Actual: 3.5 stars
This review is also posted on Thoughts and Pens
I might have given this book a 3.5 star but it wouldn’t stop me from saying that this is one of the best family books that I’ve read in my entire reading life. It was bittersweet. It was painful. It was sad. It was heartwarming.
The Silent Swan’s story revolves around the life of Tamryn Swann, a sensible 18 year old orphan whose main goal in life is to unite her family (her 5 brothers to be specific) after they got separated due to the five being sent to different foster homes. Gabriel Pritz, our male lead, got involved in Tamryn’s life due to a very simple reason; he wants someone to teach him how to cook. There was dislike between the two of them at first but as Gabe got immersed more and more deeply in Tamryn’s life, he realized that his concern was transforming into something else.
The Silent Swan’s story really moved me because Lex Keating was able to show the depth of familial bonds on this book. First, there was Gabe’s family. Instead of focusing on how wealthy they are, the story put more emphasis that despite being rich, they are also facing problems like normal people do. And it was really touching to see the camaraderie that they have even if they’re kicking each other’s balls. Second, there’s Tam’s family. Basically, she and her brothers were orphans and practically separated due to the foster care system. But it didn’t stop them to always grab the opportunity of being together and continue fighting the unjust rules the system has created. The Silent Swan’s plot was basically driven by Tam’s plight to rise from the misery of being an orphan and uniting her family. While I am writing this review, I can’t help but tear up. I can still remember how intense this book was that it’s hard to come up with coherent thoughts.
It really helped that The Silent Swan has characters that are worth rooting for. Tamryn is almost perfection. I love her courage, her sensibility, her love for her brother, her passion for everything that she does, her capableness. It’s as if she can do anything in the world whilst maintaining her compassion for the people around her. That’s my kind of heroine. Always focused on her priorities even if her heart is being disturbed by a male specie in the person of Gabe. Gabe is a nice guy, he might be little bit vain (because he’s wealthy after all) but I can overlook that because his true nature is: he is a true gentleman, he is just, he is compassionate, and most of all, he is a good son. If we talk about the secondary characters, they are heapsload of mostly likeable personalities. Mind you, there are a lot of characters in this book but I can totally differentiate them from one another. Even the few antagonists (Kerry, Aileen [in a way], Brian [in a way], the two bullies) in this book were convincing with the roles that they played. Lex Keating certainly knows the right recipe to create characters with emotional depth.
I was really enticed to give this book my most coveted 5 stars but I can’t ignore the three downfalls this book has. First, the romance of The Silent Swan was very minimal and it only developed at the last part of the book. The book cover kind of fooled me because it showed Tam and Gabe almost nosegrazing and one can assume that the book is more of a love story than a family story. What’s the point of that cover if I might ask? Although it’s hard to admit, Tam’s dramatic life literally dominated the overall story. The Silent Swan is just lucky that I appreciated following Tam’s life and it compensated for the mediocre romance. Second, Lex Keating’s manner of writing was a bit off putting. I don’t know how to explain it but there were a lot of times that I have to re-read passages because I am lost. I’m not sure if it’s about the transition or the dialogues or what. And third, the ending lacked a bang. There were even loose ends that weren’t wrapped up. The explanation about the mystery surrounding Aileen Pritz’ involvement with the Swann family was ambiguous. I was left speculating about the matter.
In an overall assessment, The Silent Swan is a heartrending tale that will surely get you invested.
*ARC was gotten from Netgalley. Thank you to the publisher*