ARC Review: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman10:00
Author: Nicole Castroman
Published February 9th 2016 by Simon Pulse
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.
I received an Advance Reader Copy via Edelweiss. This in no way impacted on my view.
I have been dying for this book ever since I first heard about it. Never before that I known that an origin story about the notorious pirate Blackbeard, but here we are. I preordered this book, along with quite a few others, and decided to wait as patiently as I could for my copy to arrive. I've never had any luck with Edelweiss, though I still request books from time to time. When I checked the site just before Christmas, I was so surprised that there was actually a tick next to Blackhearts, rather than a cross like normal. Thank you so much, Simon Pulse, for approving me!!
Blackhearts, like I've said, is an origin story about the man behind the Blackbeard myth, Edward Teach. In the book, he is a member of a privileged merchant class family, Edward Drummond, nicknamed 'Teach'. Returning from a year abroad aboard a merchant vessel, he is due to be married, and knows in his heart that he doesn't want the marriage, and would rather live in the ship for the rest of his days. He meets a maid in his house, Anne, and slowly starts to fall for her. Anne, due to her mixed heritage, knows her presence in the house is the subject of ridicule. She wants nothing more than to flee England, and travel to Curaçao, the birthplace of her mother. With the launching of Drummond's new ship, the Deliverance, coming up, she's planning to stow away, whatever the cost.
I loved how the story was told in dual PoV. Both Anne and Teach were so interesting, and so unique, that it was definitely necessary for both. Anne was definitely my favourite, but I had a soft spot for Teach. Anyone who has studied any time in history should understand how the attitudes towards the slaves, children of slaves, etc., were at this time. For Anne, who had quite a privileged upbringing, to be thrust into servitude was such a shock. After dealing with the shock of losing her father, and then her mother, she can't cope with impending future. I loved how feisty she was, and how set she was with her plan. She understood what it was to be a female servant at that time, and wasn't about to take anyone's shit.
Teach, though not as interesting as Anne, definitely had his qualities about himself. He knew his life was all set out for him, and fought as hard as he could against that life. His father allowed him to go on his year long journey in order to 'get it out of his system', but rather, it made him yearn for it more. So far, it was the only time nothing had been planned for him, and he could have some kind of freedom. As he spends time with his fiancée again, he realises how uninteresting she was, and that they had absolutely nothing in common. I hated Patience, and I reckon I won't be alone in that thought.
The romance was such a slow burn, that it hurt. I swooned whenever they spent time together, and I feel like it felt right, how it was carried out. For that time period, such a relationship would have been utterly frowned upon, and they both understood this. Still, they knew they were right for each other, and had very similar tastes. Their whole relationship was beautiful, and I can't have asked for more!
The only problem I had with the book, once which I know a lot of other people have had, was the abruptness of the ending. At the current moment, the book is slated to be a standalone book, and that ending was rather like a cliffhanger between books in a series. There are ways to leave a book open ended, somewhat ambiguous, but this was nothing like that. It was just finished, with so much left unanswered, and with a ton of new issues and questions thrust at us in the final pages. I'm praying beyond all hope that a sequel will be announced, and written, but that's not in the cards right now. Nonetheless, I hope it doesn't put you off reading, as everything else was utter perfection. I'm so happy I've read this book, and can't wait for my hard copy to arrive to look at the beautifulness of it! I'd definitely recommend you read it!