Author: Ralph E. Jarrells
Genre: Historical Fiction
Charles Town, South Carolina. The Year of our Lord 1755.
It was rare for a woman, any woman, much less a silver-haired, 56-year-old woman, to own and manage a large plantation.
But then, Anne Cormac was a rare woman.
In addition to her other business and philanthropic enterprises, Anne Cormac owned and operated the highly successful Goose Creek Plantation—400 acres of prime farmland which produced fine, long-strand cotton, a substantial indigo crop, rice, fodder for the animals and vegetables for her household. Miss Anne, as she was known, was a fixture of Charles Town society. She was the money behind the local banks and factors who managed the trade through the Charles Town port. And she was the driving force in the development of Charles Town’s Cormac Theater, renowned for rivaling the finest theaters in England and staging the best Shakespearean productions in the New World.
While Anne Cormac began and ended her life with that particular name, it was the name she used in the in-between time for which she was, and is, most widely known. For in her impetuous youth, Anne Cormac was known as:
Anne Bonny, the world’s first female pirate.
This is her story. In her own words.
Reviewer: Beverly Laude
I have always wondered about the so-called first female pirate, Anne Bonny Cormac. This was an interesting book, and I enjoyed reading it. Anne was a true lady, raised on a plantation in South Carolina. In her later years, she became a fixture of society and the driving force behind the establishment of a theater in Charles Town that rivaled the finest in England.
However, Anne had a fiery temper to match her red hair, and in her younger days, she became obsessed with the life of piracy. She eventually fell in love with a pirate named James Bonny, and so started the pirate phase of her life. The tales of her life as a pirate were entertaining, educational, and often unbelievable. The book is full of references to robbery, murder, prostitution, same-sex relationships, and sword fights. Still, none of this is told in a really graphic manner. The author has a couple of interludes, where he explains the history of piracy and the culture of the times. I also appreciated the glossary at the end with the "pirate vocabulary."
Anne spent time in prison due to her participation in pirate activities. In her own words, "If you play with the devil, you have to pay the devil." "Women were considered chattel or property." The parts of the book that focused on Anne's pirate days, with their vivid descriptions of life aboard ship and subsequent battles, were the best parts of the book.
I did have a few issues with the book. The author chose to use the device of the main character telling her story to her granddaughter, Annie. At first, this seemed to work pretty well, but I think I would have preferred just a straight telling of the story instead of these storytellings. The descriptions of the set-up to these storytelling sessions became repetitive, in my honest opinion. They really didn't add much to the book. The book became as much a tale of life on a Southern plantation in the late 1700s as it was a story about Anne's pirate days. The writing style of the book made it seem like it was written for a younger audience, but because of the subject matter, that didn't really fit.
Whether or not this book is factual, it is still an entertaining book. It is well-written and fast-paced, and it is obvious that the author did a lot of research into the story. If you are at all interested in pirates or piracy, I would say that this is a good starting point to get an idea of the life of a pirate. I know that I will probably read more books about the era since this book has piqued my interest.
Reviewer: Kandace Perry
Fiery Red Hair...Emerald Green Eyes and A Vicious Irish Temper by Ralph Jarrells is a captivating and intriguing novel for anyone who enjoys daring adventure and bold romantic interludes.
Fiery Red Hair is the portrayal of the life of Anne Bonny, (the world's first female pirate). Jarrells weaves her heartache and betrayal, her disastrous misfortunes and hard earned triumphs seamlessly through the pages. Bonny loved and lost time and time again but eventually found her way home, discovered her inner strength and her true purpose in life.
Life is about choices, Bonny made some disastrous ones but she learned from them and eventually found stability, security and her place in society.... if only she had discovered God's unconditional love, forgiveness and peace than her life would have been truly transformed.
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