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Book review: 'Blacksouls' continues the story of Blackbeard's early years

Posted April 6

"BLACKSOULS," by Nicole Castroman, Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 386 pages (f) (ages 12 and up)

Anne Barrett’s life continues to unfold in ways she never considered. The illegitimate daughter of a wealthy Englishman and his Jamaican mistress, she is no longer in her familiar England. Rather, she is on a ship bound for the foreign island of Nassau, a place known for its lawlessness and pirates. Her only hope is that Edward “Teach” Drummond, the man she loves, is sailing to the same destination. If he isn’t, she believes life will hold no meaning for her ever again.

Picking up right where “Blackhearts,” book one in the Blackhearts series, left off, book two, "Blacksouls" by Nicole Castroman, continues the love story of Anne, Teach and several new characters on the exotic island of Nassau.

In 1698 England, Anne was keenly aware of her dark skin hue. In Nassau she blends in, perhaps too well. Anne and Teach continually find themselves in life-threatening situations and, although they have tried to stay out of sight, they quickly become targets of the evil Governor Webb, a man who will stop at nothing in his quest for power and money.

Bar fights, slavers, pirates and jail seem to be the norm in Nassau, and Anne and Teach quickly learn to navigate the politics that surround them. When a terrible murder happens and their escape plans are thwarted, they find themselves going against one of the most powerful men in the Caribbean.

“Blacksouls” is a great continuation of “Blackhearts.” There are a few slow parts interspersed throughout the book, but the action-packed and sometimes emotional scenes make up for them. Castroman continues to do a good job of fictionally highlighting the early days of the notorious pirate Blackbeard and the woman he loves. Although some parts of her novel are overly explained, becoming immersed in a time where slavery was the norm, instead of looked down upon, can be enlightening.

“Blacksouls” has zero profanities, and crudities are only alluded to. While there is romance in the book, it doesn’t go beyond kissing. The several instances of violence deal mainly with the slave and pirate cultures of the 18th century.

Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. A wife and mother, she loves learning people's love stories and blogs about her own at agoodreid.blogspot.com.

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