BLACKHEARTS by Nicole Castroman


Age Range: 12 - 18
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In 1697 Bristol, England, the daughter of a wealthy merchant and his West Indian slave falls in love with the man who will become Blackbeard.

Anne has become a maid in the Drummond household, where she meets seagoing scion Edward—"Teach”—whose father insists that he remain ashore to learn the family business. He has been betrothed to the titled Patience for years. Anne, meanwhile, wants only to escape her life as a maid, scrimping and stealing small objects so that she can buy passage to the West Indies. Despite their initial intense dislike of one another, it will surprise no one when Edward and Anne fall in love. When Anne’s past becomes known, the elder Drummond takes her in as his ward, but he would never approve of a romance between the biracial girl and his son. Castroman promotes Anne as the main character despite the alternating chapters. Her plight in the household mirrors Edward’s, as he also yearns to escape to the sea, though the power imbalance between the two is largely elided. The story ends hanging in the air with Teach having just been dubbed Blackbeard, paving the way for a sequel. The author largely invents Edward as a romantic lead, giving few character-based hints of his piratical future.

Little history, large romance. (Historical romance. 12-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4814-3269-6
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2015


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