Book Review: The Pirate Queen

7 Aug

072002_w185Treasure is found in the most unlikely places.

The envy of all her friends, wife and mother Saphora Warren is the model of southern gentility and accomplishment. She lives in a beautiful Lake Norman home, and has raised three capable adult children. Her husband is a successful plastic surgeon–and a philanderer. It is for that reason that, after hosting a garden party for Southern Living magazine, Saphora packs her bags to escape the trappings of the picturesque-but-vacant life.

Saphora’s departure is interrupted by her husband Bender’s early arrival home, and his words that change her life forever: I’m dying.

Against her desires, Saphora agrees to take care of Bender as he fights his illness. They relocate, at his insistance, to their coastal home in Oriental—the same house she had chosen for her private getaway. When her idyllic retreat is overrun by her grown children, grandchildren, townspeople, relatives, and a precocious neighbor child, Saphora’s escape to paradise is anything but the life she had imagined. As she gropes for evidence of God’s presence amid the turmoil, can she discover that the richest treasures come in surprising packages?


24460Best-selling novelist Patricia Hickman has written 18 books for major publishers like Random House and Hachette Books. She weaves elements of faith and pathos throughout her family dramas with a compassion for her characters and an eye for the small miraculous details of life.

Her novels have twice won the Gold Medallion Reader’s Choice Award from Romantic Times. Patricia holds a MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte. She loves travel, hiking, biking, and visiting the southern landscapes that provide the backdrops for her novels. You can visit her here at Goodreads, through her official FB author page, or her website at She blogs at Village Writer.


My Impressions:

The Pirate Queen was Page Turners’ (my church book club) July selection. This contemporary women’s fiction novel by Patricia Hickman was given a unanimous thumbs up by our members. We loved the complex characters and issues that made up The Pirate Queen. A southern novel, this one will touch your heart and make you think.

Saphora Warren has a perspective on her life not really shared by those around her. Her picture perfect life, including her picture perfect home and husband, hides heartache, longing and regrets. Her attempt to escape is interrupted when her husband announces he has cancer. The oasis of emotional healing she had envisioned for her time spent at their beach house, is shattered with the inundation of family and their assorted baggage. But what Saphora thought she wanted is replaced with what she needed.

The Pirate Queen offers a lot to discuss — marriage, motherhood, family, illness, relationships. The characters are by turns earnest, exasperating and very real. Saphora’s transformation is the focus of the book, but other characters also stretch and grow. Secondary plots touched us as much as Saphora’s story. The setting of the novel is North Carolina, including a small coastal town. The soothing backdrop of the river and slower pace of the town is a good contrast to the chaos of Saphora’s life. There is heartbreak and heartache, but the novel ends with hope and a promise of the future.

If you are looking for women’s fiction that challenges you and will keep you thinking after the last page is read, then check out The Pirate Queen.


Great for Book Groups.

Audience: Adults

(I actually won this book in a contest. Thanks to Waterbrook for the copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

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