None right now

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lefty's Lowdown: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Published: February 9, 2016 by Simon Pulse
Source: I received an eARC for review from the publisher, but that hasn't influenced my opinion of the book in any way at all!
Summary from Goodreads: 
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'll tell you right away, this novel was not what I expected. I knew going into it that it was not meant to be a pirate story.  Nicole Castroman has stated several times it is important to remember this is a pre-pirate novel. She wanted to explore what Blackbeard's younger days were like and what led him to his swashbuckling lifestyle. So, I thought this was going to detail his dark descent into corrupt morals. That's not what this was, not really, and in some ways I'm disappointed about that, but I also adore this book for exactly what it is. The more I think about it the more I love it. 

Blackhearts is told from two different points of view: Anne, the miserable maid from the West Indies who works in the Drummond household, and Edward "Teach" Drummond, a teenage guy suffering under the pressure of his father's expectations. Both of our main characters are extremely interesting and well-developed. I enjoyed reading both of their stories a lot and I became very emotionally invested in both of them, but I was probably a bit more partial to Teach's narration (I tend to like male narrators better). BUT LET'S TALK ABOUT TEACH! Holy frick on a stick, I fell head over heels in love with him over the course of this novel. Honestly, I was definitely picturing Hook from Once Upon a Time while I was reading this, and I'll most likely picture any pirate I ever read about as Hook. But anyway. Teach. When we're first introduced to him, we do not get a good impression, but he definitely grows and changes throughout the story. He obviously loved Anne so very much and it was adorable! I also liked how fierce Anne was. She was not going to take crap from anybody, even though she was a maid, a woman, and a person of color. She respected herself far too much to let anyone treat her poorly, and I loved it! I'm not sure it's very accurate, but accuracy doesn't matter all that much to me. 

For some reason I'm having a hard time figuring out what to write for this review (it's difficult to describe why this book is so great), so I'm just gonna drop a list of all the other things I loved about this book. 

Ship ship ship - And I mean the romantic ship, not the pirate ship (lol I'm the funniest). Anyway, I ship Teach and Anne so hard. I read that some people were worried about insta-love, but trust me, that will not be a problem. Blackhearts has a slow-burning, intense romance that grows and grows until you want to push their heads together and make them kiss like Barbie dolls. They actually hate each other at first, but they soon realize they complement each other well, they bring out the best in each other, and they help each other realize what's really in their hearts. GUYS JUST TRUST ME WHEN I SAY IT WAS GOOD.

The arranged marriage aspect - I don't know why, but I always enjoy reading about arranged marriages. It adds so much drama  and tension! Teach is betrothed to Miss Patience, a baron's daughter, and for many years, he is content with that. But then he sets sail for a year and when he comes back he realizes he wants more than a pretty face and a title, but neither of their fathers are willing to break the engagement because it is beneficial for both of them. 

A social hierarchy - Again, I;m not sure why, but I find social stratification so freaking interesting to read about. Characters on the quest for money and titles, or characters seeking to escape the pressures of money and titles. 

The ending - Okay, I didn't like the ending, but I enjoyed it because I'm a masochist and I like pain. Because the ending hurt like hell. It wasn't unexpected. I spent the whole novel knowing that something along these lines would happen, but hoping they wouldn't. What's worse is that the novel does not even end on a dark note. It ends with a hopeful tone, but that makes it even more sad because if you know anything about Blackbeard, you know that it will never work out in these characters' favor. This was the kind of ending that sat heavy on my heart at first, and I couldn't stop thinking about it, and the more I thought about it, the more sad it made me. 

I don't know if this is even a comprehensible review. I honestly feel like it's all over the place, but that's because my feelings are all over the place (in a good way). There is just some sort of indescribable quality in this book that made me fall in love. This book and these characters will always live in my heart, and I have a feeling I'll revisit them in the future. I'm not typically a historical fiction person, but Nicole Castroman creates a story anyone will love. 

Here are some of my favorite moments: 

"You shouldn't say such things," she said, placing the book on the bedside table.

"Why not?" Teach asked.

"Because I am not a princess." She picked up the supper tray, preparing to leave.

He grinned, unabashed, clutching his hand to his chest. "Oh, forgive me. You're quite right. You're not a princess."

Anne shook her head at him, trying to suppress a smile.

"You're a queen. From now on I shall refer to you as Queen Anne." (location 962)

"Well?" Teach asked.

She could only shake her head and cast a quick glance at him, noting the satisfaction in his features. "I don't know what to say," she said at last.

"'Thank you'? Or 'I shall endeavor to trust you in the future'?"

A grin tugged at her lips. "I would not go so far as that." (location 1434)

"Will you please join us for supper this evening?" Teach asked. "I cannot endure another meal along with Miss Patience."

"And if I choose not to?"

Teach snorted. "I'll come to your room and drag you to supper myself."

"You wouldn't dare make a scene to that extent."

"When it comes to you, Anne, I would dare a lot of things." (location 2415)

My rating:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for taking the time to read what I have to say and give your opinion on it. It really means a lot to me. And of course, I will do my best to return the favor. However, as easily distracted and scatter-brained as I am, please don't be offended if I forget to comment on your blog.