Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
217 Pages
Reviewed on 03/02/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess is a true swashbuckling adventure on the high-seas of the Caribbean. Author Dan Hendrickson brings to life the world of the cutlass, flintlock pistols, and rifles of the Caribbean pirates and British naval officers. Centered principally around the British territories of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, we meet the intriguing Brandy, a beautiful, flame-haired young girl, who was born and raised on the pirate ship Red Witch. Her mother was none other than the Scarlet Mistress and her father, the legendary pirate Eric Erasmus, also known as “the plague”. When the British navy finally catches up with them and with her father murdered by one of his traitorous crew and her mother executed by the British, Brandy and her uncle convince their captors that they are just mere slaves destined for the markets of the US. Delivered to Jamaica and freedom, Brandy and her uncle set about establishing and running a successful tavern near the docks in Kingston, Jamaica. When First-Mate of the Morning Star, John Edwards arrives in Brandy’s tavern one evening, the electricity between John and Brandy is palpable. Captain Joshua has spent the last seven years searching for news of what had happened to his wife and daughter who had disappeared on their journey to meet him in Kingston. What soon becomes obvious to all of them is that not only are their destinies linked together, their pasts may also be.

I have followed author Dan Hendrickson’s writing from his very first novel and what has impressed me from the beginning is his growth and development as an author. Never afraid to accept constructive criticism, this author’s work has improved in leaps and bounds. Something of a genre departure for him, Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess was an absolute joy to read. A conversational writing style and a real knack for character development make this author stand out from the others in this genre. For the action junkie, there is no shortage of fight scenes and the plot follows a clear and distinctive path that has been well thought out and meticulously written. Equally, the props to the story, the clothing, the weapons, the locations, the political climate of the time, all appear to be based on extensive knowledge and research. Hendrickson’s work invariably brings us a deeper message about ourselves that we should take on board and this story is no exception. What I enjoyed in this narrative was the idea that diversity should be celebrated, not demonized, that we are not responsible for the “sins of our fathers”, and that the power of love transcends all. I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s excursion into a different genre, which rewarded me with a truly swashbuckling, soulful, historical, romance. This is a superb book with a mesmerizing story and is a true winner for me.

Jon Michael Miller

In Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess by Dan Hendrickson, the protagonist, a red-haired sixteen-year-old girl, narrowly escapes death on The Red Witch, a pirate ship. Her parents, owners of the vessel, are murdered in a mutiny. Fifteen years later we find Brandy and Skynyrd, a sailor she escaped with, managing a tavern in Kingston, Jamaica. She has dyed her hair black to hide her identity because a curse has predicted her return to the ship and, thus, she is under constant threat by Lomoche, the villainous takeover captain. From that dramatic premise, this sea adventure carries us away under Mr. Hendrickson’s extraordinarily skillful storytelling. Through the deftly handled plot, the curse comes true, and we find Brandy, her lover, Captain John Edwards, and their friends in a pitched battle with what can be described only as pure good versus pure evil. It’s not hard to guess which side wins, but the unraveling of this tale can be described only as pure pleasure.

For me, the pleasure abounds in four areas. First is the author’s conversance with early 19th-century seafaring, ships, and warfare. Second is his knowledge of Asian samurai meditation and fighting techniques. Zhang, a warrior priest, explains to Brandy the power of love over rage in conflict. The third is the theme of good versus evil, particularly in the struggle against slavery and the slave trade. And the fourth is Hendrickson’s presentation of personal love and enduring loyalty. Through all the thrilling (though graphic) violence, it is always clear that the gore is in the service of a higher power. Oh, yes—then there’s the Spanish locket that appears also in the seventies hit song by Gordon Lightfoot. The reference is a fabulously mischievous touch by the author. It led me back to the lyrics of the song about love between a waitress and a sailor. I suggest listening to it before reading this engaging and ceaseless adventure and watching how the ditty and the book line up. Once I opened Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess by Dan Hendrickson, I was transported to a world long gone. But thanks to Mr. Hendrickson, who knows that world through his veins, it’s a world not to be forgotten.

Charles Remington

Brandy: The Ballad of a Pirate Princess by Dan Hendrickson opens with the pirate ship Red Witch being attacked by a British man-of-war. As a result of traitorous skulduggery, its captain (Brandy’s father) is murdered and her mother executed. The fifteen-year-old Brandy is smuggled off the ship by her uncle, and we do not meet the pair until fifteen years later when they are running a popular bar in the port area of Kingston, Jamaica. It is when the officers of the abolitionist ship Morning Star visit the bar that Brandy first meets John Edwards - a meeting that will set in motion a chain of events affecting the lives of all those present. Slavery and the slave trade have been banned in British Territories but the trade continues in the USA. Captain Joshua and his first mate John Edwards set out on several missions to transfer slaves from Florida to safe havens in South America, and foil the activities of pirates still trafficking slaves from Africa. There are many adventures and battles in which Brandy becomes involved, while a budding romance develops between her and the dashing John Edwards. The narrative moves briskly along to a final battle between the pirate army based at Port Royal where the abolitionists face incredible odds. But can they stop the port from becoming a new and impregnable pirate haven?

