cover image The Ballad of Jacquotte Delahaye

The Ballad of Jacquotte Delahaye

Briony Cameron. Atria, $27.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-6680-5102-3

Cameron debuts with an exciting and multidimensional story inspired by the women pirates who sailed the Caribbean in the 17th century. Jacquotte Delahaye, who is of Haitian and French descent, defies societal gender norms by learning to become a skilled shipwright in Yaquimo, Santo Domingo. Her occupation nurtures her soul as she copes with an alcoholic father, who has been thrown out of the French aristocracy, and cares for her disabled younger brother, who has trouble sleeping through the night. After her nefarious childhood friend Florian kills her father and the island’s governor during a coup, Jacquotte flees with a group of refugees including a young woman named Teresa. They set sail on the Dorado, the ship Jacquotte had been working on, but are captured at sea by the loathsome Captain Blackhand, who makes them indentured servants aboard his pirate ship The Marauder. Though Jacquotte didn’t choose the life of a pirate, she embraces it as a path toward regaining her freedom. Cameron further disrupts the typically male domain of pirate stories by portraying Jacquotte’s love for Teresa, who turns out to be the governor’s widow. There are many thrilling fight scenes, especially after Blackhand hatches a plan to steal a shipment of precious jewels, but the heart of the novel lies with Jacquotte, whose honor, passion, and tenacity leap off the page. This fiery feminist adventure shows what legends are made of. Agent: Laurie Robertson, PFD. (June)