Silver Storm was the Unapologetic Romance Readers' theme read for "A pirate romance," which we took on for the month of April. We've been doing theme reads every month to try to cover some of the categories in our romance reading challenge. Silver Storm had the benefit of being free on Amazon, which is a big draw in the group. It's apparently the first in two combined series, which together are known as "Rakes & Rebels" though I guess the Raveneaus were the original series, named for the hero in this book.
And what a terrible book this is. But, looking at the original date of publication--1979--that's not entirely surprising. Romance was a completely different genre almost 40 years ago! But while some books have withstood the test of time, Silver Storm has not. Set during the American Revolution, it follows Devon Lindsay who ends up aboard the privateering ship of Andre Raveneau after her home in New London is destroyed by the British. It's a typical bodice ripper which of course means that the first sexual encounter between the hero and heroine is of dubious consent at the best, the hero walks all over the heroine's feelings, everyone wants to screw the heroine, and the heroine, of course, possesses a magical vagina that convinces the hero that she's all he ever wanted despite all evidence to the contrary. Oh, and that the characters have no depth at all. And the writing is generally terrible.
Silver Storm checks off all of these boxes. While I originally had some hope for the story based mainly on the setting--the American Revolution isn't a time, and revolutionary America isn't a place, that is typically utilized in romance novels. But the writing put me off right away, when the book opens with Devon and her mother sighing about their lives. I thought I might adapt--the writing style of a book is something that I typically get used to and can look past. But that wasn't the case here. The writing is just stiff and stilted, and it has no depth at all. What this means is that no parts of the book have any depth. The characters are two-dimensional. There's absolutely no chemistry between Devon and Raveneau. None. At all. I didn't find their interactions any more intriguing than those between Devon and Morgan, Devon's childhood friend and eventual fiance who wants to have sex with Devon (of course) but whose sexual advances Devon finds herself appalled by.
The story travels a lot, as bodice rippers are wont to do, and invents several nonsensical subplots to bulk up all of the arguing, foot-stamping, and hair-tossing that comprises the main story. There's even a castle on an island and a former mistress who shows up with a child of questionable parentage and a secret pregnancy to contend with. The drama is eye-roll-worthy, not of the delicious and intriguing type. A few side characters offered promise but ultimately nothing came of it, because why would any character in this book be allowed to have actual dimension or strength here? Sigh.
Ultimately, this was pretty terrible. It wasn't the worst thing I've ever read and didn't outright offend my sensibilities--though it came close at a few points, such as when Raveneau tells Devon he won't be held responsible for taking her virginity even though she's drunk and clearly not in a good place to be seducing someone. It was just, for the most part, lacking. So, as I am in a generous mood, I am going to bestow upon this book...
2 stars out of 5.