Review by Booklist Review
After exploring the lives of famous pirates' wives in The Pirate Next Door (2017), Geanacopoulos delves deeper into the life of Sara Kidd, the wife of one of history's most famous pirates, William Kidd. The daughter of a mariner who brought his family from England to America in the late seventeenth century, at 21, Sarah was already twice-widowed when she married Captain William Kidd in 1691, a mere two days after the death of her second husband. Sarah and William's union was a love match, resulting in the birth of two daughters before Kidd was tasked with hunting down pirates by the incoming governor of New York, the feckless Lord Bellomont, in 1695. What was supposed to be a year-long mission stretched into three disastrous years plagued by mutiny, betrayal, and plunder. When Kidd returned to America, Sarah joined him on his ship, both of them intent on finding a way to save Kidd from being charged with piracy. Geanacopoulos offers a fascinating look at the golden age of piracy while rendering Sarah's world and her plight in vibrant detail.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Historian Geanacopoulos (The Pirate Next Door) delivers a colorful biography of Sarah Kidd née Bradley, the wife and "closest confidante" of privateer William Kidd. The daughter of a widowed sea captain, Sarah emigrated from England to New York with her family in 1684. Her father partnered with a wealthy merchant named William Cox and arranged Cox's marriage to Sarah. Though Cox helped Sarah open a shop for "imported high-end goods" in Manhattan, she was not entitled to it when he died in 1689. Recognizing that "a woman's place in colonial society was through her husband," Sarah quickly remarried but soon met and fell in love with Captain Kidd, a privateer "hired to legally plunder and seize enemy French ships." After her second husband's death, Sarah and Kidd married, and he acquired a lucrative commission to hunt French ships and pirates in the Indian Ocean. The mission proved to be his downfall, however, when he was convicted of "turning pirate" and hanged in 1701; Sarah took the location of Kidd's buried treasure to her death 40 years later. Though Sarah remains a somewhat enigmatic figure, Geanacopoulos packs the narrative with intriguing details about piracy and privateering in colonial America. This seafaring tale fascinates. Agent: Katherine Flynn, Kneerim & Williams Agency. (Nov.)
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Review by Library Journal Review
In her previous book, Geanacopoulos (The Pirate Next Door) looked at the family lives of four American pirates, including Captain William Kidd. She continues that theme in this book with a deep dive into the life of his wife, Sarah Kidd (1670--1744). Born Sarah Bradley, she had already established herself in New York as a socialite and enterprising merchant before she met William. He was her third husband, a well-known war hero, and wealthy. He was later charged with murder and piracy, and she fought to clear his name and obtain a pardon for him. These efforts proved futile, but it is believed that she kept the secret of where he'd buried his greatest treasure, taking it with her to the grave. Geanacopoulos dispels many of the myths surrounding piracy, showing that it was often seen as an essential service to circumvent economically crippling taxes imposed by the English monarchy on their American colonies. VERDICT Engaging and well-paced. While geared toward a general audience, this work is well-grounded in scholarly research and will likely appeal to many: the armchair historian and those with an interest in the golden age of piracy, colonial New York, and social and women's histories.--Crystal Goldman
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
The life of a pirate's wife who died one of the wealthiest women in Britain's North American Colonies. Sarah Kidd (circa 1665-circa 1744) is no stranger to history. Neither is William Kidd, the sometime privateer, sometime pirate who roamed the seas relieving others of whatever goodies they were carrying onboard. Geanacopoulos draws on the tropes of bodice-rippers and historical fiction to get inside Sarah's head. "As she thought back over her life, not all of her memories were fond ones, especially the time when she was a pirate's wife," writes the author. "But now the memory of the hardships and heartbreak had softened and Sarah wouldn't have traded it for anything. She felt proud, very proud, to have been a pirate's wife and she wore the title as a badge of honor." During that time, Sarah, who finally became "a mother in her early twenties with her third husband," watched as her husband committed various acts of mayhem. "Special and mature beyond her years," she harbored many secrets, and the author throws red meat to buried-treasure fans by suggesting that after Kidd was executed for his crimes in 1701, Sarah took the location of the treasure to her grave. While the matter of that execution involved the complex mechanics of British politics, Geanacopoulos reduces it to yet more guesswork: Of Kidd's being measured for chains before being strung up on the gibbet, she writes, "This experience must have been terrifying and deeply depressing for him." Yes, so one would think, though the execution of her husband did clear the decks for Sarah to marry her fourth husband, a merchant who "quickly learned that beneath her hardened core and keen survival instincts she was lovely." In any event, writes the author, "the idea of becoming a stepfather to the children of a famous pirate was appealing." Unfortunately, most of the narrative is ham-fisted, and the prose is pedestrian. It's better to walk the plank than to try to get through this one. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.