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The Pirate Queenby Patricia Hickman
Synopses & Reviews
My shell is not like this, I think. How untidy
it has become Blurred with moss, knobby
with barnacles, its shape is hardly recognizable
any more. Surely, it had a shape once. It has a
shape still in my mind. What is the shape of
ANNE MORROW LINDBERGH, Gift from the Sea
One might have observed that all of the right people had been invited to the Warren estate for the Southern Living shoot. The certainty of the Warrens’ happy existence on Lake Norman was firmly set in the minds of the departing guests. Undoubtedly, through the women present, the affair’s success spread off the estate and into the notable neighborhoods. The party had ended, leaving the catering help to stow away the perfectly selected china settings.
Saphora Warren pulled down the balloons, plucking them out of the air and then inserting a straight pin into the latex. As quickly as she dropped the dead latex remains, a teen boy she had hired to clean up after the lawn party picked them off the ground. He had trolled past her dock on his Jet Ski yesterday and, when he saw her sunning on her boat’s deck, had asked in vain for a cold beer.
Lake Norman’s shoreline lapped at the Warrens’ family boat in the distance, the mast a cross against a pale pink manse located transversely on the opposite harbor. One house sat like a relic on the Warrens’ end of the Peninsula, a reminder of the older ranch houses standing before the year the lake was put in. It was unseasonably hot for late June. The warm brown water turned red along the clay-brimmed lawns.
Several of the guests had driven family boats across the lake, arriving early for the Southern Living lawn party. Had not Saphora’s housekeeper, Tabitha, just led the women docking their motorboats and sailboats along the Warrens’ dock into the guest room near the swimming pool to slip into garden dresses and brush out their hair, matted down after a morning of tennis? But here the afternoon had been spilled like sweet tea poured out, the ladies already gathering in clusters to kiss good-bye and float back to their pretty houses across the lake.
Saphora noticed she had forgotten to shave her legs. She pulled down the hem of her skirt as if she were straightening it at the same second Abigail Weed, the journalist from Southern Living, noted a few more descriptive details about Saphora’s gardens, the patio containers
holding gold black-eyed Susans that turned open faced to the sun. Saphora was popping the balloons so methodically that Sherry, her cook and personal assistant, ran from the kitchen out onto the paved patio yelling, “What in the world?”
“It’s nothing,” said Abigail, taking over, speaking for Saphora, and familiar enough with running Southern Living lawn parties like productions that she said to Sherry, “Sherry, can you help Mrs. Warren?”
Sherry took the straight pin from her boss like she would a child who might hurt herself. “Miss Saphora, aren’t you the one to be doing that?” Sherry said, implying that Saphora should not do menial tasks like deflating balloons. But Saphora was not herself today,
and that accounted for her giddiness.
Abigail put down her laptop that
When her family, townspeople, relatives, and a precocious neighbor child overrun her idyllic retreat, Saphora's escape to paradise is anything but the life she had imagined.
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 ina 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 forSouthern Living magazine, Saphora packs her bags to escape the trappings of the picturesque-but-vacant life.
Saphora's departure is interrupted by herhusband 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 ashe 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 byher 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 presenceamid the turmoil, can she discover that the richest treasures come in surprising packages?
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
PATRICIA HICKMAN, author of acclaimed novel Painted Dresses, is an award-winner, speaker and humorist who has won two Silver Angel Awards for Excellence in Media as well as a Romantic Times Reader’s Choice Gold Award for her novel Katrina’s Wings. Patricia holds a master’s degree in creative writing from Queens University and enjoys biking, hiking, and mapping out the Southern towns where her novels are set.
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