Blackhearts by Nicole CastromanBlackhearts by Nicole Castroman


byNicole Castroman

Hardcover | September 15, 2017

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In this stunningly creative debut, Nicole Castroman reimagines the origins of history’s most infamous pirate—Blackbeard—and tells the story of the girl who captured his heart and then broke it, setting him on a path to destruction.

When Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, returns home from a year at sea, he finds his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, all Teach wants is to return to the vast ocean he calls home. There’s just one problem: he must convince his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following the death of her parents, Anne Barrett is left penniless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne takes a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks and Anne longs to escape the confines of her now mundane life. How will she ever achieve her dream of sailing to Curaçao—her mother’s birthplace—when she’s trapped in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn together by a shared desire for freedom, but kept apart by Teach’s father, their love is as passionate as it is forbidden. Faced with an impossible choice, Teach and Anne must decide whether to chase their dreams and leave England forever—or follow their hearts and stay together.
Title:BlackheartsFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:384 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.5 inShipping dimensions:8.25 × 5.5 × 1.5 inPublished:September 15, 2017Publisher:Simon PulseLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1481432699

ISBN - 13:9781481432696

Appropriate for ages: 14


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love It This isn’t as adventurous as the cover implies, but it’s fast paced and has a pretty close to perfect romance. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved the story, didn't love the ending Loved the book up until the end, where the whole problem could have been easily avoided...however, i am looking forward to the sequel. All in all a good read.
Date published: 2017-04-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great start! This is probably one of the few book that I read in one sitting where the reason is that I couldn't put it down. Loved the dynamic between Teach and Anne (the name a giveaway to their future interaction because of Blackbeard's ship). It was a relatively easy read, but no less interesting. Looking forward to the sequel!
Date published: 2017-01-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVED IT I really enjoyed this book and the elements of the book that were realistic, like how Teach's father didn't support his dreams of becoming a captain because he wanted something better for him. I also really appreciated that Teach loved his father despite him being controlling because some authors forget that even if you have the worst parent in the world, you still love them and want them to be better. I also appreciated how this fictional story actually ties in with most Blackbeard facts and am super pumped for the next book. One thing I didn't love about the book was that there were a few problems in the plot that could've easily been avoided if the main characters just paid attention a little bit. If you've read the book, you should know what I'm talking about. There was a certain turning point in the book that caused a huge problem in the story that could have easily been avoided if Anne had just been a little more careful and a little more honest. I know a lot people didn't like the book because they were expecting more pirates, but I actually really loved the book without it and can't wait for the next book.
Date published: 2016-12-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life Well this is truly a Blackbeard origin story. I knew that going in. Just not to the degree of Blackbeard not being known as Blackbeard, or to not even be at sea. But there you have it, Blackhearts is a love story that eventually produced when of the most notorious pirates. Well Castroman's take on that bit of history. So getting over that hump of no pirates and sea adventures, Blackhearts turned out to be a pretty good historical romance. That's how I ended up reading it anyhow. It definitely has all the scandal an intrigue that comes with a historical romantic backdrop. Edward is returning home to his wealthy merchant father and his "chosen" betrothed. Anne is the maid holding a big secret well trying to escape to freedom. Any relationship that develops just screams recipe for disaster. I mean it's already spelled out with the name of Blackbeard's/Edward's future ship. I like how their relationship started off on a mutual annoyance to realizing that they both craved freedom(which the open sea provides). Anne has a natural sassy-ness. Edward is naturally protective with an underlying darker side. What I thought added a great layer to the story is Anne being of mixed ethnicity. Which is obviously something you would never see back then. Castroman could have made Anne just another poor white girl and based on the time period I know I would have thought nothing of it. But by not, there was more to Anne and her surroundings; how people reacted to her, whether just staring, being disgusted or the few that didn't continue to notice. The setting of Bristol drew me right in. Not only am I sucker for a seaside town, but I also have family routes there. So you know, it's close to my heart. As you might imagine Edward and Anne are not in for an easy love. Blackhearts can definitely stand alone, as I believe it's meant to. But we were just getting to the good stuff, adventure and piracy, so I can only hope there's more to come on the horizon.
