasn't reading this book for the story, but instead, for the local details and history. About 3 years ago, I revisited Port Antonio with my Jamaican cousin and re-learned some of the history of the area. The details of place and person were delightful; the Jamaican dialect brought back memories of the two summers my family spent there as kids; and the vicarious view into the life of Flynn and his impact on the economy of Port Antonio made me want to learn more about both. So, for me, the novel was a success.