by Nicole Castroman
Genres: Historical, Retelling, Romance, Young Adult
Publication Date: February 9, 2016 by Simon Pulse
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Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
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. This is their story.
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 this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I went into this story expecting pirate fights and action but what I got was Blackbeard’s background, which I loved! I read a guest post on a blog about why Nicole Castroman wrote Blackhearts and I’m so glad I read this because then this story made sense to me and it was all the more intriguing.
Anne is a maid at the Drummond’s household despite coming from a respectful family. Anne was a very determined character and waiting with open arms her independence. She wanted to leave, to escape and in order to do so, she had to steal from Drummond, risking getting caught and hanged. The thing is she isn’t supposed to be a maid as her father was a merchant but her birth was kept a secret from the public due to her mother being a slave. She’s ready to explore the world and find her mother’s side of the family. Edward “Teach” Drummond arrives from a year at sea and he already wants to leave. All Teach wants is to be at sea but his father expects more from him, to stay in land and marry someone from a respected family. Anne doesn’t want to fall for Teach because he’s betrothed to someone else but Teach isn’t giving up on Anne and what he feels for her.
Anne had never met anyone like Teach. He was arrogant and driven, as was his father, but at the same time, Teach was not above gestures of kindness or consideration, traits he had no doubt inherited from his mother.
WHAT I LIKED:
- The story was focused on both characters and their lives instead of simply Teach’s life a.k.a. Blackbeard. This story is told in third point of view from both character’s life. I have expressed before that I’m not a fan of third POV but I have to say the author did a very good job, giving equal spotlight to the characters and written in a way that wasn’t a complete bore to me. Anne’s life wasn’t the easiest and the reader gets the full story behind what happened to her, not snippets of it or left to our imagination. She was a complex character and the author dove into her life as deep as Teach’s life, who also wasn’t the easiest one.
- I enjoyed Teach’s and Anne’s conversations from the moment they meet. They are real with one another and express what they feel without holding anything back. Some of their banter was cute, at times unrealistic and somewhat cliché but I actually adored it. I guess that because everything was going badly for them, just reading about them being happy in each other’s company was enough to make me root for them.
“Come find me,” she said.
- Teach’s friend John was a great addition to the story. He was so fiercely loyal to Teach and we definitely need more of those in YA.
Having John as a friend was like having a big, vicious dog as your loyal pet.
WHAT I WASN’T A COMPLETE FAN OF:
- This has nothing to do with the author’s writing or the story: Some side characters were demanding to be killed, I swear. I hated them with such passion and some of them got the better end from what they deserved.
- THE ENDING!!! I’m holding out hope there is a sequel with a happy ending because I NEED IT! It cannot be left that way if it’s a standalone. My poor heart will not accept it 🙁 View Spoiler »Drummond, Teach’s father, finds out that Anne had stolen from him and also finds out about his son’s relationship with Anne so he tells Anne he won’t send her to be hanged if she leaves on a ship and leaves a note to Teach, saying her feelings for him were never true. But Anne’s destination changes and is kidnapped. Teach finds out about all of this and sets aboard his father’s ship, completely unrecognizable, in hopes of finding Anne. « Hide Spoiler
“We could be on opposite sides of the world, but you would still be mine, as I am yours.”
Overall, I really enjoyed this background retelling story on Blackbeard. I wish there had been more to it (see above) but it was a great story and the author did a great job writing her debut novel.
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