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Blackhearts Hardcover – February 9, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—After spending a year out at sea, "Teach" Drummond begrudgingly returns to the world of late 17th-century British high society that he was born into. He is desperate to return to the ocean and live the life he's always dreamt of. Not that long before his arrival, Anne, a teenage orphan, comes to the Drummond estate to work as a maid to save enough money to sail back to the West Indies, the birthplace of her mother. After a few "meet cute" moments, they fall madly for each other. When they are met with disapproval from the Drummonds and society in general (Anne is biracial, and interracial relationships were not accepted at the time), they desperately struggle to find a way out of their surroundings and hopefully make both of their dreams come true. This historical fiction story of the love between the man who will become Blackbeard and the girl of his dreams relies heavily on the romance elements to sustain it. Even though this takes place in the 1690s, there are very few historical aspects included. Teach comes off as a generic romantic lead and shows little of the qualities that will eventually make him one of the most feared pirates of that time. The book is left open-ended, with room for an eventual sequel. VERDICT For teen collections with a heavy romance readership; not an essential purchase for most.—Christopher Lassen, BookOps: New York Public Library & Brooklyn Public Library
"Filled with well-drawn and morally complex characters, a rich frame, and smoldering passion, this first novel will hit the mark with readers of historical fiction who want strong heroines and unexplored plots to ponder." (― Heather Booth Booklist) --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.
Top customer reviews
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!
I was sucked in, invested, and swooning over Teach within the first couple of chapters. He's the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome. Most of all, the way he talks to, looks at, and treats Anne will make you melt. He fell for her for all the right reasons. I could go on and on about him!
Anne is equally as likable, in my opinion. I adore her independent attitude and her pride. Despite being a female and bi-racial in the time period, she stood up for herself and stated her mind when she needed to. I value strong female characters that young, female readers can learn from and I think Anne fits into that category.
Anne and Teach's relationship was by far my favorite aspect of the story. I was invested, rooting for them the entire time. Halfway through the book I wanted to reach into the story and make them kiss! Their relationship was far from just physical. In fact, they only shared a couple of kisses. I could FEEL their love, companionship, and devotion while reading.
I will not give any part of the ending away. However, I will say this- WITH EVERY OUNCE OF MY BEING I HOPE THERE IS A SEQUEL!
Most recent customer reviews
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