My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Category: YA Historical Fiction
Thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
This was a hit on wattpad, and now, it’s being published as an ebook on the 19th of March!
Quick Review. 4.5 Stars
Gawdbloodyhell, if you love cold but secretly sweet though not bipolar male love interests, pick this up! If you love a female protagonist who’s kickass all the way through even in the toughest of moments (though she acts even when scared) and won’t let a man tell her she can’t do anything. Then pick this up! If you love Historical Romance, a female character who’s a feminist, suffragette (but not extremely hardcore feminist/suffragette, but rather, values the principles of feminism and acts on it), then YES you got it! If you’re a bit of a fan of gender bendering, humorous interactions between female protagonist and love interest, you got it. And most importantly, if you like action, this has plenty of it!
Highlights of the book (quick and briefly)
– Miss Lilly Linton and Mr Ambrose. They kept me up until the early hours of Saturday morning because I just wanted so much more of them!
– Pure/clean romance (but there is kissing! Actually quite a lot of kissing at one questionable moment, but it doesn’t go any further than that.)
If you want to know more, keep reading below (because although my quick review is gushing over it, there were several things that nagged at me. BUT definitely not enough for me to rate this down tooo much.)
Initial Thoughts Before Reading
I want to point out that, although I was intrigued by the premise. (Although even the premise is very brief and says little). And that cover! You know, I love a beautiful cover, and this one, is just, well, so very intriguing and simple! Though, it did make me frown. Why? Because the 19th century, in particularly the beginning of, is one of my favourite time periods ever. Storm and Silence is set about 20 years later than the Regency, located in the Victorian Era – another era I do love reading about, because hell yes, Queen! on the throne – and the cover just looks like a guy in a suit. Then again, because you can’t see the back of, and I’m not expert on clothes unless I’m looking at the actual thing, my head debated for a bit, before settling down on, OKAY it still passes as being somewhat accurate! And since my brain clearly agreed on that, we moved onto the next thing. Intrigued by premise and cover, I did in fact check out some of the previous reviews, reviews given by people who loved the book on Wattpad.
I won’t lie. Those reviews made me so gawdawfully suspicious. Everyone loved it! PRAISES FOR ALL. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. THREE CHEERS.
Ugh. I hate books that have too many praises, and though I love reading people’s reviews (both positive and negative), sometimes it’s just so hard for me to believe them! (Hence why I go out and read the book for myself. Though usually, the higher the praise a book gets, the longer it takes for me to read it. But sometimes, I might just jump right in.)
And so YES. I started this book with all intentions of hating it. THAT and also, I started it because I’d already finished the book in my bag on my morning trip to uni, and had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO READ on my way home. And when one has absolutely nothing to read they’ll read anything.
It was really good that my first impression was low. Because if it was high, then I might have found it harder to like.
Or maybe, this book really is just that likeable :P? Because I know, by the end of the book, I was crying for more. Craving, dying, wanting. So glad Thier is an author on Wattpad, and that I have Wattpad, and I can follow and read the sequel!
First Impressions Comparison
– I was reminded of A Spy in the House – the Agency series with the whole mystery angle.
– I was also reminded a little of A School for Unusual Girls, with the whole smart girl thing. Though Lilly is smart in her own little way.
– And Newt’s Emerald, for the gender bending, cross dressing! And also, the mystery aspect again, and the desperate need to recover something.
– Andddd A Matter of Magic, again, for a bit of the crossdressing, but also, the older, more authoritative figure, and the younger, assistant relationship (but mind, the age difference is around 5-ish/6-ish years).
– AND it has all the intense chemistry of any good slow burn romance book.
– OH I had like a Pride & Prejudice feel here, only less classic! Rather simply the values that each character has reminds me of P+P. But other than it’s nothing like the classic!
P L O T
The premise is a bit short in details about the plot. But yes, it does highlight one important aspect of the book. Lilly Linton wants freedom. And in a time when women’s rights are somewhat oppressed, Lilly and her small band of friends take part in small protests for women’s rights. Since this is set in the late 1830s of the Victorian Era, and before any serious suffrage movements take place. At the very beginning of the book, we see Lilly dressed up as a guy heading towards the polling booth. On the way, she helps out a gentleman businessman, who then offers her a job. If it weren’t for her tiny mistake at the polling booths, well, her potential new Employer, according to his card, Mr Ambrose, wouldn’t have found out she was a girl.
Even so, she turns up at his office as he had requested, and even though she’s dressed as a woman, she makes her way to meet him (to the surprise of everyone in the office). Of course, Mr Ambrose, a man of his time, and averse to the idea of a woman working, yet true and honourable to his word as a businessman, he allows Lilly to accept the job, on the condition that she dresses as a man – just like she had been when they first met.