Date published: 2016-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Phenomenal novel that has me by my heartstrings Don't mind me, sobbing in the corner over here. I'm just a tad heartbroken over here. Let me just start off by saying that Blackhearts is phenomenal. I love this book. It's been a while since a book has grabbed me by my heartstrings and doesn't let go. I started reading this on the bus to school and then I couldn't stop reading it when I got to school. I decided to go to school early to write an essay that I hadn't started yet, but I still hadn't started it, because I HAD to know what was going on next. BLACKHEARTS tells the story of Edward "Teach" Drummond, before he became the legendary and notorious pirate, Blackbeard. It also tells of Anne Barret, the illegitimate daughter of a merchant and a slave from Curaçao. With her parents dead and no money to her name, she finds herself working on the Drummond estate as a maid. All she wants is the freedom to choose her own life and to travel to the place her mother was born, just as all Teach wants is out of his arranged engagement and to sail the seas as captain of a ship. The chemistry between Anne and Teach is palpable. From the first moment they met each other, there was a tension between them that most certainly developed into something more. I loved reading their interactions and the slow development of their relationship. I ship the two so hard. I love Anne. She's intelligent and educated, thanks to her father teaching her how to read and educating her. She's stubborn and it's clear to others and to Teach that there's something about her that makes her more than just a maid. Anne is a realist and she's very aware of her situation and what she must do in order to get her freedom. Teach is the son of a successful and wealthy merchant, whose father has aspirations of becoming an aristocrat. This leads Teach to rub elbows with some of the more elite families of Bristol. Despite the fact that he doesn't want the marriage arranged between him and the daughter of an aristocrat, he is under the thumb of his father, especially if he has any hopes of acquiring his inheritance. I love this novel and it'll be one that I'll be thrusting upon my friends in the very near future. The ending of this novel left my heart in pieces, but it was well worth it. BLACKHEARTS pulled me in from the first chapter and sucked me into the world of Anne and Teach and still has yet to let me go. I hope you guys read this novel and love it just as much as I have.
Date published: 2016-02-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great origin story This is the story of Blackbeard the pirate before he became Blackbeard, when Edward ‘Teach’ Drummond was just the son of a merchant returning home after a year at sea. His father has great plans for him, including marriage to a girl he doesn’t love, but all Edward wants is to hit the open seas again. Anne Barrett works as a maid in the Drummond household but longs for the day she will escape and sail away to the place her mother was from. When these two meet, they’re drawn to the way neither acts as expected of them but being together is near impossible. This was a book I was looking forward to for some time. A Blackbeard origin story sounded like something I would definitely be interested in reading. I’m glad that it turned out to be not only interesting but also entertaining and a book I didn’t want to stop reading. The book was told in the dual POVs of Edward and Anne. Both characters were caught in the situation where their heart wanted one thing but everyone was telling them they had to do the opposite. I found myself enjoying both characters, though maybe Anne a little more because I really loved her spirit and how she would stand up for herself when others looked down on her due to her skin color, gender, or position in society. They both had similar personalities but were still different enough to know whose POV it was at all times. Their personalities also led them to clash a lot and their fights were tense but also fun to read. I was glad Anne could give just as good as she got in their fights so it didn’t feel like Edward was using his position over her. The plot was one that was a slow burn. There was a lot of focus on Edward and Anne’s journeys, separately and together, so it didn’t leave much time for development of other characters, which was a bit disappointing. We did get a couple of characters that were more fleshed out and some relationships defined and strengthened but the main focus was always on Edward and Anne. Since this was an origin story, there wasn’t much of the book that took place on a ship and there was only talk of pirates. There were hints of how scary Edward could be and if there’s more books to come, I’m excited to go on that journey with him. There was a lot of slow burn romance between Edward and Anne and a lot of them fighting against society’s constraints, both together and separately. The pull toward freedom was always strong for both of them. I find myself torn between liking the book as is with this ending or hoping for more. *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2016-02-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great debut! Edward “Teach” Drummond is the son of a very wealthy merchant in Bristol, England. Anne Barrett is a half English and West Indes daughter of another respectable merchant. After her brother throws her out on the street, he ends up giving her a place at Drummond’a household working as the cook. Anne is determined to leave and find what’s left of her mother’s family while Teach has no intention of marrying the wealthy aristocrat’s daughter. First thing, this not set on a ship at all. It’s practically an origin story about Blackbird. I kept hoping there was going to be some sort of sailing done, but I gave up halfway through. It’s all set in England with all the high-born and low-born characters. Side characters like Mary and Margery annoyed me simply because of their racist remarks. There’s wasn’t much to like either about Teach’s father and Patience. These characters had so much prejudice against Anne for being a darker skin colour that I wanted to punch them sometimes. Then there’s our main characters, told in their point of view, I liked them both. Anne and Teach were just so alike which is why they argued so much. I loved that Anne is independent and strong-willed, even though her retorts could get her unemployed, she kept true to herself and go her father and mother. Though she does make mistakes and she gets in trouble, she’s perfectly flawed. Then there’s Teach who has changed from the moment he stepped off the ship after a year’s voyage. I liked how he finally learned to be independent and that also helped him be a better person, by seeing other for who they were. I love their chemistry and it wasn’t love at first sight at all! Their meeting was the funniest encounter I’ve read so far. I really think historical fans would like this one. There’s a bit of a soap opera like plot, but the ending seems like there’s going to be a whole lot of adventures coming our way. Cannot wait for the next installment! I’m enthralled with Blackbeard’s next voyage!
Date published: 2016-02-04

