ARC Review: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Blackhearts by Nicole CastromanAuthor: Nicole Castroman
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
384 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster for letting me read this!

My first update on Goodreads while reading BLACKHEARTS was “This. I like it.” And that’s pretty much the perfect way to sum up my thoughts on this book. I liked BLACKHEARTS. A lot. I fell completely head over heels for Teach (Edward Drummond, the man who becomes Blackbeard). In fact, my other update on Goodreads while reading was this: “Teach, all day every day.” I mean, serious heart eyes over here, you guys. I DARE you to read this book and not love him.

And then there’s Anne, who’s a complete and total badass. She’s had a super tough life, but she’s fighting hard to make her own way, even if it means stealing. She wants to get out of the life she’s been stuck in and see the world – and on that note, I could relate to her so well. I enjoyed seeing her journey throughout the book, as well as her and Teach’s relationship going from something resembling unease and distrust to a beautiful rapport and mutual understanding. SWOON.

I think Nicole’s imagining of how Teach became a pirate, the life and actions and events that lead to him stepping on to that ship to take on the seas, is so very believable, and that’s probably my favorite part of the whole book (followed closely, of course, by Teach himself). She’s been so creative but she hasn’t tried to explain his reasoning in an inauthentic way. It’s very convincing.

The bottom line: Give me more, Nicole. Please? I also want to point out that some people might not like this ending, and I’ll admit I got a bit grabby hands at the end (you can ask Nicole), but I think it’s an absolutely perfect ending.

Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic

Also, check out Nicole’s guest post on the blog: 8 Reasons for Writing BLACKHEARTS.

Guest Post | Nicole Castroman: 8 Reasons Why I Wrote BLACKHEARTS

I am so very excited to have Nicole Castroman, author of the debut novel BLACKHEARTS (February 9), on the blog today! Nicole is telling us the 8 reasons why she decided to write BLACKHEARTS, which is all about Edward “Teach” Drummond, the man who would eventually become the pirate Blackbeard. Check out Nicole’s reasons then learn more about BLACKHEARTS and Nicole and add the book to your Goodreads TBR or pre-order it!

Blackhearts by Nicole CastromanPublisher: Simon Pulse // February 9, 2016

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 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.

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8 Reasons Why I Wrote BLACKHEARTS

  • Only the last two years of Blackbeard’s life are documented (1716-1718), although I just now came across a new bit of information that said in 1706 or 1707, he was the Governor of a league of pirates in the Bahamas. How cool is that? Otherwise, his young life is a mystery. This was too good of an opportunity to pass up, and so I decided to write an origin story.

Blackhearts fact 1

  • When I wrote BLACKHEARTS, I didn’t want to simply write a story with a teenage boy on a ship and have him “act like a pirate.” There wouldn’t have been much character development if I’d done that. I hope people don’t go into this expecting Pirates of the Caribbean. I wanted to delve deeper into Blackbeard’s past and write about what might have led him to leave his home behind and become one of the most notorious swashbucklers to sail the seas.
  • It was believed Blackbeard was educated, because he could read and write. Only wealthy people were educated in those days, so Edward Teach had to come from a prosperous family.
  • It’s believed that Edward Teach wasn’t Blackbeard’s true name, but that he’d changed it to protect his relatives at home. Most pirates did this.

Blackhearts Fact 2

  • There are lots of rumors about Blackbeard’s cruelty, but there are also reports of him being quite amiable and almost forgiving and generous to those that cooperated with him. I’m not implying that he was a good guy, but he wasn’t as barbaric and demented as other pirates who tortured their victims for fun.

Blackhearts Fact 3


Author photo of Nicole CastromanNicole 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.

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