THE UNBINDING OF MARY READE BY MIRIAM McNAMARA - BOOK REVIEW

Now, normally, I'm not a huge lover of pirates and those kinds of books, but when I heard it was about gender-bending pirates, I knew I had to pick it up! Unfortunately, while the plot and storyline were initially enticing, I wasn't fully sold on the execution.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara. Thanks so much to Thomas Allen and Edelweiss for providing me with an e-ARC for an honest review, as always, all opinions are my own.



This story is based on the true story of Mary Reade, a girl who disguises herself as her dead brother Mark in order to survive in 18th-century England - a time when young women like herself are given no rights and carted off into a political marriage. Mary finds herself on a ship being overtaken by pirates, and after making a fatal choice, she is welcomed onto the pirate ship. There, she meets Anne, the only female pirate she's ever seen, and is instantly enthralled.

In terms of the storyline, this book sounds like it will be really good. I was excited about a forbidden (in every sense of the word) romance, but it fell flat for me. I think my main issue with this book was the writing style and the time jumps. It's written in third-person POV, which I normally don't mind, but I just really struggled with connecting to any of the characters. The relationship between Anne and Mary was lukewarm at best, mainly because Anne was all over the place and often just generally mean to Mary.

I found there was a lack of real plot, McNamara focused more on the characters than on the larger storyline. I don't usually like books like that, I need a bit of action to keep me invested, or at least some decent characters, but I just couldn't make myself connect with any of the characters. Any suspenseful or exciting moment was either drawn out too far to the point where I got bored with it or it was over way too quickly before I could really get invested in it.

In terms of LGBT+ elements, this book really dove in head first, which was one of its more redeeming qualities. Mary has a lot of identity confusion - whether she is Mary or Mark and if she should love Nat, her childhood crush, or Anne, which at the time, is socially unacceptable when she is Mary. Just be warned, there are some offensive connotations brought up by some of the other characters when Mary is found out.

Overall, there were parts of this book that I enjoyed but they were not enough to make me enjoy the book as a whole.