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384 pages, Hardcover
First published February 9, 2016
“Trapped between the door and his body, she froze. He knew he was using his size to intimidate her, but nothing else seemed to work where she was concerned.”
“What we’ve just done is no different from what Mary did to John.”I love HR, but they have to have several elements to be readable. Sure, the love story must be there, but since it's romance-centric, in order for a book to not be gag-worthy to a cold-hearted *bleep* like me, there has to be spectacular writing, humor, well-written emotional turmoil, and, gosh darn it, passion. I'm not talking about the thrusting, naked fumble in the dark sort, I'm talking about the melding of two hearts, two souls. Yes, reader, I am a romantic at heart.
“Do not compare my feelings for you to those of that strumpet. Mary never cared for John. He was a lover of convenience. I do not hold out much hope for Tom, either. Give her a week or two, and she’ll have moved on to someone else.”
“I could have you punished for what you did,” he said, watching her closely.The male protagonist in this story is one of those assholes, and yes, he said those things above.
She nodded. “Yes, you could.”
“After that, I could have you fired.”
“Yes, you could. But I’d rather you didn’t,” she said.
“And why not?” he growled.
Although she was a baron’s daughter, when the two of them were alone together, she acted more like a scullery maid, allowing him to do things no lady of noble breeding should agree to.Because truly noble characters are chaste, right?
Actual rating: 1.5
This was one of the most anticipated books of this year for me. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be the most disappointing book of the year. Let's look at the title of the book: Blackhearts - a gorgeous title. Now, look at the cover - a gorgeous cover. You know how I think this book should've been titled instead? The black bearded pirate who stalked me or My daddy didn't love me enough or A kleptomaniac Anne. And you know why I think so? To find out let's look into the content of the story. We have a romanticized version of a young Edward Teach aka Blackbeard - the ruthless legendary pirate. In this book we are promised a story of his transformation. Young Edward "Teach" Drummond is suffocating under his father's pressure. He doesn't want the life that is planned for him, he doesn't want a fiancée that is promised to him. All he wants is sea, it's his passion, his freedom. I imagined Teach as someone like this:
What I got:
The second MC - Anne, a 16 years-old daughter of a wealthy merchant and a slave from the West Indies. She is an orphan. Her life in England is hard due to her heritage, and she has no choice but to work as a maid in Drummond's household. There our star-crossed lovers meet and their epic
love snot story begins.
I was expecting dashing pirates and masterly fights and action - any action really. I was even more than ok with the romance part. I guess I imagined something like The princess bride, but the romance turned out to be worse than anything an average historical romance can offer. What romance, what passion - there's more chemistry between a cat and a mouse than between Anne and Teach.
There was this kissing scene and logically it should've been passionate, but I felt nothing. Nada. Zero. My friend calls it a novocaine effect - it's like I am under the influence of painkillers and can't feel a thing. And it's not just the romance, which is absolutely unbelievable and appeared out of the thin air in the second half of the book. Characters knew each other only for a few days and Teach already salivates over beautiful snow flake Anne and how she makes him feel. He stalks her, tries to grab her, if she is not in the vicinity, all he thinks about is stalkering and grabbing her.
“So, Anne, you thought you got the better of me,” he said softly, enjoying the look of fear on her face. She reminded him of a rabbit caught in a snare.
“I don’t care what Margery or my father thinks. I’ve been looking for you. Now stand still. I’m getting tired of this constant cat and mouse,” he said.
“Well, I’m tired of being chased,” she snapped, forced to tip her head back and look up at him.
“Whether you acknowledge it or not, Anne, we belong together. We could be on opposite sides of the world, but you would still be mine, as I am yours.”
Pff, dude, you know this chit for a little longer than a week and already you are deeply in lurve with her! Insta love-ish much?
And romance is not even my main complaint about the book. It's the characters. They are vain, hypocritical asses. Anne and Teach are both special snow-flakes, around them only terrible people keeping them apart, conspiring against their dreams and wishes *gasp* How could they do that to our sweethearts, they are so special, you can't treat them like a common folk! You still do not get the whole scope of Anne's and Teach's specialness? Okey-dokey then, let's see: Teach's father is a tyrant, he doesn't allow his son to choose his own path; Teach's best friend is a lying scum of a person who secretly fucked Teach's fiancée, impregnated her and accused Teach of piracy; his fiancée is a brainless harlot (god forbid you to compare her with Saint Anne); a butcher in the market is a dirty bastard who wants to grope Anne with his meaty hands; a cook in Drummond's household is a crone who hates poor orphan Anne for no reason at all; a maid who has a fiancé, also is a whore who wants to fuck Teach and tumbles in hay with a stable boy on a regular bases. Oh, and I forgot to mention Anne's half brother who is also a scumbag! No one is decent enough to be worthy of Teach and Anne. Please, someone build them a monument!
Anne steals from Drummond, but she has a noble cause, and no one dares to call her a lying stealing bitch:
“The only reason I took anything was because I was treated unfairly here and I wanted to escape. I took nothing more than you owed me. Or my father.”
But when someone else is not as pristine as our self-righteous Anne, she points a finger at this person without a second thought:
“You’ve confessed to being a liar and a thief. Why should I believe you, sir?”
Oh, and Anne is above every maid and cook in the household, because she is an educated dove and can read:
Anne often wondered what they would say if they knew she was the daughter of another wealthy merchant. It was obvious Anne was educated, whereas the two maids were not, just one more thing that set Anne apart from them.
All Anne loves is Anne, all Anne wants is Anne. She doesn't need Teach or any friends, just let her go and she'll forget you ever existed.
