Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review: "Theodosia and the Pirates", by Aya Katz

Here's another of Aya Katz's remarkable historical novels which use the point-of-view of offbeat characters, with their fitting contemporary quirks and biases, to illuminate odd corners of history.  In this case Katz's protagonist is Theodosia Burr Alston, the miserably neurotic daughter of Aaron Burr, who doesn't just disappear at sea after her son's death but takes up with the privateer ("I am not a pirate!") Jean Lafitte -- and from this viewpoint reveals odd and fascinating details of politics in the southern states during the War of 1812.  I'll bet your high-school history classes never mentioned that America's early navy owed more to pirates -- or privateers, depending on your viewpoint -- than to John Paul Jones. 

Equally fascinating are the political intrigues between the freewheeling settlers of the gulf coast and the woefully inept officials of the new American republic.  The story is studded with examples of actual letters from the historical characters, giving unique insights into the volatile society of early America with its shifting relationships between the sexes, the races, and the influences of the neighboring European empires.  And of course, this being a historical Romance, there's plenty of good rampant sex. 

One could make minor quibbles: there are occasional typographical errors, and the Impressionistic-painting cover would have done better within a solid frame, but none of these distract from the pace and flow of the story.  Altogether, this is a complex and fascinating novel from a unique perspective.  I, for one, can't wait for the sequel.

--Leslie <;)))><              


Anonymous said...

I'd be interested to see it, but I would question the idea that Theodosia Burr Alston was neurotic. At the end of her life she was in a bad way mentally, but she'd just lost her child.

And I think if I could bring him back to life, you and Aaron Burr would get along famously. He was extremely feminist for his time, and had charm by the bucket according to contemporary sources.

Prof. Godel Fishbreath, Otter said...

It looks like it is expensive. But her earlier books, also expensive, look good.
I wish that my library had these, but two extensive county library systems did not respond to her name.

Prof. Godel Fishbreath, Otter said...

And there seem to be two such titles: vs spain and vs england.

Leslie Fish said...

Hi, Prof. This is the first book, "vs. England".

Unknown said...

Well worth it at any price.