Limited Pirates but Promising Start | Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Friday, September 01, 2017

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: 2/9/16
Pages: 384
Source: purchased

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.

Before Blackbeard was a ferocious pirate who sailed the ocean blue, he was a merchant’s son, falling for a lovely girl. Edward, though he much prefers to go by Teach, arrives back on land after a year at sea and his only goal is—not to marry his promised betrothed but to—return to the sea. That is until he meets Anne, a maid working for his father. However, Anne is keeping secrets, many of them, and he intends to find out what they are. In Blackhearts, it is a tale of romance and tragedy, introducing readers to a magnificent new series, documenting Blackbeard’s origin.

The Romance

  • The progression of Teach and Anne’s relationship, especially of how she read aloud to him every night, is considerably so romantic. There’s only a few other stories, I have come across that characters fall in love after being read to and I think it’s a gorgeous beginning of a relationship. Read to me and I will fall in love.
  • I was a little less willing to trust Teach in the beginning. There just seemed to be so many facets to his character. His willingness to be out on the sea but his easy, flowing life of returning to his land-lover life that he left a year before made me wary about what he truly desired. His intentions were never really clear to me despite getting full chapters of following him around (the narrative is however in 3rd person).
  • Castroman writes historical incredibly well, and not in a history textbook type of way either. She is still able to bring across Anne’s sass despite her status as a maid. It is quite brilliant and something that easily made me love Anne as a character.

Limited Pirates, Great Potential

  • So I went into this knowing very little. When I first bought it, I was so excited to read about some pirates, I was thinking it was a retelling of Blackbeard. However, a fellow blogger broke the news to me. Be warned, there is little pirate magic in this one. Despite that, I liked it exceptionally.
  • It is good to note that while pirates do not play a huge role in the story, it does not mean that they are entirely nonexistent in Blackhearts. I was surprised to find piracy a big issue for Blackhearts and something I am definitely looking forward to Castroman exploring in later novels.

The Ending

  • As much as in the beginning Anne and Teach definitely had something going for them, by the end of the novel, Castroman seemed to be missing a significant part in the progression of their relationship. It got to the point that it felt incredibly rushed, out of place. Their feelings for each other, especially Teach’s curiosity turned love seemed totally unfounded. It certainly had great potential and given a bit more time together—instead of just mentioning that they walked through the gardens, give me some of those scenes—I probably would have begun to warm up to their romantic fondness for each other.
  • The characters, more importantly Anne and Teach, are who drive the force of the novel. Apart, each character is magnificent in their own ways. I hope to continue reading more about them and get to delve deeper into the story with them in the future.
  • The action was somewhat dimmed. Again, there was tons of potential and it could have gone in so many unexpected ways. Castroman put Anne and Teach in some precarious positions that could have been drawn out further for suspense or described in a bit more detail for readers’ heightened awareness.
  • The ending does leave me wanting more. The direction in which the story is headed gives me hope that the series will surely get better with each sequel. 


Blackhearts was a promising start to what definitely could be an awesome series of how Blackbeard becomes the pirate we know today.

Blackhearts (2/9/16): 3 stars
Blacksouls (4/11/17): TBD

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