Read from the Book

Blackhearts CHAPTER 1Anne Bristol, England 1697 After Anne’s father died, her mother often said that sorrow was the only sun that rose for them. Her mother had since followed him into the darkness of death, leaving Anne to face the dawn alone. That morning was no different, the thick clouds overhead were determined once again to release their pent-up frustration on her. In the crowded marketplace and its stalls, the air smelled of sweet water on damp stone and wood, accompanied by the tang of blood. Other maids and cooks from the large homes in the city bartered and bought, their weary voices calling for pheasant, venison, and veal. Anne stood in line with her pail of fruits and vegetables, hoping she wasn’t too late to get the better cuts of meat. At last she stepped up to the butcher, the many coins in her pocket reminding her of her errand’s importance. The butcher winked, his brown eyes almost black. “Good to see you, Anne. What’ll it be today?” “Master Drummond wants venison tonight,” she said, inspecting the haunches and shoulders hanging from the stall’s center beam. The butcher’s eyes followed her with the same consideration. With his fair hair, some might have called him handsome, but she only saw his yellowed teeth and smelled his rank breath. If Master Drummond hadn’t insisted she buy from this particular butcher, she would have found a different one long ago. He was at least twice her sixteen years, and though his apron was clean, the look on his face was not. “Aye, his son is coming home, isn’t he?” he said, leaning forward across the table. “Been gone a year at sea.” Anne took a step back, pulling her shawl more firmly around her, and finally met his gaze. “Yes, which means there’s no time to waste. I must return to the house as quickly as possible. I’ll take that one,” she said, pointing to a fleshy red hindquarter. The name Drummond was always on someone’s lips, for Richard Drummond was one of the wealthiest merchants in the city. In four weeks’ time one of the largest ships ever built, the Deliverance, would set sail from Bristol. It was Master ­Drummond’s showpiece. “Oi, you can’t have that one. This one’ll have to do,” the butcher said, poking a knife into a thin portion of meat in front of him. It was old, the flesh tough and hard, the fat contracted. Anne’s face flushed with anger, and she wished for the hundredth time that she could purchase elsewhere. “And why would I want that piece?” she asked sharply. “Do you know what the master would do if I served that for dinner tonight?” The butcher grinned. “I know what I’d do,” he said. Gritting her teeth, she gave him what she hoped was a haughty look. “What else do you have?” Unexpectedly, he grabbed her arm, pulling her close so that her pail hit the table, spilling the produce onto the cobblestones beneath their feet. “Don’t act so high and mighty with me. I’ve already told you. I’ll give you the best cuts, but this time it’ll cost you a little extra,” he sneered. “I’ve been a patient man. If you want to please your master, you’re going to have to please me first.” Like a dragonfly caught under glass, her heart fluttered. She’d become accustomed to his lewd suggestions, but the grip of his grimy fingers on her arm filled her with a new sense of panic. “You can please yourself,” she hissed, wrenching her arm out of his grasp. With shaking hands she quickly picked up the fruits and vegetables, not bothering to wipe the dirt from their skins. The butcher laughed, an ugly sound that made her stomach churn. She glared at him, turned on her heel, and barreled through the crowd in an attempt to put as much distance between herself and his stall as possible. The devil hang him. If Master Drummond wants venison for his son’s return, he should come down here and buy it himself. If the butcher tries to touch me again, I’ll stick him like the pig he is. Only after she was several rows away did Anne stop and lean against a brick wall to catch her breath, aware of the suspicious glances thrown her way. Despite the fact that it was a major seaport, most of the inhabitants of Bristol were still unused to Anne’s