Saturday, February 13, 2016

ARC Review: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Title: Blackhearts
Author: Nicole Castroman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: February 9th 2016
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

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.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads)

My thoughts:

I have no idea what these 2016 debut authors have been drinking (cocktails made from the tears of their readers?) because I am on a roll with all these amazing debuts and from the impressive list I've read so far, Blackhearts is the one that truly gripped my soul from start to finish. There were not enough hours in the day for me to read Blackhearts, I used every second I could to devour this book. I was pretty much obsessed with it, I read it in a day but I know that it's beautiful and gripping story will stay with me forever.

Confession: I am 100000% in love with Anne Barrett. I have never met a heroine who is so resilient and feisty (so, so, so feisty and fierce!). Just a couple of chapters in a she'd already shook off someone's unwanted advances, thought of a solution to a problem and used a pail as a weapon, it was comical and so awesome, the only thing missing was a z-snap and a hair flip. But even more than Anne's fierceness, I was in awe of her passion and drive for freedom. Though she may work as a maid and gets treated like dirt by her peers for being bi-racial, she still manages to hold her head high and keep her snark/wit on, which is really so admirable. (And let's just say she knows how to take matters into her own hands when she needs to, even if it's something she doesn't really want to do. Sometimes one's circumstances force us to do things just to survive, and that's what she did.) I just absolutely love Anne, with her strong will and kind heart, it would be impossible not to. (One of my favourite scenes involves her + Miss Patience + some spices. That is all.)

Okay, though I may have fallen for Anne, majority of my heart belonged to Edward "Teach" Drummond (Louisse Drummond has a nice ring to it, am I right? How about Louisse Teach? Lol). I literally have no words to express how great and interesting of a man Teach is. His passion and sense of justice struck me hard. In Blackhearts, he had just returned from a year at sea and came back a changed man, and what a passionate man he became. Teach's love for the sea was evident in the book, from the way his thoughts flowed and his heart called to be out in a ship, I just wanted to throw him in the water just to ease his pain. I cannot wait for everyone to meet him because he will make you fall in love wit him, you won't even have a chance to resist. (That chiseled chest, those green eyes and his stubble. Good-bye, ovaries.)

I wanted to tie Anne and Teach together, throw them in a boat and let me ship, well, ship. Nicole Castroman promised a slow burn and she delivered, almost to the point of extreme teasing. By the middle of the book, I just wanted to press their heads close to each other and force them to kiss because my mind was pretty much thinking "Just kiss already!!" most of the time. But I seriously love Anne and Teach's romance, it was the kind that took patience and had a strong sense of trust between the two. It's so rare to see this kind of romance in books anymore, usually it's all about the number of kiss scenes or how hot the guy is but with Anne and Teach, it was their hearts and minds that called to each other. Their reading sessions and banter was basically foreplay between the two.

A friend of mine (ahem, Nicola) gave me a brief as to who people speculated Blackbeard was before I dove into Blackhearts and knowing all the details I did (Queen Anne's Revenge!!!!!!!!!!), it made my reading experience all the more amazing and heartbreaking. Blackhearts isn't just a book or a story about Blackbeard came to be, no, it's an experience, one that will change your heart in ways you'll never expect. Blackhearts is not only about Anne and Teach's budding yet profound romance, the novel also put emphasis on the external forces around them, as well as a very varied set of minor characters. Each character had a role to play and quite a number of them were villains, which added more intrigue to the story.

As much as I loved Blackhearts, the ending killed me. Both in a good and bad way, good because the ending was so unique and heartbreaking but so beautiful and made so much sense but also in a bad way because the sequel isn't a guaranteed thing. I may actually die if this amazing story does not get continued and write a strongly worded letter to S&S (White Chicks style). Blackhearts is such a special book and I really want it to receive the recognition and love it deserves. February 9th, mark that as the day your life will be made and your heart destroyed in the best possible way. (Also, so many thanks to Nicole Castroman for writing this phenomenal novel. I don't think I'll ever be the same again but I don't regret anything.)


1 comment:

  1. Yay for an excellent debut! I have yet to read Blackhearts, but I must confess that I find myself VERY intrigued by what I've been hearing from other people. Your enthusiasm for it is SO clear in this post, and I definitely think I'm going to have to check it out!