Friday, September 07, 2012

The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman

From the Publisher: 
Treasure 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?

I must confess that I had requested this book from WaterBrook and it had been lanquishing away in my drafts folder. Raise your hand, bloggers, if this has ever happened to you?

It's very rare that I seek out contemporary Christian writers with a more literary scope ( as I usually prefer the historical romance genre of the CBA); nonetheless, the title intrigued me, calling to mind the famed Grace O'Malley of yesteryear, and a review I had read made me think that Hickman was a talented spinner (if imperfect) of words I should seek out.

I am glad I did.  What is lacking in the CBA are more concise female writers who delve deeply into the psyche of family, hope, faith and traumas (large and small) without shrouding them in romance. Saphora's journey recalls Mrs. Dalloway or the tragic heroine of Kate Chopin's "The Awakening." In short, a woman who wants to buy the flowers herself: surrounded by the typified beauty of a life rigidly vacant life to fill her soul.  When an unexpected arrival and deafening news shatter her best laid plans, Saphora is forced to become giver and forgiver: to dig deep to find compassion in a deep well that will force her to leave behind her plan for new paradise.

Readers, such as myself, may not agree with all of Saphora's decisions may be infuriated by her, her choices and even by her husband and his past; but I wonder how often God is infuriated by us and true character studies take us beyond the realm of simply "likeable" and into the vortex of something deeper and more humane.  

There are some issues of voice here and a penchant for redundancy; but I applaud effort.

This better-late-than-never-review was made possibly by the WaterBrook Blogging for Books program from which I received a copy for review.

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