Cover image for The sweet trade
The sweet trade
Garrett, Elizabeth, 1962-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Forge, 2001.
Physical Description:
399 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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Anne Bonny, a pampered Southern belle, hungers for a life more exciting and dangerous than running her father's household. When she convinces a hapless sailor to marry her and take her to Nassau, that seething cauldron of piracy, prostitution, and all things wicked, she alters the course of her life forever. . .Calico Jack Rackham, a devious pirate, returns to Nassau with hopes of accepting the governor's pardon and leaving the sweet trade. When he first lays eyes on Anne Bonny, however, he realizes that she is the one woman who could convince him to put aside his fear of the noose and take up piracy again, no matter what the consequences.Mary Read, a sensible Englishwoman who has been forced by circumstance to live as a man and earn her livelihood as a merchant sailor, must make a decision when her ship is overtaken by Calico Jack and she is invited to join his band of thieves. When she tastes the freedom and joy of a pirate's life, she realizes what she has been missing during all her years of toil . . . and when she joins forces with Anne, they form a union that will carry them to the ends of the earth, through births, deaths, and battles more exciting than Anne Bonny had ever dreamed.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Pirate legends have been around as long as pirates themselves, but Garrett's tale is a new version of an old pirate story. She tells of the exciting adventures of Anne Bonny and Mary Read, female pirates who become dear friends amid their harsh and highly illegal lifestyle. Each woman came from a very different background; free-spirited Anne was the only daughter of a successful American businessman, and practical Mary spent most of her life in Europe cross-dressing in order to survive. Another pirate, Calico Jack Rackham, plays an important role in the story of these two women. Calico Jack is about to give up his life of piracy but falls in love with Anne and therefore loses all prospects of a legitimate career. Garrett vividly re-creates the eighteenth-century outlaw world of Nassau and the high seas. This is a colorful, true-life novel about fighting, love, death, and, above all else, friendship. --Julia Glynn

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Writing a novel based on the lives of real people... is a tricky thing," muses first novelist Garrett in an afterword. "The end result is, invariably, an odd amalgam of history and fiction, not entirely one or the other." Striving for historical accuracy, Garrett crafts a fast-moving, if ultimately conventional, romantic adventure novel. Mary Read and Anne Bonny, a pair of unusual (real-life) 18th-century pirates, dress as men so they may travel freely, and, together with Calico Jack Rackam, they terrorize the West Indies. Court records provide some of the information for Garrett's reconstruction of her heroines' lives. Mary Read was dressed as a boy by her mother to dupe her in-laws; later, it seems natural for Mary to join England's cavalry in the war against the French. Falling in love with her tent-mate Frederick Heesch, Mary saves his life numerous times and eventually reveals her true identity. When their brief marriage is terminated by his death of consumption, Mary sees no alternative but to assume her previous guise and sign on as a sailor with a Dutch ship. In the West Indies the ship is besieged by the notorious Calico Jack and his lover, Anne, who has only recently thumbed her nose at her spineless husband and run off with Jack, stealing a ship from the governor in Nassau. Sailing the Caribbean in search of heavily laden merchant ships, Calico Jack's crew happily accepts Mary and Anne into their makeshift family, marveling to see the women fight, cuss and pirate with lusty enthusiasm. As each woman struggles with her double identity, the narrative becomes an absorbing blend of action, historical event and emotional drama. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved