Review: The Pirate Captain’s Daughter by Eve Bunting


Title: The Pirate Captain’s Daughter

Author: Eve Bunting

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

ISBN: 978-1585365258


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

At age fifteen, Catherine’s life is about to change. Her mother has just died and Catherine can’t stand the thought of being sent to live with her aunt in Boston. She longs for a life of adventure.

After she discovers her father’s secret life as captain of the pirate ship Reprisal, her only thoughts are to join him on the high seas. Catherine imagines a life of sailing the blue waters of the Caribbean, the wind whipping at her back. She’s heard tales of bloodshed and brutality but her father’s ship would never be like that.

Catherine convinces her father to let her join him, disguised as a boy. But once the  Reprisal sets sail, she finds life aboard a pirate ship is not for the faint of heart. If her secret is uncovered, punishment will be swift and brutal.


Wow.  The Pirate Captain’s Daughter was a surprise.  This book tells it like it is – it doesn’t romanticize pirates, and there is no Jack Sparrow to be found anywhere in these pages.  A pirate’s life was not glamorous, and it certainly wasn’t a bunch of fun and games.  Pillaging other ships was dangerous work, and Catherine has to avoid cannon balls and bullets while her father’s crew was attacking another ship.  Cleanliness is a thing of the past, and the food – let’s just say the less said about the weevil infested bread, the better.  Don’t forget about the giant rats hiding below-decks, and the fleas and the cockroaches.  Yeah, this is not my idea of a fun time.

Catherine convinces her father to let her join his pirate crew after her mother dies.  Her father is reluctant, because the other pirates are superstitious and believe that women bring nothing but bad luck out at sea.  If her identity is discovered, both of their lives will be in danger.  He finally relents, and Catherine is introduced to a world far different than anything she had ever imagined.  There is no privacy, some of her crew-mates are less than friendly, and her father seems like a completely different person.  

A quick but very intense read, The Pirate Captain’s Daughter held me spellbound.  I couldn’t put it down, and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it.  Though I thought Catherine was foolish for getting herself into such a precarious situation, I liked her and I liked her voice.  She tells it like it is, and she doesn’t hold much back.  There is conflict on the ship, with two pirates in particular, and they both bring disaster to her life.  They terrify her, but she knows that if she shows them how intimidated they make her feel they will bully her mercilessly the entire voyage. 

For a nitty-gritty taste of a pirate’s life, give this book a chance.  It’s a quick read with plenty of danger, action, and suspense.  There is even a tiny touch of romance thrown in for good measure.  I am hoping for a sequel, because I want to see what’s next for Catherine.

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by publisher