Blackbeard’s Daughter – Book Review

Dear swashbucklers,

Recently I had the opportunity to read an interesting story from author, Diana Strenka. Her  version of how Blackbeard the pirate came to be. The story is told by his daughter, Margaret Teach. Edward Teach is her Father, Blackbeard.

Edward is the son of a noble England family. Wealthy owners of a shipping company. From a young age, Edward was groomed to carry on the family business. A legacy he hated and had no intension to fulfill. He longed to sail the open seas. Free of the scheduled life that chained him. They lived in a mansion on the English coast. He calls it a dungeon of doom.

Blackbeard's DaughterOne day he told his father, “I wish I could be a sailor.”

“Get that foolishness out of your head.” His Father hired Elid to watch, care, and educate him. Elid was well traveled. He educates Edward in Latin, which he hated. He did like the lavish, evening parties at the Teach mansion. Edward is five. He was forbidden to attend the parties by Father until his tenth birthday.

Once Edward defied his Father and snuck down and attended a party. Of course he was caught. Resulting in a severe whipping by Father on his back. Elid received a severe paddling. That night changed relationships. Elid and Edward harbored deep grudges against Father. Edward dreamed of his escape to the open seas.

After that night Elid has continual nightmares. During one, he accidently injures Edward, dislocating his arm. His Father kills Elid. Stabs him to death. Later, Edward steals the knife, still covered in Elid’s blood.

Edward’s new educators are two young attorneys. He turns ten. That night he attends the party and other festivities for the first time.

Two years later, Edward has been mated with Eleanor Stanley. His parent’s decision. She’s beautiful, ocean blue eyes, long curly blond hair. They are to be married on Edward’s seventeenth birthday, in five years.

Grandfather has a mistress, Elizabeth. He doesn’t love his wife. That’s why he’s always gone. While on route to Elizabeth’s home, Again,  Grandfather is murdered by Samuel, one of Elid’s relatives. He stabbed him in the chest. He never believed the story of Elid mysteriously sailing back to his hometown in France. Samuel was later hanged for the crime.

Grandfather’s will left nearly the entire fortune to Edward. Small pensions to Grandmother, Elizabeth and her future daughter.

On his 17th birthday, Edward and Eleanor are married. A splendid affair. He sold the shipping company. Wanting no part of the family business. Grandmother died several months later.

A year later, Margaret Teach is born.  The year, 1698. Soon Edward purchases a vessel, “The Midnight Rose.” He spends more and more time at sea.

Edward wants to sail for the colonies. Across the ocean to the Province of Carolina. Eleanor doesn’t want to go. She wants Margaret to receive a proper education. He gives up his dream for years.

Then he goes away to sea for years. When he returns, she agrees to sail to America. The year, 1707. They sold their mansion. A few servants accompany them on their journey.             They loaded their belongings on the ship. “Goodbye England! Goodbye forever!” They sailed away. The ship has rats, they quickly discover.

On the ship, Margaret meets Jack. He’s going to New York to be an actor. His parents are dead. His aunt, Emma Kingston, lives in New York. He’s ten. He and Margaret touched a rat. They both became sick from the fever and rash. Jack dies. The sailors buried him at sea. Margaret was horrified and heartbroken.  She recovered from the fever.

“Land, ho!” They arrive in America.  Edward takes his family to see Lady Bethany Teach, his aunt. The next day, she holds a grand ball to introduce her family to the neighbors. She begins building a plantation for them seven miles west of there. They live with her for months while the construction goes on.

On a cool day in October, their home is ready. They would never see Aunt Bethany again, as they moved. Their new home; white picked fencing, iron gate, brick sidewalk, blue house, wrap-around porch, crimson carpets, bedrooms upstairs. A true paradise.

Queen Anne’s War has begun in the Province of Carolina. A battle over land. The Indians are attacking. Aunt Bethany’s home was ransacked. She fled to England.

Edward and Eleanor are expecting their second child. Soon, the war comes to their home. The Indians attack. Eleanor and Margaret are captured while Edward is wounded. He’s somewhere else. They escape the Indians and are captured by the Spanish. She has a miscarriage, lost the baby. Then released back into the forest by the Spanish soldiers.

Later, Indians took them in. During a Spanish soldier attack, Eleanor is killed. Margaret is the only survivor. The soldiers prepare to execute Margaret as a traitor. Edward arrives. Kills them all, saves his daughter. He picks up Eleanor’s dead body. “We’re leaving.” They walk home.

