Books · Reviews

Blackhearts – Book Review


Hey guys, how’s it going? πŸ™‚

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on a pirate books spree lately. After Daughter of the Pirate King, I was really in the mood for another pirate story and since Blacksouls (the second book in this series) had just recently come out, I thought I’d give it a go!

This review is completely spoiler-free.


  • Title: Blackhearts (Blackhearts #1)
  • Author: Nicole Castroman
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication Date: February 9th, 2016
  • Page Count: 384



Edward “Teach” Drummond, a rich merchant’s son, realizes the sea might be his true home after spending an entire year aboard a ship. As he returns to Bristol, he meets Anne, a peculiar maid with an attitude, who he doesn’t seem able to get to. Anne has bigger plans for herself as well, but can they really leave their boring English existences behind?


I’d heard a lot about Blackhearts when it first came out and I was pretty excited about it! As a pirate fan, the story was very appealing to me. I’d actually forgotten most of the synopsis and knew only that this was about Blackbeard, so I was pretty unaware of what exactly was going to happen. And I think that was key to really enjoying this book.


Teach and Anne’s relationship was quite balanced. They rarely agreed on anything, and they had a bit of a rocky start, but eventually found their way.

I liked that whenever Teach was being forceful or pushy, Anne stood her ground and faced him head on. I liked that she was proud and stubborn herself, but not to the point of being rash. She was calculating and measured the consequences (mostly).

Their personality clashes were always entertaining to read, and despite feeling a bit uncomfortable with their relationship at first (more on that later) it did progress very nicely. The fact that we get two POVs makes it easier to understand what is going through their heads.

Gradually, I began to take a liking to Teach and eventually was very much in love. He was not a pleasant guy right away; in fact, quite the opposite. But he experienced quite the development and became an esteemed character.

The story is not just about romance, however. It’s actually about Anne and Edward’s personal journeys: their past, present and future. Their paths do end up converging but they remain separate individuals throughout the story, and their tales are told as such.

The plot twists were unexpected (except for maybe one) and many elements seemed to have been well thought out and planned to serve specific purposes later on, which was really cool. Castroman did her research on Blackbeard and those details made the story feel a lot more real and plausible. I found it a really interesting concept and was excited to learn more.

Anne is also biracial, for all of you looking for a more diverse heroine. Though that is certainly not what defines her as a person, it definitely gave her a great (back)story.


At first, I didn’t really connect much with either Anne or Teach. Their relationship (or prospect of it, anyway) didn’t sit too well with me, either. It felt a bit clichΓ©d and, most of all, wrong. There were times where it seemed like he was attracted to her solely for the fact that she was “exotic” and “different” from other English girls (a.k.a. a challenge), and I just didn’t like it. He also acted like an asshole alpha male sometimes. But, thankfully, they seemed to move past that.

This book includes quite a bit of racism, sexism, slut-shaming, among other less appealing themes – which, I mean, made the story feel all the more realistic considering the era it depicts but just be warned.

Also, I felt it was mostly about Anne and not as much about Teach. So to call it Teach’s story would be innacurate.

In my opinion, I think it would have been a lot more enjoyable to allow the reader to get into the story unaware it was about Blackbeard. It would have been such a cool revelation! And that way, there would be no real expectations to trample. Knowing who he was beforehand was just… Well, not as exciting. Although I get why it was done, it might not have attracted the right audience.


This book is (or was) poorly marketed. This is not a Blackbeard story, but a Blackbeard’s origin story. This is before he became a pirate, thus there are no actual pirates in this (only hints of them). There are no adventures, no life at sea, no wars and no robbery.

This is a romance story, pure and simple. It depicts Teach’sΒ relationship with his lover but also the struggles both go through to come into terms with their own identity. So going into this book thinking anything else will be a mistake since you will obviously not enjoy it.

