Book Review: The Pirate Queen – A Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the lucky winner.

I won! I won! I was so excited, I could hardly contain myself. Not just one, but two copies of a book called The Pirate Queen. I don’t think I’ve won a single giveaway before this year, and then I won 3 in a just a few months. Thrilling!

Plus, this was supposed to be such a fun summer read, according to the review at 5 minutes for books. I was delighted. I planned to read one copy and offer the other as a giveaway here, on 1SentenceDiary.

You what they say about the best laid plans? Well, I think they were referring to me. The problem is, I didn’t think the book was that great. And I’m far too honest to mislead you about that.

I asked my Facebook fans for suggestions, and got two ideas. One: be honest about my opinion of the book, but still offer it as a giveaway. Or, Two: just donate the books to charity. I’ve decided to do both, since I have two copies. (Details on the giveaway are at the bottom of this post.)

In the meantime, let me tell you about the book: The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman.

The story takes place in the southern U.S., amidst the trappings of wealth. The heroine of the story, Saphora, lives a life of luxury that begets envy in all her so-called friends, but she is not a happy woman. Her husband laughingly tells her, “I always win.” He is genteel and calm, but he always gets his way, seemingly uninterested in what Saphora wants or needs. He is an admitted philanderer and has been for most of their 30-year marriage.

She prepares to leave him, but just as she’s packing her bag he comes home unexpectedly early and breaks the news: he’s dying. Their relationship is such that he doesn’t even tell her what he is dying from.

The story is ostensibly about how this devastating news and the short time he has left bring them together. Saphora, who thought she wanted to be alone, ends up surrounded by family, neighbors, and a few strays, and learns that she likes it that way. Her husband also apologizes for his misbehavior — which seems to make everything suddenly alright between them.

I guess, truth be told, I didn’t have a lot of compassion or empathy for either Saphora or her husband. In addition, I found the “transformation” of their relationship to be too simplistically described. It’s not that I think relationships can’t be transformed. I just didn’t buy this particular metamorphosis, as it seemed very shallow.

One more complaint: there are some very awkward passages where I couldn’t figure out who was speaking which line. In other places, small things seemed to happen out of order. I am neither a novelist nor a writing expert, but it occurs to me that perhaps the editing could have been better.

All in all, I was enthusiastic about the idea of the story, but the reality of the book didn’t live up to my expectations.

Still interested in winning a copy of the book? I’m sorry if I’ve scared you off. Obviously, from the glowing reviews, plenty of other people had a very different opinion.

To enter to win this book, leave a comment below and tell me about your favorite summer reading book. Be sure to use a valid e-mail address in the form so that I’ll be able to reach you if you win.

I will pick a winner using on Friday, Sept. 10. Please enter only once, U.S. residents only.

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the lucky winner.

And if you’ve read The Pirate Queen I would love to know what you thought of it!

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15 Responses to Book Review: The Pirate Queen – A Giveaway

  1. Chris Jager says:

    Hi Barb, thanks for your comment on my review. I am glad you were able to disagree with me. That is what makes the world go around. At least the fiction readers world. 🙂

    It makes for a great discussions about books, agreeing to disagree.

  2. Good review!)
    I agree with Chris, all to often you get a book review that are all glowing. It’s tough to be critical and very tough to admit when you don’t like someones work.
    I had SO many summer reads that I loved but this was the most intelligent moving book I read:
    ‘My Stroke of Insight’ by Jill Taylor Bolte. It’s about a brain scientist who has a stroke. She documents the stroke stage by stage and then goes into her recovery. It came out a few years ago and you can her an interview with her at:

  3. Cyndel says:

    I’ll give the book a try if I win! It actually sounds like something my mom would like, so maybe I could pass it on to her after I’m done. My favorite summer reads were (I can never pick just one): Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver and My Life in France by Julia Child.

  4. Quite a dilemma! How fun of you to pass one book along.

    It IS harder to convince people that they might want to win a book if you are lukewarm about it (or don’t like it at all). We’ve learned that at 5M4B. Of course we want to be honest, but we’ve found that a book we are truly excited about DOES generate more interest, so we usually reserve the final call about whether or not we offer a giveaway until we see if we like it.

    In the case of the Pirate Queen, I actually read Lisa’s review, and she seemed so excited about it, that I asked if she could try to get a giveaway.

    And that’s another good thing about giving a book away — everyone is different, so books that don’t do it for me, are a perfect fit for someone else.

    Thanks for linking up!

  5. Bluestocking says:

    Huh, I don’t think this is my cup of tea, but it sounds interesting.


  6. Well, I would be interesting in having my name thrown into the hat to read this one! I read Lisa’s review and tend to like the same things she does.

    At the same time, you win some you lose some (har, har) and I’m glad you decided to share your honest thoughts about the book!

  7. (Oops. Delete this comment but I forgot to tell you my favorite summer read! Summer at Tiffany was a huge favorite of mine!)

  8. Well, I love to read and I like almost everything so I figure I might as well enter to win. 🙂 I’m sort of confused on the idea of a “summer book.” I don’t know what makes something a summer book. But I read The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks this summer and I really enjoyed it. 🙂

    • @Upstatemomof3: I think of a “summer book” as one that is not too heavy or difficult, but rather something that pulls you along and makes you want to read it. It comes from the (long-ago!) time when I was in school — we had a lot of assigned reading during the school year, and during the summer we could read whatever we wanted. So a “summer book” is one you choose just because you *want* to read it.
      At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😀

  9. Stephanie says:

    Just stumbled across your blog. I like your one-sentence diary idea! Great inspiration to all of us overly busy people who don’t want to forget to enjoy the little things!

    I’d give this book a try. I’ve been revisiting a lot of books from my childhood this summer. Just got finished reading Island of the Blue Dolphins 🙂 Love that book!

  10. I love an honest review! It spares us wasted time reading something that we either wouldn’t be interested in or don’t believe in. So your review is just as valuable as one for a book that is great. Thanks.

  11. Barbara H. says:

    I agree that honest reviews are best. When I skim someone’s blog and every review is a glowing, excited approval, it makes me think maybe the person is just advertising.

    I agree with Jennifer, too, that we’re all so different that books that don’t do anything for one person might be liked by someone else.

    After some communication with the author and reading on her site how she came to write the book, I felt I did understand it better and appreciate it more. On the other hand, the story probably shouldn’t be such that a reader has to do that — it should be able to stand alone.

    I think forgiveness is a valuable action in life ad in the Scriptures. I don’t think it means that the action didn’t hurt or that it didn’t matter. but that it did matter, yet I am not holding it against that person any more. I am so grateful for God’s forgiveness of me!

  12. Stephanie says:

    Hey Barb! Thanks for the book.

    Actually, I did enjoy it. I agree with your critiques of the technical part of the book. Could have used some better editing. There were some parts where I was like…wait, she’s crying? How’d I miss that? The author wasn’t always descriptive enough to paint the scene as I would have liked it.
    However, the storyline I did like. Maybe I felt like I could relate to Saphora – being in a situation that you almost left, and having it change you for the better. The resolution scene between her and her husband was a little too short and unrealistic IMO, but I think she’d been coming to that point before they talked. I suppose that when a loved one is near death, most people become more focused on the important things, rather than holding on to pain and pointing out flaws.
    I really enjoyed watching her attitude change as the story progressed, as well as her relationship with Tobias, and overall was happy with the book. To each her own, I guess 🙂

    Thanks again!

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