I received an e-ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Nicole Castroman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
Summary (from Goodreads): Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.
Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.
Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?
From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.
This book is as incredible as its cover! Blackhearts is definitely the kind of book that can be read in a single sitting. It is a captivating Blackbeard origin story with a perfect, shy maid as one of the main characters. While the ending is not one that readers will be satisfied with, this novel is a must-read for 2016.
Blackhearts is exactly as Nicole Castroman describes it: a Blackbeard origin story. When I first saw this book, I was expecting it to take place on a boat the whole time, since it mentions pirates and there is a boat on the cover, but I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that it was more like a regular historical fiction. This book is about young Blackbeard and how he became a pirate, which is a super unique concept. Also, Castroman’s writing is just so enchanting that the story just comes to life in your mind. The descriptions ares so detailed and vivid, making this one of my favourite reads this year.
While all of the characters are well-developed and interesting in Blackhearts, I loved Anne, the main character, most of all as she is just so kind and likeable. What is really interesting about Anne is that she is part West Indian and is a maid, but realizes that she isn’t technically supposed to be a maid. I was honestly shocked at the fact that she didn’t want to tell anyone that she wasn’t supposed to be working for them. This just shows how sweet and complex Anne is as a character.
Without spoiling the plot, I will say that the ending of this book does leave the reader hanging. Without a second book to look forward to, there is so much more that I would love to know. I suppose that it can be said that it is up to the reader to come up with a theory as to what happens next. If a second book does become available though, I will definitely be grabbing it up to devour because I just want more of this story and more Nicole Castroman! She is definitely a debut author to watch.
Blackhearts is an original Blackbeard origin story with a sweet main character who is a maid. Also, the ending may leave readers scratching their heads and begging for more. Fans of books such as The Selection and The Winner’s Curse will love Blackhearts, as there are a few similarities between these stories. If you read one book this year, Blackhearts should absolutely be it!