But Mr Ambrose, thinking he knew better, didn’t expect her to return as such, finds himself a crossdressing female as his private secretary.
Throughout the whole book, Lilly fights him constantly about her right to work, and since she does her job impeccably, Mr Ambrose, true to his word as a businessman, cannot make her go. So, in turn, he does everything he can to get rid of her.
In the process, an important file goes missing, and Lilly finds herself unable to keep out of Mr Ambrose’s business, proving herself to be very resourceful and useful in the process, which of course, makes it harder and harder for Mr Ambrose to get rid of her. A lot of this plot focusses on this file and leads to the major cliffhanger at the end.
Action is a significant portion of the novel, and so is the romance between Lilly and Mr Ambrose. Though, mind you, it’s slow burn (my favourite type!) yet with plenty of chemistry and humorous encounters. This book, while categorized as historical romance, does not simply focus on these two people. Lilly does have her own problems, and must deal with it, in a dress, and with a fan, and must also be at work on time.
Some parts of this story lag a bit, specially when Lilly comes across her younger sister and her secret assignation with her lover. These scenes to me, felt a bit like a parody, like a caricature of forbidden loves, but at the same time, no less sweet. Admittedly, I just kept rolling my eyes at their interactions, mostly because the conversations were so silly! Bordering on satirical (which is also something I think this whole book does about that time period, but here’s why I also compare it to Heyer, since she wrote serious but humorous romances so the characters fall in love and yet do it humourously along the way). My favourite parts of this subplot however, was the ball scene towards the end.
C H A R A C T E R S
Lilly Linton, one of six daughters who are left with their aunt when her parents died. She’s nineteen, and couldn’t care less about balls, dances, and chauvinistic males. She’s more interested in wearing pants, fighting for rights as a woman, and a way out of her Aunt’s good gracious, to lift the burden, but also, so that she doesn’t ever have to marry anyone!What I love about her. She has a really interesting personality. Lots of humorous thoughts in her head, and doesn’t know how to really be a girl either. Even though in the company of men, she’s pretty feminine, except when she’s in full guy mode and allowed to swear up a storm and act like a guy. She’s clever, and resourceful, and refuses to give up her principles. She’s not invincible though. She doesn’t mind pushing her aunt to her limits, but so long as she plays towards her aunt’s desires (for her to go out and throw herself at gentleman to get married to), then she can be as free as a bird (well sort of free). When she’s in a dangerous situation, she gets scared and angry, but knows how to keep her head and follow orders (well not orders that tell her to stay away, but orders during the most intense moments). ON THE DOWNSIDE, Lilly’s stubbornness and inability to stay away from danger, throwing herself into tough situations might be dislikeable to some. However, I liked her enough because her character was justified and when she made a decision she stuck with it and acted as brave as possible, and not at all like a stupid-damsel-in-distress.
Mr Ambrose. His interactions with Lilly are the highlight of this book! I LOVE him. Well, rather, what I love, is how he was created. Indeed, he is somewhat your romantic love interest, the broody kind I mean. BUT BETTER. Broody typical love interests are always like, well, cavemen, broody and somewhat depressing. Mr Ambrose, is a sensible, logical, non-joking male, who knows how to use sarcasm (or rather he tells truths in a sarcastic way), likes to order people around, a miser who loves threatening Lilly by telling her that all the expenses are coming out of her wage, dresses well but plainly, is considered the richest man in all of England, has a somewhat shady background everyone is always speculating on, and though he acts like he only cares about Lilly because he needs a well working secretary, he does actually care about her, even though he never explicitly shows it because he’s always putting work first. You’ll understand what I mean when you read it! And work, as a man in his line of business, gets dangerous. Usually when it gets dangerous, he sends Lilly home, but she always manages to end up right at his side in the midst of danger, simply because she’s not the kind who takes well to be being ordered away simply because ‘she’s a girl’. Mr Ambrose though, usually after trying his best to send her away, allows her to stay. He does, respect her enough to let her stay, simply because he knows she won’t go away anyway.
Supporting characters mention: KARIM. YES. This guy who is Mr Ambrose bodyguard. HE IS AWESOME. Every time he pops up, he’s nearly the comic relief, even when Lilly and Mr Ambrose are at each other’s next in the most humourous way as possible without downgrading the importance of their arguments. I give Karim a special mention, because he plays an important throughout the book as Mr Ambrose’s bodyguard and trusted person. He does, after all, give Lilly the nickname that Mr Ambrose calls her rarely when he’s in a good mood. AND He’s terrified of Lilly simply because she’s a firecracker female!