appearance. She was the illegitimate daughter of a prosperous English merchant and a West Indies slave, and people didn’t know how to react to the mix of her mother’s coppery skin and her father’s blue eyes. It was obvious Anne didn’t fully belong to either race, and others often viewed her with either distaste or distrust. Wearily she straightened, her fingers reaching for her mother’s small, gold watch hidden in her pocket, a habit whenever she was upset or distressed. She needed to find something else to cook for dinner, and quickly. With rows and rows of stalls, it would not be too difficult to find a new butcher, but she doubted she’d be able to find the same quality. The church bell chimed the top of the hour, which meant Anne needed to head back to the manor, but there was no decent venison to be found. Desperate, Anne settled instead upon a clean stall near the edge of the market and bought two pheasants from a small, elderly woman with a hunched back and frail shoulders. The woman took the coins Anne handed her and slipped them into her pocket, watching Anne intently the entire time. Anne ignored it, used to the scrutiny by now, after years of prying glances. “Do you ever have venison?” Anne asked, the poultry safely tucked beneath her arm. The old woman nodded. “Aye, but we sold out first thing this morning.” Just my luck. “I’ll be back in the future,” Anne assured her, before heading into the busy horde. From now on she would buy from the old woman’s stall. Anne was the only one that Master Drummond sent to the market. There was no need for him to discover where Anne acquired his meals—she did not understand why he took such an active interest in his purchases anyway. Part of her hair escaped her thick braid and cap, and she impatiently stuffed the stubborn black strands underneath, thinking of all the work that had yet to be done. A party of six would be eating dinner that afternoon, and she needed to get the pheasants home as quickly as possible. Her feet turned in the direction of the harbor. Shrimp was a favorite treat of Master Drummond’s, and she had enough money left over. Although it wouldn’t be a lot, it might be enough to dampen his ire. If she could not secure the shrimp, she feared he might send her back to the workhouse, where she’d have to labor alongside the rest of the city’s penniless inhabitants in exchange for handouts. The thought sent a shiver running down her back. As Anne approached the docks, the sound of seagulls intensified and the bells on distant boats could be heard more clearly. Her father had sometimes brought her here very early in the morning or late at night, when not many people were about. He’d said that the presence of the sea gave the very skies a special quality, one that could not be duplicated. There was freedom here. It flowed through the air and lifted the sails of the vessels as they left. How often in the last five months had she been tempted to stow away, sail off, and leave this life behind? Her mother had filled her head with stories of the West Indies, and her father had always promised to take her to her mother’s island one day. The familiar sights and sounds of the waterfront drew Anne in. It was hard to take a breath without inhaling the scent of salt and fish, and no one could speak without having to raise their voice over the cries of the gulls. Anne managed a smile, her first one all week. The fishmonger she usually bought from saw her coming and straightened, returning her smile. “Good morning, Anne. You’re a bit late this morning, aren’t you?” She nodded regretfully. “Yes, indeed. I don’t have much time, but I need some shrimp,” she said, referring to the small barrel behind him, full of the plump, gray crustaceans. “Two pounds should do.” He flinched. “I’m truly sorry, but those have been purchased.” Fear sharpened Anne’s voice. “What? The whole barrel?” “Aye. Someone came in and bought the lot.” “But I must have two pounds. Surely you can spare some,” she said. “They’re not mine to spare. Though, you can ask him yourself, if you like,” the fishmonger said, pointing at someone over Anne’s shoulder. She turned in time to see