Later at home, they buried her on their property. The home was ransacked by Indians. Esther was hiding in the cellar. Edward, Margaret, and Esther decided to move south. They walked away. Selling would take too long. They move to a town called Bath, North Carolina. Margaret is eleven.

On route to Bath, in a tavern, Esther is raped. She’s 25. Soon they reach their destination, Bath. Edward finds a home, fancy and spacious. Soon, they purchase slaves at an auction. Also farm animals. He hires a governess, Mistress Ashley to educate Margaret. She learns the normal things including French and nursing.

After purchasing a boat, Edward leaves Margaret in charge and goes back to sea. Esther is pregnant. Edward is the father.  When he returns from sea, Margaret insists they marry.

Edward goes back to sea for many months. He returns with a beard. He’s there for the birth.

She has a boy. Name’s him Thomas. He has a lung disorder. Fights for his life. The condition improves with time.

Esther tells Edward to leave. She’s had enough of his leaving for long periods of time to go off to sea. He leaves. Goes back to sea.

A year later. Edward returns from sea. He has a thick beard. He tells Margaret he’s a pirate.

Two years later, Esther dies from consumption. She’s buried on their property. Not allowed in a cemetery. 1716.

Edward is at sea again. He leaves letters and gold coins in a box at the seashore under a mossy stone for Margaret. They communicate this way for a long time. “Tell everyone I have died. Make up an excuse.” She tells everyone he drowned at sea. They have a funeral.

In another letter, months later, Edward joined Captain Hornigold’s crew. He’s a pirate. A life-long dream fulfilled!  Sailing the Bahama coastline. Fighting the British.  He has a long, dark, beard.

Margaret wants her and Thomas to join him at sea. She fears for his life.

Months later, Edward writes back. He’s a ship captain now.  At first he says no, no life for a young lady and boy. But later reconsiders. He’ll be back the first of November to pick them up. They will be pirates on his sloop.

Daniel, her steady, proposes to Margaret as she prepares to sail. She says, “Yes.” But wait until they sail. She wants her dad’s blessing.

In November, Edward’s beard is long and black. Bradded at the bottom. Looks like the devil himself. Blackbeard knows Daniel. He’s married. She breaks off the engagement. Daniel yells, “Blackbeard is hear!”  Blackbeard shoots him in the stomach. The ship sails.

Margaret and Thomas settle into life as pirates. Her Dad gives her shooting and sword lessons.

Robert Fox is a trained doctor onboard the ship. He works with Margaret. They become very close.

There are battles at sea. Blackbeard relegated a new ship. “Queen Anne’s Revenge.” Larger and grander. More crew.

Before long, Robert proposes. They are married in a week. Blackbeard performs the simple ceremony. Miss Margaret Fox. After months, she’s pregnant.

Months later, the ship is attacked by English soldiers. Margaret is injured. Loses her baby. She named him Jonathan. Robert is captured. She believes he’s dead. She vows to unleash all hell on the men who killed her family.

Blackbeard attacks an English Base. Margaret fights like a cruel, murderous, woman. She loved killing men. A trophy rage.

Months later, they face an English fleet of ships. Blackbeard is the target. He is killed. Beheaded by sword.

Margaret and Thomas are captured. The English will sell off Blackbeard’s property in Bath, North Carolina. The slaves as well. The English release her.

Later, on the shore, next to the mossy stone, she reads a letter that Edward had given her to read in case he died. He included a treasure map. He has amassed a treasure for her. Blackbeard’s treasure. The treasure was buried there, under the stone.

At nightfall, they began to dig. Robert shows up and helps them dig. He also received a letter from Blackbeard. They plan to have another child in time. They unearth a rusty chest. It was filled with personal artifacts, jewels, gold and silver coins. A million pounds of gold coins alone.

Margaret bought back her family that the English sold into slavery, and moved to New York.

The End.

I found Blackbeard’s Daughter to be an interesting story.  In my opinion, author Diana Strenka did a good writing the book.

I found Edward Teach, Blackbeard, to be a very difficult person to like. I also would have liked it better if Margaret Teach had of followed in her father’s footsteps—continued as a pirate after her Father’s death. To me that would have followed the story line better than moving to New York. But that’s just me.

Overall I enjoyed the book. I read Blackbeard’s Daughter  using my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

My rating: 5 stars

May good fortune guide your path.

J.A. Ireland

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