THE PIRATE'S DAUGHTER
by Margaret Cezair-Thompson |

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REVIEWED BY SUE CORBETT

CRITIC'S CHOICE

NOVEL

In 1946, Errol Flynn actually did run aground on Jamaica's coast in his hurricane-ravaged yacht. Seeking shelter from a stateside scandal involving an underage girl, the swashbuckling matinee idol settled in, building a grand pink-and-white villa where he hosted parties for the Hollywood A-list. From those scraps of historical truth, Cezair-Thompson has spun a book-club-ready saga with two gorgeous women at its center—Ida, a light-skinned local girl who has a tryst with Flynn, and May, the daughter of that brief union. Flynn never acknowledges paternity, leaving Ida and May to forge a place for themselves in a land where they belong to neither the wealthy class of expatriates, nor the emerging black majority. Paradise itself is undergoing a transformation, as Jamaicans throw off their British rulers in a messy, violent march toward independent rule. The narrative meanders a bit with forays into sex and drugs and Rasta music, but readers who stay the course are rewarded with a knockout ending that reveals treasure buried beneath sand-encrusted secrets.

by Jonathan Gould |

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REVIEWED BY JOSH EMMONS

NON-FICTION

With a scholar's attention to history and a musician's interest in song craft, Gould provides a thrilling account of how four Liverpool kids translated their love of American rock into a body of music unmatched since they ended their careers as Beatles. The book charts their evolution from three-chord sprints to symphonic masterpieces like "A Day in the Life." If you've ever wanted to know why the Beatles' music is great, look no further.

by Nick Hornby |

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NOVEL

Hornby, whose youthful obsessions with sports and music launched his writing career, now trains his talents on an actual teen: Sam Jones, who fears impending paternity when he gets an urgent text message from Alicia, the beautiful-but-brainless girl he lost his virginity to just before he turned 16. Terrified, Sam poses soulful questions about his predicament to a poster of his idol, skateboarder Tony Hawk. This Young Adult novel is vintage Hornby: a witty trek inside the emotional life of the modern male.

• A year after coming out in PEOPLE, the former 'N Sync star, now in Hairspray on Broadway, talks about life since then—and his new memoir.

HOW'S YOUR LOVE LIFE? It's the first time in my out gay adult life that I'm able to date, and it's nice. For a while I felt like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

YOU CAME OUT TO BRITNEY SPEARS IN '04—WHY? It was after she got married [to Jason Alexander]. She knew it was going to be a bad day. I felt I needed to share something very personal so she'd feel a little better. So I said, "Well, I'm gay." She was stunned—like, "Okay ..." She's a sweet girl, just a little lost. She needs some old friends in her life. And she'll realize that one day.

IS JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE—WHOM YOU SAY IN YOUR BOOK YOU FELT "BETRAYED" BY WHEN HE LEFT 'N SYNC—STILL IN YOUR LIFE? Justin and I are like brothers. That story isn't that big of a deal to us. I sent him a copy of the book, but I doubt he read it—none of the guys like to read!

• In her new memoir, Wilson describes being unmasked as a covert CIA agent and the personal turmoil that followed. She spoke about it to PEOPLE's Richard B. Stolley in Santa Fe, where she and her family now live.

HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU REALIZED YOU'D BEEN OUTED? I read Robert Novak's column in the Washington Post on July 14, 2003. My husband, Joe, came in, put the paper on the bed and said, "Well, the SOB did it." I felt as if I'd been sucker-punched.

DO YOU MISS BEING A SPY? I loved my job. Yeah, I miss it.

WOULD YOU WANT YOUR 7-YEAR-OLD TWINS TO BE SPIES? I hope they think about public service of some sort. I'd love to be the poster child for the CIA, to talk to young people and say, "We need all the smart young blood we can get." That's not going to happen.

WHY DID YOU INCLUDE A CHAPTER ON YOUR POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION? I felt that I had extremely high coping skills, but the depression hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe my book can help someone else.

At recent New York readings of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, author J.K. Rowling stunned fans with admissions about her characters—and herself.

DUMBLEDORE IS GAY Asked if the Hogwarts headmaster ever finds love, Rowling outed her master wizard, explaining he'd been "horribly, terribly let down" by unrequited feelings for rival Gellert Grindelwald.

HAGRID STAYS SINGLE ... Not his fault—giantesses are in short supply. When the audience expressed disappointment, Rowling added, "At least I didn't kill him!"

... BUT NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM LUCKS OUT Harry's awkward classmate eventually marries pigtailed Hufflepuffer Hannah Abbott.

AND GINNY'S NOT ALONE IN LOVING HARRY "I actually married Harry Potter," Rowling joked. "If you've seen a photo of my husband [anesthesiologist Neil Murray], I think Harry will look like that once he hits a certain age."

If you knew today was your last day on earth, what would you eat for dinner? For My Last Supper, photographer Melanie Dunea posed this age-old culinary question to 50 of the world's top chefs. A taste of the results:

"Sea urchins ... and goat cheese, followed by dark butter chocolate ice cream," says Fergus Henderson. "And drunken dancing to Wilson Pickett."

Lydia Shire would opt for "sirloin steak, with the fat ... And a big handful of crispy fried parsnip chips. [I'd] wear my most stunning black power suit, accessorized with fabulous jewelry."

"I would choose to go to Mars for my last supper," says Alain Ducasse. "I would begin with a caponata [then] roasted quails ... and apple slices."

DUCASSE'S "MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH" APPLE SLICES

• Wash, peel and core 2 lbs. of Golden Delicious apples, then slice into quarters. Place in large mixing bowl and cover with 3 1/2 tbsp. sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla-infused sugar.

• Over low heat, melt 2 tbsp. butter in large sauté pan until lightly browned. Toss apples in butter, taking care not to caramelize the sugar.

• Add 8 1/2 tbsp. apple liqueur and set alight. Once the flames have burned out, remove apples and allow them to rest on a wire rack over a sheet pan. When cool, place them on a sheet pan and bake at 250° F for about 20 minutes, until tender and slightly moist. Serve warm.