It’s Friday! I have to admit I am so ready for my weekend. I’m about ready to call it a day/night here soon but first some errands to run and most important and what you’re really interested in…my full thoughts and feels on Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman, her debut novel. I received an early ARC in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. Thank you!
I’m typing this review having only finished last night. I am completely in shock still and just reeling for more of this beautiful and amazing story. Seriously, I spent the hour after finishing on the internet asking every search engine, book site, and everything I could think of for more. I wasn’t ready for it to be over. I’m still not. If it’s not clear I LOVE this book!
For those of you who are not familiar with the title it comes out this month, February 9th, and follows the legend of Blackbeard the pirate before he was Blackbeard. When he was just a man named Edward “Teach” Drummond and wanted to leave his life as a merchants son to chase adventure on a ship and escape the duty of his life. We also follow Anne, left penniless and in a bad way after her parents deaths she is put to work in the kitchen of Master Drummond. In the life of a maid, one she never expected, she longs for escape, to sail away from England to the islands where her mother grew up. When Teach and Anne meet things are anything but friendly but they both have much in common despite society and circumstances trying to keep them at odds. Dreams and hearts are dangerous things.
Warning to anyone who is expecting a pirate story. This is not it in the classic sense. This is before the swashbuckling days, what made Blackbeard. Blackhearts takes place on land. I went in thinking I would see some pirate-like things myself, and while it didn’t have what I expected, it had so much of everything else I didn’t think to expect that I didn’t even miss them. Just so you know what you’re going into. Oh and the feels. I have some serious feels.
Let’s start with Anne. She is such a great character to introduce us to the story. She is a new maid in the house of a cranky older man and her fellow servants don’t even like her. Hard life. But as she is learning this new world, being thrust into it for only a short time and learning the hard way, she is inspiring. Anne is different, her mother was a former slave and her father a well-respected businessmen and merchant who loved her, still given the time it was not known to many. While he lived she was his daughter and while not out in society was still educated, opinionated, and strong willed. To go from that life of a quite happiness to a maid working day in and out would be a hard adjustment. Everything she has gone through to the point of our story begins has made her such a diverse character I really enjoyed reading. She is very self-aware of her flaws and disadvantages and tries to compensate for them when possible. She thinks! She is for the most part rational.
Then we have Teach. Okay the name does get some getting used to but I after a while it grows on you. He is abrupt and not very likeable in the start but as the reader gets to know him and see what’s in his head and the reasons behind his actions then his actions are seen in another light. He is trapped just as much as Anne though in the opposite way of Anne. While she has no money, his father is very well off, both ends of the spectrum are a leash. Society demands a lot from the affluent, particularly his father who wishes to rise higher and cares little for his sons’ wish of freedom and adventure. What better way than an advantageous marriage, to Miss Patience, guaranteeing he will never go back on a ship.
The plot of the story and how these two stories intertwined was amazing and the connection between the two was a slow and natural build as they grew to know one another and not hate each other. They are of different statuses and that impacts their views and interactions. Blackhearts also deals with the issues of race, class, and standing instead of pushing them aside. My only real concern for the book is that I went in thinking it was a stand-alone story but the ending…well there are open endings and then there are way too open for me and might take away half a star but as I have no confirmation either way and I'm still basking in the glow and hoping for the best.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book in the comments below. Have you already had the chance to read it? Can't wait for Tuesday? What part drew you in? Please share I'm bursting with feels and opinions! Stay tuned tomorrow for my Stacking Shelves to see what books I've collected this past month!
Until next time…