Teach is no better. He has a fiancée. He enjoyed having fun with her, because she allowed some liberties. He was okay with marrying her. HE LIKED HER! Now, she is not worthy of his attention, she is too frivolous, she is too stupid, she is lesser than perfect Anne:
Patience was another matter. Teach noticed the frown on his betrothed’s lips, a sure sign of her unease. He was quite certain it had more to do with Anne’s beauty than with her suitability as a maid, or her race. Patience did not take well to competition, especially in the form of a house servant.
Of course, a lady would be jealous of a house maid!
Patience is a harlot and makes advances on Teach, and poor lad can't stand the chick. *checks the watch* though five minutes ago he was okay with her advances and welcomed them.
“If you’d like, we could stay out here and discuss Paradise Lost. William said it’s all about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Since we were so rudely interrupted before, we could make this little spot our very own Eden.”
Anne did not imagine the shudder that ran through Teach. He took Miss Patience’s wrist and removed it from his shoulder.
He is so disgusted that he even throws up on poor Patience's dress. He compares the girls constantly and guess who is the winner:
He had known Patience for several years now, and he was quite comfortable with her. She was like a well-worn shoe.
Teach cringed, imagining Patience’s reaction to that description.
Anne was different. She intrigued him, for not only was she familiar with John Milton, but she claimed to know how to ride a horse. Patience had already proven she’d never heard of the poet, and the closest she ever got to a horse was when she stepped in and out of a carriage.
1:0 in Anne's favor!!!
But Nastassja, how can you judge the poor misunderstood lad, whose father doesn't love him?! Daddy issues are a serious case! Aye, but how can I respect a person when all he does is whine about his daddy being an old unfeeling oak, who doesn't want to see Teach for a man he is *laughs* Grow a pair, lad, and stand up for yourself already!
He’s never cared about my thoughts or my dreams. It’s always been about him and what he wants.”
Blah, blah, blah *yawns*
The characters in this book lack any depths, they are made of cardboard. I can't even imagine how they look, though we have a description of their appearances, but it's just a sketch of a thousand similar faces: nothing distinguished about them, no soul to remember them by. I can also fault the language on it. The writing is stiff, undescriptive, impersonal. Supposedly we have a story, but the story lacks soul and no amount of events or romance could safe the stiff writing. It's like being in a middle of a desert with no water for miles: just sand and suffocating heat.
The ending is as senseless as the whole book was. I don't understand why we have an open ending? As far as everyone aware this book is a stand-alone, but we don't get a satisfactory conclusion, we don't even have enough to call it an open ending, because the book just abruptly ends in the middle of an act. What the hell?! Am I suppose to tremble and gasp from the last lines of the story? I am trembling and gasping with outrage. I don't want any sequels and continuations of that dreadful story, but I fear there might be one or two *sigh* Don't read this book, don't waste your time, you won't find here dashing pirates or epic love - you'll be standing in the middle of the desert begging for water, but no one will give you any...
Today is a big day for Nicole Castroman! It's 'Blackhearts' release day and I for one couldn't be more excited! I picked up this book a couple of weeks ago and never expected to love it quite as much as I did. I read the summary, have seen excerpts and have heard the praise far and wide, but nothing prepared for just how much I enjoyed this fantastic debut from Nicole Castroman.
'Blackhearts' was everything I love about a great PBS Masterpiece program, like Poldark and Downton Abbey. As a matter of fact, one of the main characters, Edward "Teach' Drummond, reminded me a bit of the swoony leading man of Ross Poldark. I'm not going to lie, it was a total bonus to picture Aidan Turner as a young Blackbeard! He does brooding and introspective so well, and I instantly made the connection between Poldark and Teach. Anyway, like all good PBS period drama, 'Blackhearts' has plenty of plenty of drama, intrigue, secrets and swoon!
This is a quiet novel that tells a fictional story of the early days of the infamous and dreaded pirate, Blackbeard. When we meet him in the opening pages he has just returned from a thrilling year at sea and is less than thrilled to be thrust back into his pampered life as a son of a wealthy merchant. He's engaged to a woman he doesn't love and faces a future he doesn't want. Castroman does a wonderful job of creating a compelling back story for such a widely known but largely mysterious historical figure. From what I can gather, not much is known about his early beginnings, so I was totally intrigued to see Castroman's fictional take on where his story began. She painted a perfect picture of a passionate, smart man who yearns for a different way of life. It didn't take me long to become totally smitten with Teach and I was completely invested in the journey his character took throughout this book.
For as much as I loved Teach, I absolutely adored Anne. Her story is not that different from his, in the sense that she too is looking for a better life. All she wants is to do whatever it takes to break free of her current situation and find a better life. She's fierce, determined and I was SO on board with her mission! I loved what Anne brought to the story and also what she brought into Teach's life. After a rock beginning, she forces him to slow down and discover what he really wants from his future. I'm a sucker for a good hate-to-love romance and this one absolutely delivers! Reading as the two of them slowly open up to each other and break down each other's walls was my very favorite part of the book. Castroman's decision to tell the story using dual POV's was such a fantastic decision, as it allowed me to fully understand both Teach and Anne's motivations, feelings and reasoning.
The only question I have left is...will there be a sequel! Because there HAS to be a sequel! I don't know what I'll do if there's no sequel! That ending! I must know what happens next!!!
'BLACKHEARTS' is the perfect combination of subtle period piece and swoony drama. Grab yourself a copy and get swept away by an unexpected origin story of the dread Pirate blackbeard.