Book: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date Published: February 9th, 2016
Date Started: January 3rd, 2016
Date Finished: January 8th, 2016
In this stunningly creative debut, Nicole Castroman reimagines the origins of history’s most infamous pirate–Blackbeard–and tells the story of the girl who captured his heart and ultimately set him on his path of destruction.
When Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, returns home from a year at sea, he finds his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, all Teach wants is to return to the vast ocean he calls home. There’s just one problem: he must convince his father to let him leave and never come back.
Following the death of her parents, Anne Barrett is left penniless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne takes a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks and Anne longs to escape the confines of her now mundane life. How will she ever achieve her dream of sailing to Curaçao–her mother’s birthplace–when she’s trapped in England?
From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn together by a shared desire for freedom, but kept apart by Teach’s father, their love is as passionate as it is forbidden. Faced with an impossible choice, Teach and Anne must decide whether to chase their dreams and leave England forever–or follow their hearts and stay together.
*I received an ARC of this in a giveaway. In exchange, I am giving an honest review!*
Once I heard about Blackhearts, I knew I had to have it. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, if you couldn’t tell by my blog name and by the fact that I have a history degree. This also means that I can be a little nitpicky about historical fiction books. Its not really about getting the dates, names and places right. Its more about whether the book captured the right atmosphere. With Blackhearts, I really felt like I was about to see the emergence of Blackbeard.
Before I started reading this book, I thought there were going to be more pirates. The author quickly corrected me, and its all pre-pirates. There are a few glimpses of pirates, though! I really loved this glimpse into Blackbeard’s pre-pirate days. Not much is know about his early life, when he was still called Edward Teach or Edward Thatch. So I think the author had a little bit of wiggle room here to really tell a story, tell a version that might have been. What was presented was an engaging and entertaining story and something I really could believe happened to the infamous pirate.
I really do love that this book was centered around a romance. When you think about pirates, you traditionally don’t think about lost loves or epic romance. You think bar wenches, pillaging, and debauchery. But when it comes to Blackbeard, it makes you wonder, who is Queen Anne? Who was she to Blackbeard that he named his famed ship after her? And why the need for revenge? Blackhearts answers all of these questions and provides a delicious slow burning story that makes you want to pull up your boots and become a swashbuckling pirate. The romance was definitely a forbidden one and you could see every obstacle from a ten-mile radius. But no matter what, you wanted it to happen. The romance was tough to read at times because it was just so painful for them. They not only had to deal with class differences, but also racial differences. Slavery was not completely abolished in England by that time and Teach’s and Anne’s relationship definitely felt the burden of that.
The characters themselves were fantastic. I loved Anne with all the hidden mysteries of her personality. She didn’t allow people to walk all over her, and I loved that. I felt like she was a perfect match for Teach because she opened up his eyes even more to how the world could really be during that time. Teach himself was great. You could really tell that he was going through a personal journey, coming from a place of wealth and privilege and then coming back from a dangerous trip as a privateer. Most of the other characters made me want to smack somebody, with a few exceptions. And I mean few. Everyone else was cruel, vain, or just downright idiotic. It just made me want to push Teach and Anne together even more so they could live in their own little pirate world.
I promise this book will provide a satisfying tale as an origin story of Blackbeard. The ending was epic and I desperately want a sequel to this book. If you love Historical Fiction, you definitely need to pick this one up.