If you do like romance and/or don’t mind waiting for the sequels (where the real Blackbeard story will take place, it seems), then by all means read it because it is quite a lovely story. The two protagonists go through many transitions and growth since the first time they are introduced, which I enjoyed immensely, and their relationship is also very sweet without being overwhelming. You also get a nice look at what 17th century England looked and felt like at the time.

Would I have liked this to be more about piracy? Well, yes, but it never truly felt like a problem to me as the narrative was very engaging and focused on other side stories as well. Besides, this was an introductory story, so I hadn’t expect that much of it.

Being a sucker for historicals and romance, I recommend this one. As for hardcore pirate fans… Well, maybe try something else.

Story & Plot:Β 2choco

Writing & Style:Β 4choco

Characters:Β 4choco

Pacing:Β 4choco

Enjoyment: 4choco

Final Rating:


Thank you so much for reading and until next time!


What did you think of this review? Have you read Blackhearts? οΌˆβ‹†οΌΎοΌοΌΎβ‹†οΌ‰







55 thoughts on “Blackhearts – Book Review

    1. Thank you, Kes! ^^ Oooh that’s so awesome πŸ˜€ It’s so nice when authors are sweet to their readers.
      Like I mentioned, if you like historical romances you’ll enjoy this one. The pirate aspect, however, is still very much in progress. I’m currently reading the sequel and it’s already quite different from this one!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Very interesting, Sophie. I wasn’t aware it was not a pirate story in a sense. But I just picked it up with your input of it being amazing and reading this review, I’m so happy I did. I will definitely get the notice of pirates out of my head, though, since I was convinced I was going to get a lot of pirate actions. But it still sounds good. Wonderful review as usual! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, it’s not a pirate story *yet* but you can tell it will be in later books. I’m currently reading the sequel and without wanting to spoil anything, I know for a fact there will be pirates now! πŸ™‚
      It’s still a great book, I enjoyed it a lot. But that’s because I’m a romance fan XD If not, I would have been quite disappointed.
      Thank you so much, Mandy ❀ And I hope you like it once you start reading it! I can't wait to know your thoughts on it ^^

      Liked by 1 person

            1. What is up with these piratey books that have no pirates??? I’M SO CONFUSED XD
              It’s not as good as the first one. Well, it was at the beginning I think, but now I’m kind of on a slump and I’m not sure if it’s the book or me… Ugh.
              I read Blackhearts in a heartbeat! It was so flowy. This one feels a big draggy? I don’t know how to explain it. But I’m still hopeful it’ll turn around and mesmerize me hahaha


    1. Not sure you’ll enjoy this one as it’s not very piratey yet… The sequels, however, sound a lot more promissing in that aspect. I would definitely try other options first, though πŸ˜‰
      Hahahaha XD Gotta love pirate talk!


        1. Oh I agree with The Assassin’s Curse… Maybe my expectations were way too high or something, because it just didn’t click with me. It was an okay read but nothing spectacular at all! So I was really disappointed.
          I sure hope so! The first book definitely doesn’t have any… But the sequels might. I’m halfway through Blacksouls and still waiting, though! I think it’s a misleading series :/
          So if you’re in the need of a quick pirate fix, definitely find something else because this one might take a while…

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review! I really enjoyed Blackhearts for the story and the banter between Anne and Teach was the best part for me. I really loved reading about them falling in love with each other. I didn’t realize it was landlocked either until reading it but I didn’t mind that so much because I enjoyed the character development. Blacksouls is definitely more adventurous and dives deeper into the social issues of the times. I hope you’ll continue the story because it really does develop well in Blacksouls!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sarah! πŸ™‚ Yeah, that was the best part! I really loved their interaction and relationship. It was so cute ❀
      But I guess I was expecting the story to be a lot different. It wasn't bad at all, though, so I didn't see it as that much of an issue. However, it was still a misleading concept and I think a lot of people went into it thinking it would be about pirates and wound up disappointed.
      I'm midway through Blacksouls and I'm not impressed :/ Maybe it's just me but I'm not finding it all that engaging. I'll try to pick up another book and see if I can get out of my slump. If not, well, we'll see!
      Thanks for the encouragement! ^^

