Tuesday, February 16, 2016

YA Pick: Blackhearts

by Nicole Castroman
Simon Pulse
369 pages
ISBN: 9781481432696

Gothic romance, swashbuckling pirates, an heiress  who cannot collect her inheritance, an arranged marriage, the high seas, adventure and love! What could be better than all that?

House maid Anne Barrett is forced into servitude upon the death of her father and  her uncle kicks her and her mother out into the streets. Once her  mother dies, Anne  is alone and penniless. She is given a job in Master Drummond's house where she takes abuse from the housekeeper. She gets more than her fair share of strange looks; people in Bristol are not used to seeing a housekeeper of color (Anne's merchant father fell in love with a servant on one of his voyages).  Anne longs for escape and is stashing as much money as she can hoping to gain passage on one of the ships leaving Bristol.

Master Drummond's son returns from a year at sea and soon sparks are flying between the handsome young sailor and beautiful, exotic Anne. She keeps her distance, not trusting a master to be kind. Teach is engaged Patience, daughter of a baron and she is a girl he doesn't love. He longs to return to the sea, but his father forbids it.

When Teach is accused of piracy, he fears they will lock him up. His father still expects him to marry Patience and give up his dreams of the sea. Using the story of Blackbeard as the spark for this story, Nicole Castroman weaves a tale as compelling as any love story.

Anne and Teach are clearly star-crossed and meant only for each other, but society and people keep getting involved and trying to keep them apart. As the novel ends, both are still looking for each other. I can see book two on the horizon.

The cover art depicts a ship in a bottle. Clever minds will realize that both Anne and Teach are trapped like the ship. The title Blackhearts is a spin on the Blackbeard legend and the pink color of hearts on the cover makes the cover pop for romance fans.

Highly recommended grade 7-up. No profanity. Some kissing. Patience finds herself pregnant with another man's child but that is how it is put forth. No details.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


  1. With all the fandom of Pirates of the Caribbean, I think this will be immensely popular.

    Alcoa, TN

  2. Interestingly, I had just added this to my To Order list, based on your review. :-)

    Binghamton, NY