Feb 23, 2017

Review--Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

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 CuraƧao—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.

Nicole Castroman’s Blackhearts was pure magic! For me, this read was definitely charting new waters for me. As it’s more of a historical fiction novel. No magic, no paranormal, no fantasy…the only thing that drew my eye to this was the fact that it’s a pirate story! An origin one at that! I don’t really know much about Blackbeard, other than what Pirates of the Caribbean has taught me, and let’s face it I haven’t seen that particular movie (for it was the last one without Orlando, right?) in years. But yay for a new one coming out this year!

Back to the topic on hand! While this is an origin story about Blackbeard, I was a bit more upset that there weren’t pirates really in the story. But in a way, it makes sense. Edward “Teach” Drummond wasn’t born a pirate. If anything he was born a boy of privilege who longed for something more. He went away for a year to sail on his father ship and when he comes home, there’s an unexpected surprise waiting for him. Anne was a delight! She’s our leading lady and cohort of the novel. She’s hit hard times after the deaths of her parents and since she’s basically only half white, she’s looked down upon. She is a maid in the Drummond household and her first introduction to Teach was quite memorable, though Teach would say otherwise!

The two don’t really hit it off right away, but then they begin spending more time together and soon a friendship is formed because they both realize they’re a lot like the other one. If only Teach wasn’t engaged to be married to an upper-class halfwit. And yeah, his bride to be, Patience, is no winning lady. I really enjoyed the gradual relationship growth between Teach and Anne. It wasn’t a direct hate to love, it was a nice slower paced kind. And I think that’s what makes it more heartwarming.

Amidst this budding relationship we still have a little bit going on, for soon Teach is accused of piracy and this is a time when all pirates are sent to the gallows. Then we have the fact that Anne has been taking a few items from around the house in order to buy her way onto a ship to possibly visit the West Indies where her mother came from before she was sold into slavery. But life changes fast for Anne when her identity comes to light in the Drummond household. And there are still more secrets going around!

Blackhearts is definitely a different kind of read. Not even touching on the pirate origin story, but it’s different because of other things too. For one the pacing is rather slow, I’ll admit, but at the same time you hardly seem to notice. The plot may move slow, but the character development is truly spot on. We’re seeing two different people who started out hating one another begin to grow closer and fall slowly in love. And then naturally, disaster strikes again and again! We all initially thought this might be a standalone that ends with a terrible cliffhanger, but we now know that it’s a trilogy! Initially I thought it was a duology, but apparently there’s going to be another one after Blacksouls! Which totally has me wondering what might be happening!

The course is set for the next novel, I won’t tell you what that is of course, but it’s a cliffhanger so you can pretty much imagine we need to get ourselves back on level ground. Where the next adventure might take us is unclear. I would like to think there might be a better sense of adventure in the next one. This one was good, but the story itself was a little lacking for me. But again I will say the characters more than make up for it! I felt such a range of emotions too! The fact that our characters are of two different races in their given time period which is set in 1697, you pretty much know that wasn’t a good time for peace, also presents its own tension. Let alone the fact that Teach’s father is an ass.

As I said, a lot of emotions going on with me when reading this one! And the ending, god I don’t know how all you people who read this when it came out have managed to survive for this long! It was quite the gut puncher! I am so glad I can immediately turn to Blacksouls! But I do fear for the worst with that ending too. I thought I heard it too ended with a scream-worthy cliffhanger! Eegads I’m in trouble! Lol! I shall be sure to let you all know how I will fare when I get around to reviewing the sequel!

Blackhearts is a must read for any pirate loving fan! True, we aren’t hanging out with the Pirates of the Caribbean in this one, but we’re meeting a most famed pirate in his early days of youth. That can be an exciting thing in and of itself!


Overall Rating 4/5 stars 



  1. This sounds like a good read, I need to add it to my TBR! Great review!

  2. I was so enthralled by this book. Like you said, the pacing is slow but you don't seem to notice as you read which is a sign of a great story.

    I had been warned that there was no pirate moments in this particular novel so I knew going in not to expect pirates.

    I'm so excited for the sequel. I read this when there wasn't a sequel announced so you can imagine the thoughts going through my head thinking we weren't going to get the next part of the story!

  3. I haven't read this yet, but loved your review. I think characters are the most important part of the books I choose to read and from your review, I will definitely put this one high on my list.

  4. I'm glad you loved this one. I frankly wanted more pircacy and less romance but it was good from a historical fiction perspective. I did also like the characters which was good. Great review!
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

  5. I absolutely adored Blackhearts, and in my opinion, the sequel is even better! Nicole's writing has grown and improved so much, so I hope you love it as much as I did :) Fabulous review, as always.

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

  6. I dont read nearly enough pirate stories. And I love pirates! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. It is patiently sitting on my TBR waiting for me to get to it. I might need to bump it up the pile. :)

    Michelle @ Book Briefs


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