Who hasn't thought about running away from it all? I really loved this book! The only thing I would say is do not read the questions at the end of the book until you're done- it ruins the very end. It's a great summer read with a happy ending. Enjoy!
Initially, I had a hard time getting into this novel. At first, I couldn't get past the names of "Saphora" and "Bender." Really. Their uptight names mirrored their uptight personalities. Bender, a successful plastic surgeon was arrogant, flashy with his money and not obliged in keeping his marriage vows. Saphora, the dutiful wife, kept a smile on her face while keeping up with a wealthy lifestyle. We meet her during a photo shoot for Southern Living Magazine at her home. Saphora seemed to trade her dignity for the life of ease. There comes a time when enough is enough. After being confronted with smiles and kindness from one of Bender's mistresses, Saphora packed her bags and planned to leave her husband, escaping to their vacation home in coastal North Carolina. But Bender's uncharacteristic early arrival home thwarts Saphora's escape. And what he tells her turns her life upside down--he has cancer.
The beginning of the story seemed cold and clinical. Yet as I kept reading, I started to see warmth emerge. I'm not sure if it was the author's writing style or that I became so engrossed with the characters that as their hearts softened, I began to warm up to them.
The couple decided to spend time together at their vacation home amongst the comings and goings of their children, their grandchildren and a special neighbor boy. Through this time of Bender's treatment, and removal from their pretentious life, the couple explores their relationship, and as death becomes a reality, regrets are expressed. We see Saphora become more independent and sure of herself, a long way from the silent, dutiful wife we first met.
This is a Christian fiction novel where the couple is not Christian. It is not until the reality of death closes around does Bender consider the possibility of an afterlife. Hickman uses flawed characters expressing that anyone can come to Christ, no matter their past. This novel is non-preachy and the main focus is not of Christianity, but the characters. It is a nice step away from formalistic Christian novels and a pleasure to see. Unless you're completely turned off by anything Christian, I think anyone who enjoys women's fiction will enjoy this one.
Saphora is a wife, mother and grandmother, married to Bender whose "life was summed up by the activity of ambitions rather than the depth of his character". Her plan to leave the philandering plastic surgeon is disrupted when he announces (literally as she is leaving) that he has been diagnosed with brain cancer. They move to their holiday home in Oriental on the Outer Banks of South Carolina, where the children and grandchildren come to visit. Their grandson, Eddie, stays with them, and through him they meet Jamie and her son, Tobias, also summer residents in the small town. Through a series of events, large and small, Saphora begins to rediscover their relationship as she cares for Bender.
The Pirate Queen focuses on the minutiae of detail in everyday life. While there are a couple of â€˜big drama' moments, the beauty of the writing is in the details and the everyday interactions. The story is not preachy (although Saphora does show a curiosity about or a desire for God that her husband does not share - she refers to him as someone whose "interest in religion was piqued only when he breathed a prayer" on the last hole of a round of golf). Yet it is Bender that develops the relationship with Rev John Mims, and who begins to read the Bible and ask questions.
As seems to be the trend for this genre, The Pirate Queen was all written from Saphora's point of view. It would have been nice to have a little variation, as although we clearly see Saphora's responses to different situations, by the end of the novel I felt that my view of some situations might have been clouded by her preconceptions. As Bender was sometimes portrayed as the villain of the piece, it would have been nice to have his point of view too.
The novel was not perfect. Character's names often annoy me, and Bender (apparently his mother's maiden name) is a name that has unappealing connotations that took me out of the story until I learned to read over it. At one point Saphora finds Bender's journal and begins to read it, but this is put down, forgotten and not referred to again, which I found strange. I also object to the analogy of Saphora's son as being â€˜as emotional as a woman'. That phrase implies that emotions are somehow inferior to being unemotional, which is something I cannot agree with.
Overall, this is an intriguing story with nuggets of wisdom interspersed throughout, in both the quotations at the beginning of each chapter, and in the story itself. The quotations are both pithy and relevant, and could be the subject of a whole discussion on their own. I suspect this is one of those books that can be read on many levels, with subsequent re-readings revealing different aspects of the story and the characters. Like many modern novels, this has a Reading Group guide at the end. The questions, like the book, will inspire a lot of discussion (and probably yet more questions_). I did enjoy The Pirate Queen, and will certainly look out for more titles by Patricia Hickman.
Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah for providing a free ebook for review.
The Pirate Queen, by Patricia Hickman, is one of the best books I've read in awhile. It's published by Waterbrook Press and I read it on the Nook Color.
This book hits on many topics such as: love, marriage, adultery and forgiveness. It also includes: coming to know Jesus in an intimate way, standing up for those who are unable to, and relationships with family and friends.
This would make an awesome Hallmark movie. I wouldn't be surprised to see it there one of these days. Just watch and see!
The main character in The Pirate Queen, Saphora, had her bags packed, ready to leave her husband, when her husband came home and uttered the words, "I'm dying." All their lives changed at that point - for the better.
The book is about love and forgiveness and is beautifully written. It's real. Not watered down fluff. Awesome, awesome, awesome! I was sad when the book ended.
This book started out with a socialite who doesn't think she loves her husband and finds out that he has a terminal disease. He wants her to care for him. I didn't care for the book. I couldn't relate to the characters. I didn't feel there was much of a spiritual emphasis to the book. In other books where one dies, I have some emotion...not the case for me with this one. It took me over a month to read this. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my review.