S E T T I N G
1830s England, about the time when Victoria is crowned Queen, and the industrial revolution is blooming. My knowledge of this era is scattered, though I knew enough to be pleased with the accuracies. (Except I frowned a bit in confusion about the women suffrage movement, but after some research, I realized that the details in the book were still pretty accurate, since the proper movement didn’t begin until around the 1870s for the UK, but before that, there were smaller, little protests from the middle to upper class. And the notes that Thier added helped sort out the confusion in my head.)
W R I T I N G
Witty. It has it’s personal flair – Robert Thier flair. And by god. I can’t believe it. He can actually write from a female perspective EXCELLENTLY. Generally I don’t like genders writing for the opposite gender mainly because the guys come out extra whiny, or not convincingly enough male. And the females become overly obsessed with shoes and dresses and all, mainly over over exaggerated female stereotypes. However, Thier doesn’t do that. He gives Lilly’s principles, values, morals, habits, likes and dislikes, and writes a very convincing female tomboy without sounding like a man writing a female. Loved it. (And while Lilly freaks out over her feelings for Mr Ambrose, she usually has her head on straight and focussed on the task.)
Also, written in first person, and definitely all through the book a very characteristic YA style. More colloquial than historical in terms of language BUT there is enough era sensitive language used for the book to feel like it is set during the time it is supposed to!
He doesn’t waste too much time on description, but thankfully there is enough detail to give a full picture.
But the best part, is that he interweaves plenty of wittiness to love, and I find it absolutely humorous. Although the review copy I received had a few spelling errors and (of which will probably be filtered out before it’s actually published), I found the writing style likeable. There’s a cliffhanger at the end of nearly every chapter (hence why I ended up staying up to the ridiculous hour of 4am simply because I wanted to finish this AND STILL COULDN’T; if I wasn’t so rational, I would have kept going until 9am and forgoed sleep, but unfortunately, my eyes were just inadequately falling asleep on me!)
OH BUT WARNING. As much as I love scenes where the guy shoves a girl up against a wall (whether to intimidate, make a point, or just be a brute – I usually don’t really like the last option), this does happen a little too often in Storm & Silence, and while it’s not annoying (okay maybe a little) since it is a pretty intense scene each time, even though it’s absolutely pure each time! it does become a little bit repetitive. I think I counted 4 scenes? But well, like I said, the scenes are intense, and so much sparkly, steamy, clean & pure chemistry sparking between Lilly and Mr Ambrose, and it’s usually when they’re arguing! (And also another warning, depending on how you like your historicals, this one borders a bit onto the types where there’s more physical touching (for now I can only think of the Her Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers and The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen as examples of such and less of the distant intense chemistry of Heyer’s historical romances.)
O V E R A L L
I really enjoyed this. I did. Reading it, I was somewhat reminded of Georgette Heyer’s regencies (yes I know, I say this often, but if you follow my reviews, then y’all know well enough how much I love her books, and how they’re like my ultimate historicals) with outrageous scenarios (well in Heyer’s novels, this doesn’t always happen but still), a headstrong, somewhat feisty female protagonist, and a swoony busy love interest. (Still, Silence and Storm cannot really be compared to Heyer, because Heyer is a gem from another century, and her uniqueness makes her Queen Overlord of Historical Regency Romances. But what Thier has in common is his ability to thread his own flair and style into his story.) Either I was really craving a romance like this at this moment, and this just came by a the right time, or this book really is as good as its ratings, whichever, I think this is a pretty good book and I would definitely suggest it!
You know after finishing the review, I feel like I didn’t put in enough cons….but there were some, it’s just that my enjoyment overrode any negative feelings I might have had about the cons! I suppose if I were to pick some cons, it would be that although Silence and Storm felt like a whole and complete novel, sometimes I felt like it could be revisited and edited a bit more, and yet…while I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, it sure as hell is an interesting story (the highlight, the slowly blooming romance of Lilly and Mr Ambrose).
So if anything above catches your eye, give this book a chance. I can’t guarantee you’ll love it, but I sure as did. So maybe you won’t like, but hopefully you will since I do and don’t know how I read through this YA historical romance all at once and wanted more. Sometimes I think, wow there was a lot of silliness happening but then my brain morphs and justifies the scenes with the seriousness of the situation!
P.s. have I mentioned somewhere, this is one of the first ebooks I don’t have a problem with reading on the kindle phone app? I usually don’t like ebooks because I always feel like I’m reading some kind of draft, but well, this time, it didn’t feel like that at all! (except for the typos of course.)