Blackhearts is an original, sweet retelling that didn’t really seem like a retelling at all. We all know Blackbeard, the fearsome pirate that really ruined a lot of sailors’ days out on the sea. But Blackhearts doesn’t really go on about Blackbeard as we know him, but rather the days before he became a pirate.
Anne is a maid in the house of Master Drummond. She shops at the market, she cleans, and she cooks. Not really friends with the other staff in the house, and having no family (both her parents had passed away), Anne feels alone, and longs for the day when she is able to get away from the house she lives and works in. Since her mother was a cook from far away islands, and her father was a rich merchant (their love was pretty much frowned upon), once Anne’s father died, she and her mother were tossed out on the street. When Anne’s mother died shortly after, Anne found her way to Master Drummond’s house, and has been working there for a few months before she runs into Master Drummond’s son, Edward, at the market. She gets into a confrontation with him, unaware of who he is, and when she later returns to the house, she finds that he is indeed Master Drummond’s son, and he isn’t very happy with Anne. As he spends time trying to confront her, he starts thinking of her as someone he enjoys spending time with, as opposed to just another servant in the house. Since Anne can read and is educated, thanks to her father, Edward finds himself often challenged by her and is able to have intelligent conversations with her, instead of the meaningless banter he shares with Miss Patience, the girl he is engaged to be married to. So Edward finds reasons to spend time alone with Anne, and the two slowly (note: no insta-love here) find themselves falling in love with one another.
I’m going to point out right off the bat here that the pacing in this book is pretty slow, especially if you’re used to reading fast-paced action-packed novels. Parts of this book kind of drag on, and there really isn’t any action or adventure going on here at all. It’s more of a romance, to tell you the truth, and I really didn’t expect it to be like this. I guess I expected pirates and tons of action with a passion-filled romance, but I didn’t really see much of that. There’s hardly any action at all, save for the very end of the book, and even that’s not really action-filled (at least not what I was hoping for). The romance is slow building and it takes a good portion of the book for anything to really develop. To me, Blackhearts is more like a slow paced historical romance than anything else. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, I guess I just knew what I was in for before starting the book. However, it definitely was well-written and easy to get into!
The characters were entertaining for the most part. I really liked Edward’s character – he was thoughtful and charming, and I always liked the chapters that were told in his point of view. Anne, on the other hand, was kind of irritating, especially when she would get close to Edward, and then push him away, and then practically cried because she pushed him away. She kept doing this over and over, and I found myself wanting to slap her and tell her to knock it off already and just follow her heart. While the chapters told in her point of view were, of course, vital to the story, I just couldn’t connect with her very well and this took away from the enjoyment a little bit.
The ending of this book left me craving more…I really hope there are plans for another book that picks up where this one leaves off (and maybe more pirates/action/adventure wouldn’t be so bad!). This was a nice read for snuggling up under a cozy blanket (as I did) and losing yourself in the romance of Edward and Anne, though. It really was enjoyable and I’ll definitely pick up another book by Nicole Castroman.
Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.