I found many points of interest in Brandy: The Ballad of a Pirate Princess. The times are well-researched by author Dan Hendrickson, and details like the slave villages known as Maroons created by escaped slaves, the abolitionists, and the organizations helping escaped slaves were most enlightening. I also found the politics and attitudes of the times well-presented. Yes, there is a certain amount of violence as one would expect in a tale of pirates, but there is also a good deal of romance to balance the narrative. The pirates are suitably nasty and bloodthirsty whereas the good guys are perfect God-fearing gentlemen. The thirty-year-old Brandy is a feisty heroine and the book is brought to a pleasing close after a considerable number of conflicts. Perhaps it was not really what I expected from a pirate yarn but it is a pleasant, well-written, and well-researched read.

Teresa Syms

Brandy Erasmus is the only child of The Plague, the most feared pirate in the Caribbean, and the Scarlet Mistress, a flaming red-headed beauty who teaches her daughter to be a feared warrior of the seas. However, when her parents are betrayed by one of their own and killed, Brandy’s life changes forever. Sometime later, she and her Uncle Skinner set up home running an inn. Skinner becomes Uncle Skynyrd and Brandy covers up her flaming red hair by using a black dye. Their identities are a well-kept secret. It isn’t until Brandy meets John Edwards, Captain Joshua, and Ralphie, officers of the Morning Star, in the inn one night that their world starts to unravel. Brandy is taken with the handsome John Edwards and Davonte, the inn’s server and Brandy’s friend, finds herself infatuated with Ralphie. Captain Joshua and his crew search the Caribbean not only for his lost wife and young daughter but also for runaway slaves which they transport to safe communities. Don Lomoche was part of the original crew of the Sea Witch, The Plague’s ship. Now he is raising a crew in hopes of destroying Edwards, Captain Joshua, and profiting from destroying the abolitionist colonies. Dan E. Hendrickson, the author of Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess, has written a very entertaining story set in the early 19th century.

This is a very captivating and entertaining story of Brandy, her Uncle Skynyrd, John Edwards, Zang Yong, and friends who set out to capture Don Lomoche and his cohorts, not only for what he did to Brandy’s parents, but what he is attempting to do to John Edwards and Davonte. Many secrets will be revealed throughout the book, but each one, as it is untangled, mingles with the next. Hendrickson has written a great story. While reading the adventure, it brought to mind a famous song of my era, which added to my intrigue for the story. All of Hendrickson’s characters are well portrayed, easy to visualize standing before the reader. The plot is excellent, as is the setting. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess and will recommend others to read it as well. I specifically liked the interconnection created between all the characters, the storyline each character brought into the development of the plot while maintaining the good versus evil theme.

Lesley Jones

Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess is written by Dan E. Hendrickson. Born to the most feared pirates in the Caribbean, Brandy Erasmus has been raised to become as feared and ruthless as her mother, The Scarlet Mistress. When Brandy is just 15 years old her life takes a drastic turn when her father, the infamous pirate Eric Erasmus, aka The Plague, is brutally murdered by his second in command Don Lomoche just as a Royal Navy ship led by the ruthless Admiral Bennets is about to overtake their vessel. Bennets seizes the ship and executes Brandy's mother. Brandy and her Uncle Skinner escape with their lives and begin a new life running a tavern in Kingston, Jamacia, leaving behind The Red Witch and her rightful claim of ownership. Years later, Brandy's life is about to be turned upside down when sea captain Joshua and his handsome Lieutenant John Edwards enter the tavern. Although their main mission is to help the abolitionist movement and stop the transportation of slaves, Captain Joshua is also searching for his wife, a former prisoner of a slave ship, and their daughter. Will Brandy finally come face to face with the men who killed her parents and claim her rightful inheritance?

Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess is another gripping novel by Dan Hendrickson. There was fantastic action throughout and compelling plot layers that were revealed slowly as the story progressed. I admired how the author created such detail in every character and even the minor personalities had great depth and distinct personalities. I loved Brandy's character. She had so many aspects to her personality; on one hand, she was a fearless warrior and on the other, she possessed a huge heart and a beautiful soul. Lomoche and Bennets were two of the most sadistic characters I have come across; their actions at times were truly blood-curdling. The plot was constantly intriguing and compelling and that was a great deal to do with the obstacles that came thick and fast. Brandy and John constantly battled to outwit and defeat the evil Lomoche and Bennets. Another favorite character for me was Ralphie, who transforms from an unassuming young man to quite a selfless hero. His relationship with Davonte was incredibly heartwarming too. Be prepared for the unexpected throughout; there are some shocking plot twists and revelations especially involving Davonte and Brandy.

K.C. Finn

Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess is a work of fiction in the historical genre. It is suitable for all reading audiences and was penned by author Dan E. Hendrickson. The book follows the adventures of Brandy Erasmus, the daughter of two legendary pirates who were killed when she was a child. Now hiding in plain sight with her uncle in Jamaica, Brandy is called back to the way of life that killed her parents when the man she loves is placed in harm’s way, and the cause of the abolitionists she has joined forces with comes under threat. What results is a highly engrossing adventure tale that is sure to keep readers turning the pages from cover to cover.

