Storm and Silence, by Robert Thier

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What a great title. It conjures images of frothing waves and brave wooden ships, bobbing up and down with their flags curling in the wind. Pity this book has nothing whatsoever to do with the sea.

The book starts out strong, with Lilly, a girl in Victorian England, dressing up as a man to vote. A slight mishap, however causes her to be thrown into jail for a night’s stay. It starts out as story featuring a witty, funny woman challenging society for withholding equal rights, but soon turns into a novella. How do we know? The signs are all there.

Sister planning to elope with neighbor’s son? Check.

Evil aunt who keeps trying to marry her off? Check.

She begins to like the domineering boss? Check again.

Despite this very major deterioration, Storm and Silence keeps from sinking thanks to sound grammar, great writing, and the occasional hilarious chapter. Lilly is a likable protagonist, and very different from Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. This is actually more significant than it seems because much of the background appears to be drawn from Jane Austen’s most famous novel. Lilly is one of five children, who lives with her taciturn uncle and her man-hunting aunt. Sound familiar? It should. Pride and Prejudice also featured five sisters, a philosphical father and a mother eager to see her daughters married. Both Lilly’s aunt and uncle seem like exaggerated versions of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet.

Towards the very middle, the story loses itself in its various poorly constructed plot devices. Just as we give it up for good, the plot picks up, and the spectacular ending leaves you itching to peruse it’s sequel, In the Eye of the Storm.

If you’re looking for a historical novel that’s actually believable, this one isn’t for you. Storm and Silence cannot disguise its 21st century voice- indeed, it does not even try. Lilly’s warped definition of feminism is also a cause of constant irritation. However, if you belong to the typical Wattpad audience- that is, people from their teens to twenties, looking for a lighthearted romance- then this shouldn’t bother you at all. After all, not only did it win a Watty in the People’s Choice Category, it was also name the #Storyof2015.

It’s developed a massive following on the Internet, complete with fan art and even fan fiction. Thousand of memes have been generated, hastags tweeted, et cetera, and hardcore fans refer to themselves as “Irfrits”.

Image Source: Robert Thier on Twitter.

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