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The reader may find Lexie a bit rough around the edges. She grew up without a father and with a mother who struggled to survive. They moved from place to place and often lived in squalor. They even begged on the street for bread for 6 months during a time when they had no home. Lexie's father and most of her living relatives are in jail. In fact, many of her ancestors led lives of crime. Hence, Lexie believes her family has been cursed, and although her mother became a follower of Jesus before her death from cancer, Lexie refuses to believe in a God who would cause her family so much misery. She believes that money is the only answer to all her problems and if only she could find the buried treasure of her pirate ancestor, the curse on her family would be removed.
Lexie is a fighter, confident, strong, and smart, but she is hesitant to trust anyone, particularly men, and wealthy men. Her rich stepfather often abused her mother and used his money to control both her and Lexie. Lexie has a huge heart for the poor and homeless, particularly women and children, and after she finds the treasure, she hopes to open up a women's shelter.
Hailing from one of Charleston's most prominent families, Barret is highly educated, has a prestigious position as a university professor, is very handsome, and on the fast track to a great career. His future looks bright and he attributes the blessings in his life to his family's Christian Faith. He considers himself and his family to be good, honorable, Godly people who always do the right thing.
Barret is strong, inside and out. He's highly intelligent, a hard worker, and compassionate. Yet, he can also be arrogant, judgemental, and sometimes looks down on others beneath him. His goal is to write an award-winning history book on Charleston's pirates, and when he discovers that the ancient letters Lexie has are authentic, he longs to use them for his research. What he doesn't expect is to fall in love with a woman who couldn't be more opposite than himself. Nor that this woman will open his eyes to an entirely different world.
It may interest the reader to know that Stede Bonnet was a real pirate. He was born in 1688 on the island of Barbados to Edward and Sarah Bonnet and grew up in a world of wealth and privilege where he received the best gentleman’s education. In 1708, with the death of his parents, Bonnet inherited a vast estate of over 400 acres of sugarcane fields, and thus took his place among the Barbados aristocracy.
Bonnet married Mary Allamby in 1709, and with the marriage came additional acreage and fortune. The couple had their first child, a son, Allamby in 1712, but the child did not survive his first year. Though three more children followed, Bonnet never seemed able to overcome the death of his first son. History also informs us that Mary was a nagging wife, and Bonnet was quite unhappy with the union.
It is at this point in time that my novel picks up his story. I made every attempt to relay Bonnet’s piratical adventures as accurately as possible, including all his weaknesses, strengths, failures, and successes. His concern for his fellow man and his interest in trading for goods rather than steal them are all sentiments attributed to him by history. He was, indeed, beloved by many of Charles Town’s citizens, and he did, in fact, escape in women’s attire. Also, the ships that he captured, the battles in which he was defeated, and his association with Blackbeard are all true events which occurred in his life.
Where I strayed from the facts, of course, was in his love affair with Melody, the letters between them, his visit to see her in Charles Town, and all thoughts and feelings Bonnet experienced. It is impossible to know the precise sense of a man from history books, but I did my best to convey Bonnet as he must have been. Did he have a lover and did she live in Charles Town? Did he bury any of his ill-gotten booty? We will never know, but it makes for a wonderful story.
I attempted to portray his trial as accurately as possible by including Bonnet’s actual words in his responses to Judge Trott. I also used the judge’s own words in his final sentencing of Bonnet. Bonnet’s letter to Governor Johnson is a matter of record, and is posted below in its entirety.
Yet the real question lies in whether Bonnet repented of his evil deeds and fell on his knees before our merciful Savior. Based on what we read from history, I like to think he did. I pray he did, for during the process of writing this novel, I admit to becoming quite fond of him. Let us all hope to see him one day in eternity. Oh, the tales he will tell!
Stede Bonnet's Letter to Governor Johnson, November 1718
I have presumed on the confidence of your eminent goodness to throw myself, after this manner at your feet, to implore you'll be graciously pleased to look upon me with tender bowels of pity and compassion; and believe me to be the most miserable man this day breathing; that the tears proceeding from my most sorrowful soul may soften your heart, and incline you to consider my dismal state, wholly, I must confess, unprepared to receive so soon the dreadful execution you have been pleased to appoint me; and therefore beseech you to think me an object of your mercy.
For God's sake, good sir, let the oaths of three Christian men weigh something with you, who are ready to depose, when you please to allow them the liberty, the compulsion I lay under in committing those acts for which I am doom'd to die.
I entreat you not to let me fall a sacrifice to the envy and ungodly rage of some few men, who, not being yet satisfied with blood, feign to believe, that I had the happiness of a longer life in this world, I should still employ it in a wicked manner, which to remove that, and all other doubts with your honour, I heartily beseech you'll permit me to live, and I'll voluntarily put it ever out of my power by separating all my limbs from my body, only reserving the use of my tongue to call continually on, and pray to the Lord, my God, and mourn all my days in sackcloth and ashes to work out confident hopes of my salvation, at that great and dreadful day when all righteous souls shall receive their just rewards; And to render your honour a further assurance of my being incapable to prejudice any of my fellow Christians, if I was so wickedly bent, I humbly beg you will, (as a punishment of my sins for my poor soul's sake) indent me as a menial servant to your honour and this government during my life, and send me up to the farthest inland garrison or settlement in the country, or in any other ways you'll be pleased to dispose of me; and likewise that you'll receive the willingness of my friends to be bound for my good behavior and constant attendance to your commands.
I once more beg for the Lord's sake, dear Sir, that as you are a Christian, you will be as charitable as to have mercy and compassion on my miserable soul, but too newly awaked from an habit of sin to entertain so confident hopes and assurances of its being received into the arms of blessed Jesus, as is necessary to reconcile me to so speedy a death; wherefore as my life, blood, reputation of my family and future happy state lies entirely at your disposal, I implore you to consider me with a Christian and Charitable heart, and determine mercifully of me that I may ever acknowledge and esteem you next to God, my Saviour, and oblige me ever to pray that our heavenly Father will also forgive your trespasses.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep thru; the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight thro' Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever, is the hearty prayer of your honour's
Most miserable, and, afflicted servant,