My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - as able over 10 days
Pages - 400
Publisher - Harper
Source - Netgalley
Blurb from Goodreads
A knightly fairy tale of royalty and dragons, of midwives with secrets and dashing strangers in dark inns. Taking the original French legend as his starting point, The Story of Silence is a rich, multilayered new story for today’s world – sure to delight fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale.
There was once, long ago, a foolish king who decreed that women should not, and would not, inherit. Thus when a girl-child was born to Lord Cador – Merlin-enchanted fighter of dragons and Earl of Cornwall – he secreted her away: to be raised a boy so that the family land and honour would remain intact.
That child’s name was Silence.
Silence must find their own place in a medieval world that is determined to place the many restrictions of gender and class upon them. With dreams of knighthood and a lonely heart to answer, Silence sets out to define themselves.
Soon their silence will be ended.
Silence, born a girl, raised a boy. The laws of the land that only males could inherit therefore Silence MUST be a boy. I had never heard of this medieval poem so this retelling was shiny brand new to me from all angles. We open in an old tavern with a bard telling the story of Silence and we go back to Silence's birth, why the law came into play that only males can inherit and Silence's life.
This is brilliant, different, unique (I felt) going back to a time when there is war, inheriting through marriage, birth, titles, land. Being raised as a boy, knowing you are different but not exactly why and living your life a lie, trying to constantly prove your worth. It is emotive in places, I really felt for Silence. Nothing was good enough, just wanting approval, only wanting to be a knight. Silence is such a good person, kind, honest and it is almost constantly used against them.
I don't generally read books like this and I am glad I got a chance to, historical fiction (I am coming more around and enjoying this genre), fantasy, gender vs sex, adventure, friendship, relationships, deceit, betrayal and even a wizard! There is just so much and for me it was fresh, different, new. I read a lot of books across genres but this was really different. I plan to hunt down the poem and have a read at it. When reading this I did find myself pondering life/situations for Silence then and for those in the LGBTQIA community now. I don't know if that was one of the authors goals in writing this but it certainly left me deep in thought. Sometimes you don't realise how much you take for granted purely because of how you were born/raised. 4.5/5 for me this time, this was my first time reading this author, I will be looking at their other work and other books in this kind of vein. It is thought provoking read and I think I will be thinking about this long after I put it down.
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