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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Blackhearts An Engrossing, Entertaining Start to Promising YA Pirate Trilogy

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Blackbeard is a pirate legendary for his fearlessness and cunning.  But what is really known about the man behind the myth?  Not much.  Until now ...

www.whitneyawards.comIn Nicole Castroman's debut novel, Blackhearts, she imagines the famous captain as a young man, eager to take on the world.  After a year at sea, 19-year-old Edward "Teach" Drummond feels he has found his calling.  He has no use for the future that has been set before him—being grounded in Bristol, marrying a society woman he doesn't love, managing the business interests of his wealthy merchant father, and staying far away from something as uncouth as returning to the sea.  All he has to do now is convince his father—a cold, ambitious man—to allow his heir to walk away from it all.  Forever.
Anne Barrett is similarly adrift.  As the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy English merchant and his black slave, she has no real place in society.  When her father dies, leaving her without a protector or an inheritance, the 16-year-old is forced to find a way to support herself.  Although she's never worked a day in her life, she signs on as a domestic in the Drummond household.  It's only temporary, however.  As soon as she's saved enough money to sail to Curaçao, her mother's homeland, Anne will leave her grim life in England far behind.

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, sparks fly fast and furious between them.  It's a forbidden relationship, of course, one Mr. Drummond will never allow to proceed.  As the passion between them ignites, the conflicts of their daily lives intensify.  Everything stands in the couple's way.  Can they find a way to be together despite all the obstacles blocking their path?  Or will their love die before it ever has the chance to truly blossom? Blackhearts doesn't boast a lot of swashbuckling, it's an exciting beginning to what promises to be a satisfying trilogy.  The story does offer a tense, romantic story line which is also fun and well-executed.  Sure, it's predictable, but that really didn't bother me in the least.  I thoroughly enjoyed Castroman's debut; in fact, before I'd even finished it, I found myself at Amazon pre-ordering its sequel, Blacksouls (which I liked even better, by the by).  If you—or your teen—are looking for a clean read that is both engrossing and entertaining, definitely pick this one up.  I loved it.

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman and a little bit of the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, scenes of peril, and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find
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