Author : Nicole Castroman
Genre : Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publication Date : February 9th, 2016
Publisher : Simon Pulse
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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.
Here’s a few things you should know before you get to reading Blackhearts: This book is not some glorified account of a do-gooder pirate falling out of grace and becoming the infamous Blackbeard. It’s not about how a woman of colour with a heart of gold changed a cruel cut-throat. It’s not a Captain’s log about all the high and mighty ships he has destroyed, or how much gold he owns. Blackhearts, at its heart, is a love story. Blackhearts is about a boy who came from being at sea a changed man, and a girl whose skin colour has become the only defining feature of her life.
Blackhearts straightaway introduces the reader to Anne. Anne is the illegitimate daughter of a rich, deceased English merchant and a Jamaican maid who breathed her last some time before the events of the book. A series of unfortunate events follow and Anne is thus employed in the estate of Master Drummond as a maid. Deep down, she longs to go away from Bristol to West Indies, from where her mother hails. Anne was a fierce lead—basically a kind of gentle dragon that you really don’t want angry with you. She was strong of character and could achieve whatever she put her mind to, which is very clear by the events of the book. Anne also struck me as being a woman who was way ahead of her time. She was independent and didn’t give two fucks about what people thought about her—something that many of us struggle with even today! It was brilliant to see her stand straight and proud, even though the other maids in the Drummond household ill-treated her.
The male lead in Blackhearts, of course, is Edward “Teach” Drummond. Admittedly, it took me a while to warm up to Teach. Here’s the thing—his father, Mr. Drummond, gave him year away from England to roam the high seas, sow his proverbial wild oats. In this time, Teach took to sea aboard a ship and went on adventures of his own. But once the year was up, he was to return to Bristol, marry into aristocracy and make his father proud. Teach, however, had none of these inclinations. Having tasted a life of adventure at sea, all he wanted was to go back to roaming the world on a ship, and having been denied that Teach grew increasingly frustrated and bitter towards his father. Teach, however, was also a bit of hypocrite. Let me tell you how.
I loved that there was no insta-love here in Blackhearts. Anne and Teach could barely stand each other in the beginning of the novel, and their banter, the way Anne always out-smarted him, the way she gave back his sharp words was hella entertaining to read! Anne was an educated young woman, and Teach, thinking her an illiterate maid always underestimated her. But here’s the other side of Teach’s story–When Teach returned after his one wild year (which is where the book begins) he was already engaged to be married to Miss Patience. And yet, once his initial dislike of Anne turns to attraction, he pursues her relentlessly and falls in love with her. In the same breath, when his close friend is faced with a similar situation with his own fiancé, Teach is quick to judge and reprimand and threaten. See what I mean by hypocrisy? In spite of this, by the end, I found myself rooting for Teach. He was a kind-hearted, loving man at his core, stuck as a pawn in the game his father was playing.
Mr. Drummond was the third piece of the puzzle that is Blackhearts. He wasn’t exactly a typical villain, in that he’s the kind of man you can’t help but feel sorry for. A lot of his actions and motives are revealed throughout the book, and again, knowing his past makes you weirdly sympathetic to him. And now of course, we talk about the brutal ending. That. Bloody. Ending. And no sequel in sight, because it’s not contracted. I can’t even deal. I mean, the ending is completely open to a sequel and really, this book deserves a sequel, but goddamn.
The last, say, 10% of this book is pretty fast, and things get out of control for Anne and Teach pretty soon, so you might want to brace yourself for that. But here’s the other thing—an open ended book like this also allows the reader to form assumptions of their own, which is pretty cool too! All in all, I’m definitely recommending Blackhearts to lovers of historical romance , but if you’re not into older dated books, then too you should definitely give this book a go!
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Nicole was lucky enough to come with her very own best friend…she has a twin sister who can read her mind and finish her sentences for her.