Review + Giveaway: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review + Giveaway: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

My Thoughts

An exciting, immersive debut from Nicole Castroman.
It’s a must read for romance and historical readers alike.



Feb-09In 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 ultimately set him on his path of 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.

My Review

Nicole Castroman captivates with her exciting historical debut, Blackhearts, as she re-imagines the story of Edward “Teach” Drummond, who would soon become the notorious pirate Blackbeard. At its core, the story is about a thirst for freedom, for living a life unshackled by responsibility, tradition and ill fate. Teach and Anne longed for taking the reigns of their destinies, giving their restless nature respite from the confines of their own—albeit different—lives.

The story begins in Bristol, England, 1697. Teach is coming home after a year away. He returns a changed man, invigorated from his days at sea, but knowing that his short-lived freedom could possibly end. Teach is betrothed, and his father expects him to stay on land forevermore.

Anne Barrett is a maid in the Drummond household, a post she was forced to take after the death of her parents. Anne, the daughter of a well-respected sailor and his a dark-skinned cook, is tired of disgusted looks and her mundane life. She longs to set sail and travel to Curaçao, her mother’s birthplace. Until she can get away, she’s barely noticed, unless it’s to receive a blow from the head of household.

“The closest she would come to freedom at the moment was when she slept, for there were no rules while dreaming.”

And so Anne and Teach collide unexpectedly and immediately sparks fly. At first it’s antagonism, even as chemistry awakens. They are both strong-willed, sharp minded people who desire freedom, and so each time they meet, each time they talk, that electrified connection pulls. They are kindred spirits trapped in their own lives.

“She reminded him of an exotic flower growing on the islands of the West Indies and seemed out of place in this cold, sterile environment.”

Their love is forbidden, but unavoidable. Uncovered truths and trouble swarm around them, however, and a future together seems impossible.

“From the moment I saw you, you captured my heart and I was powerless to do anything about it.”

I loved everything about this story. The historical element, the fiery characters, the epic love story… it just grabbed me immediately and never let go. The story concludes with a gripping mix of heartbreak and hope, foreshadowing more to come (I hope!), including Teach’s troubled path as Blackbeard.


Win one of five paperback copies of Blackhearts! U.S./ Canada only entrants, please.
Click image below to enter.

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