a large figure approaching. He was at least a head taller than she, with a broad chest, and muscular legs clearly visible in the brown breeches he wore. A cutlass hung from his waist, beneath his short jacket. He was tanned, and the hair on his head and the beard on his face were as black as the thatched roofs surrounding the dock. She took an involuntary step backward as he stopped beside her. He gave her a cursory glance, his green eyes bright, before turning his attention to the fishmonger. His voice was smooth and low when he spoke. “Instead of taking them myself, I’d like you to deliver—” Desperation drove Anne to interrupt him. “Please, sir. Might I have a word with you?” Once again those green eyes turned in her direction. This time he afforded her a more complete perusal, and she swallowed the distaste in her mouth. He was no gentleman. His appearance suggested a simple sailor, someone who could not possibly afford the entire barrel. “Yes?” he asked. “It’s about the shrimp. I was wondering if I could take two pounds from the top and pay you for them.” A woman came from behind and called to the fishmonger. He turned to help her, leaving the shabby sailor and Anne to their conversation. When he had first approached, she’d thought him much older, for he was taller than most men. On closer inspection, she realized he couldn’t have been more than nineteen. His expression warmed as he considered her. He was interested, clearly, but Anne wasn’t sure if it was her proposal or her appearance. “There is more than one stall that sells shrimp,” he said. She was not to be deterred. She’d already lost one battle this morning and could not afford to lose another. The last cook who hadn’t provided the master’s favorite meal for a special occasion had been fired and kicked out onto the streets. As much as Anne disliked living in the Drummond household, it was preferable to the gutter. And if she went to another household, there was no guarantee she could secure enough funds to begin a new life. “Yes, but this man has the most honest scales and the freshest fish. Since I am unable to buy from him, I have no choice but to ask you. Surely you would not miss two pounds,” she pressed. The corners of his mouth lifted, and his green eyes twinkled. “Ah, but I would. Have you considered oysters as a substitute?” Anne pursed her lips. Master Drummond hated oysters. “No, it must be shrimp. Please, I have a very important meal—” It was his turn to interrupt. “I, too, have an important meal, for which I need the entire barrel.” No doubt trying to impress some girl and her family. “I have enough coin. How much would it take?” she asked briskly. He paused for a moment, still considering her. She shifted uncomfortably beneath his gaze but refused to back down. The crowd surrounding them thinned, evidence that time was wasting. Her eyes begged him to comply. “Perhaps I’ve been too hasty. We could discuss the price,” he said, reaching boldly for her arm. An image of the butcher flashed before her eyes, but this time there was no table to separate her from her attacker. Jerking free of his hold, Anne brought the pail forward, hitting the sailor soundly between the legs. He dropped to his knees, the breath escaping his lungs with a pained “Ooof,” his eyes no longer twinkling. “Keep your hands to yourself, you filthy sea rat! Even if you were to offer me the full barrel, I wouldn’t go anywhere with the likes of you!” For the second time that morning, Anne rushed away from an unwelcome advance, cursing softly beneath her breath. She felt the sailor’s eyes following her, burning a hole into the back of her head, but she didn’t turn around. He was in no condition to give chase, at least not now. Hurrying from the docks, she reached once again for her mother’s pocket watch. A shiver ran down her spine and she sent up a silent prayer, asking that Master Drummond’s heart would be softened and that she wouldn’t find herself on the receiving end of his fury. Anne also prayed that her path would not cross again with that of the sailor’s, for if it did, she knew with certainty that she would not leave the encounter unscathed.