What Would Graínne (Grace O’Malley) do Today?:
My novel Buccaneer Beauty is the story of Graínne O’Malley, a real female pirate living in 1500’s Ireland. Graínne lived life on her own terms, manipulating fortune so that she and her clan prospered in the midst of a time of turmoil, bloodshed, and change. The daughter of a chieftain, Graínne would not have had to take to the sea. She was a chieftain’s daughter, and her future as an aristocratic woman and a chieftain’s wife was guaranteed. Unlike other female pirates, such as Mary Read, Graínne had no financial need to engage in so dangerous a profession, but she chose to follow in her father’s footsteps, supporting two of her husbands in their marauding quest for greatness.
Graínne knew how to work the game. She knew when to play by the rules and when to manipulate them. Her reputed spying for the British Crown was to win favors for her family, and her role as spy didn’t exempt her from danger. She was at times imprisoned and came very close to the noose on more than one occasion, but she knew when to fight (as she often did with the queen’s governors who didn’t know of her role and with neighboring clans who threatened her family) and when to play the aristocratic and refined lady. When she met with Queen Elizabeth, Graínne knew how to play the subdued and educated woman, conversing with the queen in the Latin they both knew. Unlike some people today, she knew when to show respect (even if she didn’t feel it). Never would Graínne text during business meetings or giggle like a child as some people with short attention spans do now.
Graínne took what life dealt her and rose above any adversity. She was a woman in a time when women were sold into marriage for an alliance. Her first marriage to Donal O’Flaherty united two clans, but when her husband proved rash and stupid, Graínne saved their family and her children’s future. After his death, Graínne formed her own marriage to Richard Bourke, an advantageous match for them both. Richard was the one man very much her equal, but even when she had a less than perfect marriage to Donal, she carried on and didn’t berate him or cry about her unhappy lot. Too many people today live their existences for prime time television, letting their colleagues know that they were thrown onto the street as teens or even that they may or may not have had disturbed parents. They talk endlessly, hoping for sympathy as the rest of us are subject to their complaints. We hear of everything from their premature graying, to their erectile dysfunction, to their problematic flatulence. Graínne knew how to keep her peace. Her spying for Her Majesty sometimes bought her and her family freedom from British oppression, and very few—not even some of the Queen’s advisors—knew of her service to the Crown. She certainly didn’t confide in every churl working in her kitchen.
Though tough, Graínne did not hold grudges against her family or her workers. They were treated fairly, and even when she had to deal with her son Murrough’s madness, she easily forgave him after very dramatic discipline. She did not humiliate him unnecessarily or destroy him, unlike some people today who berate others in an unprofessional manner, send group emails to humiliate, or harass others simply because they are angry at the world and feel unloved by their parents. Of course, I realize that holding a grudge is not limited to any time period; however, today, many people have found new ways to bully, degrade or harass others through technology. Frankly, Graínne wouldn’t have played such a game. She wouldn’t have put that much into writing. No, Graínne would have ambushed them but not avoided danger. She would have shown mercy in some cases, but she wouldn’t have gloried in the bloodshed. Too many people today revel in metaphoric bloodshed. They love committing small murders when they are at their computers or in positions of power.
Read about Graínne O’Malley in Buccaneer Beauty available now!