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Blackhearts Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Plot: Blackhearts is a beautiful novel that explores two characters desperate to escape their societal limitations. I've seen complaint that this book doesn't feature any pirates despite being about Blackbeard and that it was a slower paced read, but that's what made this book so endearing to me. This book has a subtle charm that explores the journey instead of the destination (swashbuckling pirates), so if you're a reader who prefers character growth and exploration over high-speed action - this one is for you. I'm so happy to hear that the publisher green-lighted a sequel because while it is an origin story, I do think there is much much more to this story than what Blackhearts has given us.
Characters: Blackhearts' soul is within the characters that Castroman introduces. I immediately fell in love with the fiery Anne - the daughter of an English merchant and West Indes slave - who is forced to accept her lower status based solely on her skin tone. I connected with her because she was a young woman trying to survive in an environment that made it obvious that she didn't belong. I read Castroman's author note about Anne and I loved how she used her family's experience to help craft Anne's turmoil of finding a place that felt like her own. If you couldn't tell, I really loved Anne, this is why representation matters people! Our dashing Blackbeard, or Teach, took some time for me to warm up to because he was just so forward. While this is Teach's story, I found this to be Anne's story more than anything, but I'm excited to see more of Teach's transformation into Blackbeard in Blacksouls.
Worldbuilding: In the author's note, Castroman remarked that she enjoys history and it truly showed in how she sculpted this world. I felt right at home in the posh setting of Teach's home and I could vividly picture the crowded markets and unsavory docks. Not only that, but she made a point to highlight race relations in England and how these mixed-race offspring were treated. I really respect Nicole Castroman for the amount of detail she put into not only her world but in the interactions between characters and their thought process. Everything felt respectful and deliberate.
Short N Sweet: Blackhearts can only be described as a "slow burn." It's a wonderful journey with some of the best characters I've read in a while.
The story is told from the 3rd person limited POV. You go through the story seeing through both Teach’s and Anne’s perspectives. The 3rd person limited narration allows the reader to fully understand the context of the situation through the character’s eyes. When Anne is speaking, we only know how she is feeling and how she is interpreting Teach’s actions. The reader comes to understand how high society functions as well as the behind the curtain of the household staff. Anne is considered beneath the regular household staff due to her mother’s background (being from the West Indies).
Castroman did an excellent job at conveying the misogynistic, sexist, and racist standards present during the time period Blackhearts is written. I didn’t have any preconceived notions about this book, but I will say reading others reviews of it helped me set my mind. When you hear “Blackbeard retelling”, you think pirates and ships. While Castroman didn’t give us those things in Blackhearts, she gave us a starting place, which I am grateful for. To understand Blackbeard you have to know where he comes from, and specifically, what made him into a pirate.
The romance itself is a slow burn, building to greatness. You can feel the attraction between Teach and Anne from the first page. It also helps that there are other characters who get in their way. Miss Patience, the little priss teach is betrothed to (I wished she’d fall off a cliff. I am sure there are plenty in Bristol). Master Drummond, Anne’s employer and Teach’s father. I hope, if there is a second book (there better be), we come to understand why Master Drummond was so controlling, thinking he knew what was best for his son. I can’t believe that his character is just that controlling.
And finally, THAT CLIFFHANGER ENDING! I stayed up super late to finish reading Blackhearts and it was totally worth it (I also had a terrible nights sleep, dreams filled with rats, cockroaches, ships, and seas). The slow burning love Teach and Anne have for each other reaches it’s climax and then everything explodes. My only thought at the end of the book was, if Anne hadn’t lied to Teach originally then none of this would be happening!
I started BLACKHEARTS yesterday, but I had to work (gah! - but I'm a LIBRARIAN! Can't I read while I work? Pretty please?) I snuck it in my purse and read a few chapters whenever I thought I could get away with it. Which is why I'm not "sharing" this on Facebook. Too many work acquaintances. ;)
Now, I'm not a huge fan of romance. My boss teases me every day that I should write historical romances and I hiss at her. But Anne and Teach had me HOOKED. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't watch Mission Impossible with the rest of the fam. I don't like swoony romances - this is not one. Anne is such a smart character; I loved that she didn't fall head-over-heels in love and act like a love-sick ninny. I also don't like quicky romances, you know - met you today, in bed an hour later = true love. Blackhearts is not one of those, either. I LOVED the slow, sweet way these two fell in love and I couldn't wait to read more.
I really, really, REALLY hope there is a sequel!
Most recent customer reviews
This one kind of reminded me a lot of Jane Eyre.Read more
Maybe I really am starting to read too many books because I find quite a few of them to be predictable nowadays, and this is one of them.Read more
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