Title: Storm and Silence
Author: Robert Thier
Released: March 19, 2016
Favorite quote: “Chains of gold are still chains.”
This is a novel that is very dear to my heart, so this might be a rather emotion-driven reaction, which can be both good and bad. Firstly, it’ll be good because I’m extremely interested in sharing my open and honest opinion on Storm and Silence. Secondly, it’ll be bad because I’m rather biased. Why? Because teenage me who crushed on Sir Rikkard Ambrose and Robert Thier took the wheel away from me and guided me through this as I read the entire novel for the first time. I started Storm and Silence when I was a high school student obsessed with fanfiction on wattpad, which is what led me to stumble upon this wonderful book. I faithfully waited up each night for the new updates and fangirled like the hopeless romantic that I was/am. So if you’re looking for a critical analysis of Storm and Silence, I apologize, but this is going to be one of the few times when I don’t honestly try to tear apart the whole to examine the pieces.
Back when I’d first read what had been posted of Storm and Silence, I remained a loyal fan until about 75% of the way through the story (which I only found out recently). Something came up and I have no idea what it was, but it kept me from finishing. Since then, I’ve always wanted to go back to it. Now, thankfully, I have.
Lillian Linton. Lilly has been both a character that I love and hate because of how overly-committed and unbelievably clueless she is. She’s the perfect mixture that makes her both likable and believable. I’d like not to think that she’s the stereotypical clueless girl or the stereotypical dedicated strong female character. Why? Because those two types compensate for each other in a winning combination that is entirely Lilly Linton. (Yes, I’m singing her praises to high Heaven, but I really just love/hate her. Always have. Always will.)
Sir Rikkard Ambrose. Tall, dark, handsome. Is there any more to say? Of course there is! Besides being tall, dark, and handsome, Mr. Ambrose has a personality (on first meeting) that I wouldn’t want to beat with a twenty foot pole. He’s an incredibly flawed character! From miser to miserable, Ambrose is a romantic interest who engages the main character in a manner that is nearly unheard of. He reminds me slightly of Heathcliff (though I actually like Ambrose, so maybe that’s a harsh comparison). Thier writes a beautifully disastrous leading man whom the readers love to hate and love to love.
The combination of Linton and Ambrose is perfect. They’re a bit like Watson and Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels in the sense that one has a superiority complex and the other has a difficult time accepting that the other one actually is brilliant. Of course, Lilly/John and Rikkard/Sherlock are much more than just that slight comparison. Really think about it, though; consider any sort of adaptation that you’ve read or seen of Sherlock Holmes and really compare them to Miss Linton and Mr. Ambrose, if you can. They’re a wonderful team, but they don’t quite work well. If you’re a BBC “Sherlock” fan, maybe think about how the chemistry between them flares before snuffing out: that’s a fairly accurate description of Lilly and Rikkard’s relationship.
The secondary character’s are amazing. Yes, amazing. Do I want to elaborate? Not particularly. They’re each unique little dandelions that a reader needs to discover as they pop up. Even among the suffragettes, there are varying personalities on the spectrum that I hadn’t anticipated. The sisters aren’t all the same. The men aren’t all the same. Even the two parental figures aren’t the same. I’m even able to tell apart all of Ambrose’s employees by their differing traits. It’s marvelous! I’m too used to reading novels that give the bare minimum for secondary characters.
In Storm and Silence, different political and social issues are explored. From women’s suffrage/rights to the monopolization of entire industries (and cities) for political, economic, and personal gain, Thier tells a story that tightly wraps up Victorian history and its struggles in a neat package with a bow on top. Although there were one of two parts that made me stop and really question the accuracy (like the alcohol-induced hallucinations that kept making me think “absinthe?”), I felt that Storm and Silence does an excellent job of showing a glimpse of Victorian England to readers. In fact, this can be deemed educational, depending on how you look at it. For younger readers who aren’t aware of the struggles that women faced (lack of rights, “need” to marry, difficulty to divorce, treated nearly like property, etc.), I think that Storm and Silence is a wonderful start into that time period before leaping in with Wilde or Dickens.
Do I recommend it? Yes! To who? Everyone! Yes, I’m not the most trustworthy when it comes to this novel because of how desperately in love I was with it in the past and how quickly that love snapped back into place in my chest upon rereading, but I truly do recommend it. It’s a thrilling romance that leaves you needing more.