Having read all four other Cat Royal books, I have been waiting with bated breath for 'Black Heart of Jamaica' to arrive. When it did, I demolished it in three-and-a-half hours of almost non-stop reading. it was, literally, unputdownable.
Julia Golding has provided that elusive, piratical, desert island, historical fiction that we all have a vague idea exists, but can never quite find. A pirate tale, in a way, it may be, but it is also a historical novel with sound basis in fact (though it is by no means lacking in fun because of this!) and a somewhat educational tale of slavery in the West Indies during Georgian times. But don't let that dissuade you if you aren't the most scholarly of people - feisty heroine Cat Royal has swashbuckling adventure (though, despite what the blurb seems to suggest, piratical adventures only form about 50 of the books 383+ pages), making many witty remarks along the way, and meeting with just the right amount of emotional trouble, too. We hear more from Billy Shepherd (in a rather surprising way), and the books ending is (!!!!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!) sad but sweet (!!!!!!!SPOILER OVER!!!!!!!).
All in all, a gem of a book, quite possibly Julia Golding's best yet (as far as the Cat Royal books go), but it may be advisable to read the first four before you read this one, if you are new to Cat's adventures.