A romance with everything standing in the way... Blackheart by Nicole Castroman (Blog Tour Review & Giveaway)

Welcome to my stop for this Blackbeard retelling, Blackhearts by debut author, Nicole Castroman! I think we need more stories with pirates. I believe this is only the second that I've ever read in the genre and I'm looking forward to more from this series...

YA Historical, Retelling
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
February 9th 2016 by Simon Pulse


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 CuraƧao—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.

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My Review

BLACKHEARTS dove right into historical England from the viewpoint of a servant and the young lord of the house, a merchant's son. There were so many different issues brought to play through the story, making things interesting in the clash of social hierarchy and expectations based on the color of skin and birth. Throw into this two strong characters with dreams and ambition who are fighting against their expectations and you have the setting for a passionate and volatile story. A very emotional and romantic story that leaves the reader wanting more, and the perfect set up for the man who will eventually be called Blackbeard.

Both Teach and Anne were marvelously done. They are strong, passionate, attractive, hard-working, and caring. They come from very different backgrounds, but they both are survivors. I loved the way they initially meet and how their relationship progresses. They are so very honest with each other in most ways with an underlying attraction that simmers constantly. I loved the banter and the tension, and especially the few touching moments they have. They have everything fighting against them and a romance blossoms regardless.

There were also some serious villains who played some important roles. Quite a few of them I rather strongly disliked. Obviously that was the intent. They stir up trouble. Some also could be friend or foe and played both sides at one time or another.

I liked how the author showed the power struggle between societal expectations or rules and the actual economic environment as the titled lose wealth and those of the working class gain it. It was also interesting to see how some took for granted their stations and others did not. There was a darkness and grit to this story a little more common to the writing of Dickens than to that of Austen or what you find in the usual romance set at this time. There were references to pirates, stolen goods, and a somewhat shadier look at servants.

There were places that I felt the story could have dug deeper or where the romance really takes over, but those would be the only drawbacks for me.

Overall, this was an enjoyable story. I'd recommend it to those who enjoy historical romance where the romance is passionate and where the setting is grittier. It sets the stage for the eventual Blackbeard and I have to say that I'm rather fascinated by this beginning. I want to know what happens next and how he becomes who he does. It makes me wonder if I will like the man in the end and if there is a way for him to have a happy ending.

Content: Some innuendo and violence.

Source: I received a complimentary copy for review from the publisher via Edelweiss, which did not affect my review in any way.

About the Author

Nicole was lucky enough to come with her very own best friend...she has a twin sister who can read her mind and finish her sentences for her. 

At the age of 13, she went to Europe for the first time and it changed her life. She loves learning about different people, languages and cultures and speaks fluent German. She knows enough Spanish to get herself into trouble and can still read the Cyrillic alphabet from when she studied Russian.

She received her B.A. from Brigham Young University and has lived in Germany, Austria and two different places called Georgia. One is located on the Black Sea. The other is the state of Georgia where she now lives with her handsome husband and two beautiful children who continue to amaze her.

Follow the Tour

Follow the Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Win (1) signed hardcopy of Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman and some swag (US Only)

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