My rating: 5 of 5 stars
King Daniel: Gasparilla King of the Pirates by Susan Wolf Johnson won a (2017) CIPA EVVY Merit Award in historical fiction. My own book, Hopatcong Vision Quest was also a winner, which is how I found this novel. It's a wonderful read, with a complex plot centered on multiple generations of the Westcott family, a wealthy family in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. This is the type of book I love to read on my Kindle, because I can easily search back to where characters were first introduced. Johnson provides a copy of the Wetcott Family Tree in the front of the book, which also helped me keep track.
The Westcott's have their secrets. Discovering what they are makes for a fascinating plot. We have the younger generation represented primarily by Becca, who is trying to break free of the family tradition with a New York singing career, but encounters multiple problems, including a club owner whose interests are not focused on Becca's voice. Her problems are enough to send her back to the Tampa area for help. There's also Becca's grandfather, Daniel, the title character, whose problems are on an entirely different level than hers. Much of this story is about where Daniel is and the character flaws that put him there.
In addition to an intriguing story, the novel provides an introduction to aspects of the Tampa culture I knew nothing about. The region has a children's festival, a music festival, a film festival, an art festival and more, all, as stated on the visit Tampa Bay website: “Named for legendary pirate, Jose Gaspar, who terrorized the coastal waters of West Florida during the 18th and early 19th centuries.” Knowing this makes the story of Daniel's election as “Gasparilla King of the Pirates” even more important.
King Daniel is another great read!
Steve Lindahl author of Hopatcong Vision Quest, White Horse Regressions, and Motherless Soul
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