Book Review: Pirate Queens

Rebecca Alexandra Simon ~ Pirate Queens


Between August and October 1720, two female pirates named Anne Bonny and Mary Read terrorized the Caribbean in and around Jamaica. Despite their short career, they became two of the most notorious pirates during the height of the eighteenth-century Golden Age of Piracy.

In a world dominated by men, they became infamous for their bravery, cruelty and unwavering determination to escape the social constraints placed on women during that time. Despite their infamy, mystery shrouds their lives before they became pirates. Their biographies were recorded in Captain Charles Johnson’s 1724 book, A General History of the Pyrates, depicting the two women as illegitimate women raised by men who, against insurmountable odds, crossed paths in Nassau and became pirates together.

But how much is fact versus fiction?


When I was little I dressed as Anne Bonny for a history day at school. Nobody knew who she was – not even the teachers!

In recent years, pirates have become rather glamourised, but they’ve always held a fascination for me. And yes, I was slightly obsessed with Pirates of the Caribbean when it came out!

Rebecca Alexandra Simon however is an actual expert and has taken on the daunting task of writing a biography for two female pirates.

Despite limited information (including sources that are likely fiction), Simon manages to weave an engaging story that is both rich and vivid.

Not only does the book look at Mary and Anne’s journey into piracy, it explores their later life, as well as women’s role in society.

There is some repetition and it is speculative, due to the lack of information available, but Simon has been thorough in her research and overall it’s a fantastic insight into two brave and unique women.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thanks to Pen & Sword for my copy of the book. Opinions my own.

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