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.
“A wise man is not the one who knows the difference between good and evil, but the one who chooses the least evil.”
“We could be on opposite sides of the world, but you would still be mine, as I am yours.”
Let’s get the few Trigger/Content Warnings out of the way so we can dig right into the review.
- Attempted Sexual Assault
- Slut Shaming
The characters are developed just enough to be interesting but not enough that I was able to imagine all of them in a real world setting. Teach and Anne, who received the most development as point-of-view characters, were really the only characters who didn’t fall a little flat. I didn’t like how Teach’s father flip-flopped character wise.
I also did not like that the characters seemed to go out of their way to slut shame Mary for having a physical relationship with a man. While yes, there is a rule against inter-employee fraternization, there’s no reason for Anne to have told Teach about the relationship the way she did. She did so knowing that Teach would slut shame her and threaten her job. The whole situation was poorly handled.
I did really like the dynamic between Teach and Anne once they got to know each other enough not to hate each other. I absolutely love that even after they admit to themselves they’re in love, Anne doesn’t back down on her beliefs. This isn’t something I see very often in Young Adult novels. It seems like, most often, girls are told they should think for themselves, until they find the one person who makes them incapable of thinking, at which point they should default to their significant other. It’s awesome to see a girl fall in love but still remain true to herself.
The world building was done in a way that allowed bits and piece of information filter in throughout the story without being info-dumpy or overwhelming. It was adequate, though I wish there had been a bit more substance to it so the novel could be more immersive. I enjoyed reading about 1697 England, but it felt a bit disconnected at times.
I should probably note that going into reading this I literally knew nothing about the story. I hadn’t even read the synopsis. I saw a ship in a bottle on the cover, heard that the second book will be released soon, and saw it at the library. It all just came together in a way that screamed READ THIS. Imagine my surprise when there were literally maybe three pages total where any of the characters are even on a ship. I spent a lot of my time while reading this thinking, “okay, but when are they actually getting on a ship?…” The story was interesting, but now I would really like the next book so I can actually see them on an actual ship for longer than five minutes.
Overall, I rate Blackhearts 3 out of 5 bookworms.
Don’t just take my word for it. Order a copy of Blackhearts and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can go to get your hands on a copy are:
- Amazon US
- Amazon UK
- Books-A-Million (US)
- Barnes and Noble (US)
- Book Depository
- your local bookstore or local library
For more information about Nicole Castroman and her work, visit her website.