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope you’ll be able to get back to it. I totally understand having to switch gears sometimes when something just isn’t working. That’s why it is always good to have backups! I’m also a mood reader so sometimes I’m just in the mood for something else. 😊


  3. I work with theatrical productions of sorts on occasion. This week, myself and my very pirate-like production mates, all of whom are bearded and tattooed, were called in to put together an animatronic show at the local zoo. It is pirate themed. The zoo has a small railroad running through it as a kiddie ride. We set up over a hundred animated props on the route. They are pirate animatronics, like a Pirates of the Caribean’ exhibit one would expect at a theme park. We all immediately agreed to dress as pirates throughout the set up. All week I have been dressed as a pirate putting together silly props at the zoo. It was wonderful. We stalked around as pirates, and all the patrons loved it.

    I also saw what I believe to be the quintessential pirate movie last night. Charles Laughton in the 1945 film, ‘Captain Kidd’. Prior to that, I would have said 1939’s ‘Captain Blood’.

    Last summer I wrote a book with pirates in it. I wanted to write a Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde book, so I read the original by Robert Louis Stevenson. It was terrible. I was shocked, because I remember loving ‘Treasure Island’ as a youngling. I read it again and that book stands the test of time. It is still good. Therefore, I wrote my Jeckyl /Hyde story, but secretly, beneath the surface, it is the story of Treasure Island.

    Happy reading!
    Ye, olde shipmate,
    ~Ichabod Temperance.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow at the deception. Origin story that could be summed up as a romance novel. I would’ve been pretttttyyyyyy sad upon realizing that. Glad to hear there were still things that pleased you in this though. But man… what a bummer! Great review as always! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha I know! That’s why so many people were kind of angry about it. Thankfully, I liked the cute romance and it didn’t bother me since this was just an introduction of sorts. However, I won’t be as lenient with the sequel so if there are no pirates in it, then I will be pretty mad myself! XD
      Thank you once again, Lashaan! Your comments always mean a lot πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ohh yes, this doesn’t have much pirates in it at all! I had been warned of this in advance going into it, so it didn’t affect me as much but it’s too bad. It was a nice romance though! (I agree Teach being an alpha male kind of type at start that was annoying, but it got better.) I heard the second book has a lot more pirate action and I’m super excited for that! ❀ Lovely review. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Analee! πŸ™‚ Yeah, I’d read some reviews where it was mentioned but I never actually took them literally since people can exaggerate sometimes hahaha Not this time, though, they were absolutely right. Then again, it didn’t bother me too much. I’m glad you enjoyed it too!
      I’m halfway through the second book and not much pirate action going on… I’m honestly not too happy with it. But we’ll see! Thank you again for your awesome comment ❀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that’s awesome! Although I have to say I’m struggling a lot with the second book. I don’t really feel like reading it and it’s been days since I last read it. Sigh. I wasn’t expecting to feel this way. I hope I can get back to it soon.
      That’s a wise choice, though πŸ˜‰ Thank you for the lovely comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, I acknowledge it had a lot of faults. But they didn’t particularly bother me and actually played out well in the end. But to each his own πŸ™‚
      I suggest you still try it and see for yourself! You might enjoy it too ^^

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m glad you point out the bitter side of this book because based on the cover with the boat, I was expecting the same thing! hahah.. but the banter between the characters, I do enjoy that.. and I’m glad to know you enjoyed it too. Awesome review Sophie!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this book and how wonderful it is, so I am so glad to see you enjoyed it so much too! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! Luckily, I still ended up enjoying it but otherwise it would have been a major downer.
      I gave this one a break considering it’s an origin story, so it’s a preparation for what’s to come. But it wouldn’t hurt to have been a bit more developed.
      Thank you so much for your comment! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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