Thursday, March 30, 2017

Robert Thier - Storm and Silence

Freedom – that is what Lilly Linton wants most in life. Not marriage, and certainly not love, thank you very much! But freedom is a rare commodity in 19th-century London, where girls are expected to spend their lives sitting at home, fully occupied with looking pretty. Lilly is at her wits’ end – until a chance encounter with a dark, dangerous and powerful stranger changes her life forever... 

Comment:  A friend told me about this book, I confess I wasn't paying attention when it was part of the GR nominees for their best books of 2016 and we thought about reading it as one of our buddy reads. I liked the idea this was historical but had a male/female working relationship. I was very curious to see how the relationship would develop, especially if romance was on the horizon. I have to say I expected something different but I ended up enjoying the story quite a lot.

This is an historical romance featuring Lilly Linton, a young woman who is a active defender of women's rights and suffragism. She knows her family isn't the richest and she also knows only marriage could allow her to be set for life, something she doesn't want because she considers it a sort of prison. One random day, while disguised as a man, she helps a man not being conned and he offers her a job. Lilly is ecstatic except he finds out she is a girl and seems to go back on his word. Lilly convinces him, however, and she starts working for him Neither would expect the other to be the opposite of what thy can endure but at the same time a strange bond is formed between them. In the midst of adventures and family matters, can Lilly understand her feelings don't need to be as black and white?

I did have a great time reading this book despite the more than 700 pages in my ebook edition. The writing is easy to follow, the chapters are engaging and the plot itself has many interesting points. Yes, I got the feeling the book could be slightly smaller but because it was originated on Wattpadd maybe the plot evolution can be explained by the need to present chapters in a way that seem to have a beginning and an ending. I didn't feel bothered by this, it just feels like any other book but yes, the length could have been edited without removing important parts of the story.

The story can be divided into two big focal points: Lilly is always the narrator so the focus is on her actions, which are her family/friends life and her work for mr Rikkard Ambrose, her now new boss. Both parts are pure Lilly, she doesn't become a different person except she disguises herself as man when at work and her voice is both fun and clever although often too naive for who she claims to be.
In fact, this was one of the aspects I liked the least. Lilly is young and it shows, I think I'd like to see this story through a more mature look, especially when it comes to her awareness in specific situations. Because it's not there, this borders on comedy and I would like to not see things go this path. But it's not crossed, so there's still an aura of seriousness which we can glimpse by other details and that makes this very worth reading.

I also would love to have dual POVs. Just seeing things through Lilly's eyes can be fun and fresh because she is sweet but fearless but in key scenes it's almost unbearable not to have Mr Ambrose's obviously more serious perspective! To wonder what is going through his head is annoying but still very interesting.

The plot is very interesting but one thing is for certain, we get distracted a lot by secondary situations and scenes that have no apparent importance except to get us to know more layers of our protagonists or, in Lilly's family situation, how each member looks at things and acts in life. This also means we have more than enough room to reach different aspects of the character's personality, mainly Lilly's because she's the narrator. I especially like how she strongly feels about woman's rights despite her thoughts about mr Ambrose. I really liked when Lilly thinks funny stuff or acts in an endearing manner...she can be rather silly at times and way too naive for the situations she gets herself into, but deep down it almost feels she's growing too, so...

The romance is the definition of subtle. Nothing is said, conveyed, imagined, professed between them. Or if it feels like it, we can't really say because Lilly doesn't see it. But when we read between the lines, it's very sweet and promising. I loved the stronger romance scene when Lilly is drunk and Ambrose helps her. There is one kiss that makes up for the whole book, that's for certain and towards the end, things start to be more intense. But well, the end comes and with it, a cliffhanger! Authors can be mean!
I really hope things progress well and are "solved" in the next installment.

I had a great time reading this, I hope the next one is good as well and I also hope the author won't stretch this story ad infinutum to the point where it no longer means anything or if we can't see the HEA at the end.
Grade: 8/10

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