First of—thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me this ARC for an honesty opinion.

I’ve always been drawn to pirates, especially Blackbeard. So when I saw the cover of this beauty, I had to get it! He was this badass, notorious pirate who sailed the seas; on the flip side, we never knew him prior. We don’t know if he was some surfer kid—or spoil brat—so this book gave us a history before the legend. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that this book wouldn’t be good, because I felt the first chapter grabbed your attention. It kind of reminded me of a BBC version spin off of the two heroines. As if I was watching it unfold as opposed to reading it. The style of writing wasn’t my usual but it was a good take on the perception of what Nicole Castroman wanted for her plot.

The story starts in the 17th century in England. You’re introduced to two characters whose lives aren’t going so swell for them. Anne, the daughter of a dead merchant, forced to be a maid for a spiteful family, only wants to make enough money so she could catch a one-way ticket to the West Indies to be reunited with her distant relatives. Edward aka “Teach”, is the son of a wealthy merchant family, forced to be married to someone whom he doesn’t like, only to be drawn to the sea. This isn’t some insta-love story. You can feel the tension between the two but it takes time. As they “stumble” upon each other on an awkward encounter that left one hurt and the other running; you get a feel that they don’t easily like one another. Is it bad to beat up your boss? Work place violence?

Anne works for Teach’s family, even though their first meet wasn’t as pleasant, you can feel a “build-up” between the character’s connections. Teach is honorable, driven, and wants nothing more for then a different future his family desires. Anne has struggled with her father’s death, causing the rocky seas she was oh-so trying not to have. Castroman showcases the racism, the restriction, and lack of diversity very clearly in the story, which was very interesting to get during that time era. The social status affected the relationship of both of them, even though they wanted something, they couldn’t. This is always a problem!

The ending, I was kind of alright with—it was getting to a really high “holy crap” moment and then BAM! Things went south. I don’t know if there is a second, or this was what the author wanted to do, but I kind of felt like it ended really hard. As well, there wasn’t really an “adventure” story. I expected because of the synopsis, but maybe she wants to continue it to part two on a ship? Curiosity?

Overall, I really liked the story, it was a little slow on some parts but it did have its high moments. I like the concept behind Blackbeard and that he wasn’t the man I read from history class. Anne’s character lacked certain moments, but I can tell she has a strong personality. Castroman’s writing was beautiful and I’m a big fan of historical-romances so she did a splendid job.  Check out this beauty!