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The Unbinding of Mary Reade
Cover of The Unbinding of Mary Reade
The Unbinding of Mary Reade
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A clever, romantic novel based on the true story of a girl who disguised herself as a boy to sail with the infamous pirates Anne Bonny and Calico Jack—and fell in love with Anne Bonny.
There's no place for a girl in Mary's world. Not in the home of her mum, desperately drunk and poor. Not in the household of her wealthy granny, where no girl can be named an heir. And certainly not in the arms of Nat, her childhood love who never knew her for who she was. As a sailor aboard a Caribbean merchant ship, Mary's livelihood—and her safety—depends on her ability to disguise her gender.
At least, that's what she thinks is true. But then pirates attack the ship, and in the midst of the gang of cutthroats, Mary spots something she never could have imagined: a girl pirate.
The sight of a girl standing unafraid upon the deck, gun and sword in hand, changes everything. In a split-second decision, Mary turns her gun on her own captain, earning herself the chance to join the account and become a pirate alongside Calico Jack and Anne Bonny.
For the first time, Mary has a shot at freedom. But imagining living as her true self is easier, it seems, than actually doing it. And when Mary finds herself falling for the captain's mistress, she risks everything—her childhood love, her place among the crew, and even her life.
Breathlessly romantic and brilliantly subversive, The Unbinding of Mary Reade is sure to sweep readers off their feet and make their hearts soar.
A clever, romantic novel based on the true story of a girl who disguised herself as a boy to sail with the infamous pirates Anne Bonny and Calico Jack—and fell in love with Anne Bonny.
There's no place for a girl in Mary's world. Not in the home of her mum, desperately drunk and poor. Not in the household of her wealthy granny, where no girl can be named an heir. And certainly not in the arms of Nat, her childhood love who never knew her for who she was. As a sailor aboard a Caribbean merchant ship, Mary's livelihood—and her safety—depends on her ability to disguise her gender.
At least, that's what she thinks is true. But then pirates attack the ship, and in the midst of the gang of cutthroats, Mary spots something she never could have imagined: a girl pirate.
The sight of a girl standing unafraid upon the deck, gun and sword in hand, changes everything. In a split-second decision, Mary turns her gun on her own captain, earning herself the chance to join the account and become a pirate alongside Calico Jack and Anne Bonny.
For the first time, Mary has a shot at freedom. But imagining living as her true self is easier, it seems, than actually doing it. And when Mary finds herself falling for the captain's mistress, she risks everything—her childhood love, her place among the crew, and even her life.
Breathlessly romantic and brilliantly subversive, The Unbinding of Mary Reade is sure to sweep readers off their feet and make their hearts soar.
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About the Author-
  • Miriam McNamara earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she won the Norma Fox Mazer award for a historical young adult manuscript work-in-progress. The Unbinding of Mary Reade is her first novel. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

Reviews-
  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2018

    Gr 8 Up-In her debut novel, McNamara creates a compelling backstory for legendary female pirate Anne Bonney, as well as folding accurate historical details into a plot about how and why youth took to sea in 18th-century England, the physical and social hazards of social class clashes on land and at sea, and the gender politics that, then too, made the simple fact of being female constantly dangerous. The fictional Mary Reade, raised from early childhood as a boy, leaves her poverty-stricken home in Wapping, London, with her best (and uninformed) friend, a boy who later becomes a love interest and a danger in her life when they meet again in the Caribbean. In the meantime, Mary has shot an evil sea captain, joined a pirate gang that includes Anne and her lover, Calico Jack, and has finally been revealed as a young woman rather than a young man. Anne and Mary fall in love across months and chapters that present only a slightly anachronistic view of their awareness and willingness to follow their hearts. All of this makes for delightful reading for anyone who enjoys pirate stories or is seeking LGBTQ+ fiction that is positive as well as fairly realistic. VERDICT A great choice for historical fiction collections.-Francisca Goldsmith, Library Ronin, Worcester, MA

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    May 1, 2018
    Seventeen-year-old Mary Reade has always longed for the sea; surviving poverty by living as a boy, she sails under the command of a cruel and tyrannical captain.When their ship is boarded by pirates, Mary joins the pirate crew as Mark Reade, seizing a way to head toward Nassau, where her childhood best friend and crush resides. She immediately becomes smitten with Calico Jack Rackham's partner, Anne Bonny, who is everything Mary isn't: fiery, impetuous, and feminine. It becomes clear Anne's also smitten, but Mary is terrified of the potentially deadly consequences of coming out. When she does reveal her secret, she discovers Anne will do whatever's necessary to survive--including outing Mary and forcing her to make some difficult choices. Debut author McNamara doesn't shy away from depicting the horrors of a misogynistic, homophobic, and transphobic society. The third-person narration always uses feminine pronouns for the protagonist, although Mary expresses discomfort with claiming a binary gender identity. At times, Anne's characterization leans toward the cheating bisexual, and Mary's self-doubt and self-loathing may be difficult, rather than enlightening, for trans and nonbinary readers. Readers well-versed in the lives of the famous pirate duo may feel hornswoggled that so much of their known story has been underwhelmingly altered for this telling, and pirate fans will feel disappointed that there is relatively little swashbuckling.Full of potential but unfortunately never quite finds its sea legs. (Historical fiction. 14-17)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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