Author Dan E. Hendrickson has crafted a thrilling piratical work of historical fiction with plenty of deep character work, clever plotting, and all-out action to offer its readers. One of the features which I found particularly impressive about this piece was its ability to balance the depth, research, and atmosphere required for authentic historical fiction versus the light-hearted and fast-paced narrative that will keep readers entertained in a dramatic adventure such as this. Hendrickson’s prose flows with artful tension, building suspense, exposition, and character development in an easy-to-read style. The dialogue was also very effective, serving to display the unique traits of the characters whilst moving the plot forward in a natural way. Overall, I would highly recommend Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess to fans of adventurous storytelling, swashbuckling drama, and readers of accomplished historical fiction everywhere.

Samantha Gregory

Brandy, Ballad of A Pirate Princess by Dan E. Hendrickson is the story of Brandy Erasmus, the daughter of a famous pirate. When her parents end up killed when Brandy is only fifteen, she manages to escape along with her uncle. She lives on a Caribbean island, running an inn with her uncle Skynyrd. Time passes and Brandy has a new life for herself, but when Captain Joshua shows up with John Edwards, his first mate, they need help in finding someone and Brandy might be the one to help them. In time she finds herself falling for John, but they are on opposite sides, so can they ever truly be together?

Dan E. Hendrickson has written an entertaining book with Brandy, Ballad of A Pirate Princess. I really love reading about female pirates and Brandy is a great character. She is strong-willed, tough and she was taught by the best. The story is well written and I kept reading to find out what happened next. I do not feel it is only a young adult novel, however; I think adults would enjoy it too. The story starts out with Brandy as a teen, but she is an adult for the most part. I think the story had some great fight scenes and I loved the characters. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of pirate novels, or someone looking for a great adventure story. I think it could do well on the market as there are so many books starring male pirates, it is nice to read about female ones for a change.

Jennifer Ibiam

Brandy had just finished combat training with her mother when chaos rocked her life. They were invaded by Admiral Bennett's Royal Naval ship, while her father was betrayed and stabbed to death by his right-hand man, Lomoche, for gain. Brandy’s mom was also executed, but not before she changed her daughter’s appearance to blend in with the prisoners. Brandy was only fifteen years old when this happened, and for another fifteen years, she hid in plain sight. Everybody thought she was dead but for a few trusted people because her disguise was perfect. However, when Lomoche took someone that she loved, the notorious pirate princess awoke. She had to face the man who had made her an orphan once again, and something must give! Grab Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess by Dan Hendrickson to enjoy a delightful story.

Wow! Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess by Dan Hendrickson had me wowing like a siren. This novel is outstanding, perfect for an audience that loves historical adventure and romance. I picked up this book and couldn’t put it down until I finished it! The plot is strong, unique, and realistic. Its execution was also perfect, as I connected easily to the characters. Dan is such a skilled storyteller that I felt the emotions, which made me shed tears many times. The writing style, language, and instrumentation were era-appropriate. Character building was also superb and I fell in love with many of them. Skinner, Ralphie, Edward, Davonte, warrior angel Brandy, and the amiable Master Zhang had me awestruck. The way Zhang referred to himself in the third person was also cute. I could go on, but... I loved this entire book and wish to read more from Dan.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Brandy was born on a pirate ship, her father the infamous Erick Erasmus, known as The Plague. At the age of fifteen, after witnessing the gruesome deaths of her parents, Brandy hides out in Kingston, Jamaica with her Uncle Skinner. The two use the gold Skinny had stashed away to purchase an inn, which, over the next fifteen years, become a successful enterprise. Brandy’s not sure she wants to return to the sea, not sure of whether she agrees with the greed and violence of being a pirate. Then she meets John Edwards, the first officer on The Morning Star, under the command of Captain Joshua, a man with a mission to free the slaves in the Caribbean. Brandy never thought she’d fall in love, let alone return to a life at sea. But circumstances come to the fore when the man who murdered her father and stole his ship becomes a menace to all she holds dear.

Dan E. Hendrickson’s historical fiction novel, Brandy, Ballad of a Pirate Princess, is a powerful novel that combines romance, history, and adventure at sea with great skill and precision in detail. The plot is well developed, beginning with the horrific events of Brandy’s parents’ deaths and following through her life in hiding until the tide makes a full circle and she now faces head-on the threat that her parents faced. The characters and setting are well described and the use of dialogue, sometimes with a touch of humor, is believable and enjoyable to follow. This is a fast-paced adventure that speaks volumes about the lives of the opposing powers at sea: the evil forces that took advantage of everyone and everything and the good forces that fought hard to make things right, to free those who would otherwise spend their lives as slaves. Although comfortable in her life working at her uncle’s inn, Brandy is forced to face a noble cause while fighting to save those she loves. A real page-turner that has the reader gripped from the very beginning.