The Silent Swan by Lex Keating
AltWit Press | August 26, 2013 | 422 pages
eARC from AltWit Press via NetGalley
Overall: 24/30 = 80% B
Title/Cover Bonus: 2
While a long read this was a great look into some complex characters; while abundant, they enhanced the reading experience. An unfamiliar Grimm fairy tale retelling.
Once upon a time – better known as “now” – Gabriel Pritz reigns as king of his high school. Easy grades, perfect baseball season, a pretty date for prom—he’s coasting into a golden future. Until his parents demand he cook dinner once a week. Caught between kitchen fires and ballpark withdrawal, Gabe is thrown into Tam Swann’s orbit. Hostile, friendless, and stubborn, she’s exactly the sort of person he’d prefer to avoid.
Tam’s sphere of influence expands beyond Gabe’s sad domestic skills, rapidly invading everything from his favorite game to parts of his soul he didn’t know existed. It’s uncomfortable, it’s hard work, it’s…making him a better man. And that’s just what she does to people she doesn’t like. The better he gets to know her, the more he has to face the truth: this sharp, heart-breaking outcast is worth fighting for. How many families, fairy tales, and felons will he go through to ride to the rescue of the bravest person he’s ever met?
Gabe Pritz drove through the Callahan High parking lot without waving at any of his friends.
– eARC edition via NetGalley
Most Memorable Scene
When Gade has his hand in Tam’s pants….er…and then the scene when he talks about it with his family.
The plot centers around Gabe getting to know the many mysteries of Tam Swann and her many brothers. He’s is actively pursuing a relationship with Kerry, another student council member.
Gabe’s parents decide to make each brother responsible for dinner one night a week. Gabe is no good at cooking. He learns that Tam is exceptionally well at cooking and trades his help in math for Tam’s help with his cooking at home.
Most of the book takes place in either Gabe’s kitchen, the school cafeteria, the home ec room, or on a baseball field. There was nothing exceptional with any of the settings, except towards the end when Tam does some decorating.
The writing was good but not great. I would have loved for it to have been written in first person with alternating points of view between Gabe and Tam. That, however, probably would have removed the mystery of the great reveal. I just feel like I really didn’t know Tam all that well. There were lots of inner feelings coming from Gabe and not so much from Tam.
I am not a baseball fan but I seem to enjoy baseball themed books. I guess I enjoying seeing characters with a common element. Anything that brings two characters together into something they both enjoy doing usually makes a good book. I have also read books dealing with kids in the foster care system and found this to be interesting because of Tam’s character. I loved how she took control and didn’t let anyone else hold her back.
Tam is in the foster care system along with her many brothers. None of them are together except for the twins. Tam has made it her priority to ensure that her brothers are treated well and that all of their court appointed restrictions and exceptions are met. She meets Gabe with much reluctance.
Gabe also has a plethora of brothers. He’s captain of the varsity baseball team and the coach of a little league team too. He’s also on the student council.
We meet several of Gabe’s and Tam’s brothers. There are MANY. Almost too many. It was difficult in some situations when they were all together. I kept getting Mike and Alex mixed up, I don’t know why.
I adored Tam’s grandmother even though she is only introduced for a brief period.
This is were this book loses points for me. You can tell that Gabe and Tam will be an item, at some point in the future, otherwise what’s the point of the cover? The attraction is evident from Gabe. It is not evident from Tam until very, very, very late in the book. This bothers me a whole bunch. I get it towards the end of the book with the big reveal. However, I believe that we could have gotten to the big reveal MUCH earlier and then allowed some much needed relationship progression between Gabe and Tam. At 422 pages (Goodreads) or 580 (Amazon) this book is not a fast read and covers a LOT. While dealing with some tough issues the book is exceptionally good. It just lacks the romance that I thought I’d be getting from the cover image and a bit more than I really needed. I am not familiar with the Grimm fairy tale that this is reflecting so I can’t say which scenes were not needed. I would say that the entire thing with Kerry could be removed and this book would have been a ton shorter and maybe even better.
The title makes perfect sense but only after you finish the book. The cover is only half correct, which irritates me to no end. I really, really dislike a misleading cover.
There’s a reveal at the end that makes previous scenes make sense but only a little. I wish the ending would have been incorporated a lot earlier. I wanted to see Gabe and Tam together as a couple for a lot longer than just the last few scenes. While those scenes were sweet it did very little to make me think of this book as deserving of the cover.
I can’t find any information about this series but it does say in the beginning that this is a part of the Ever After Collection. I was able to find the following on her publisher, AltWit Press website:
Debut author, Lex Keating, takes Grimm’s fairy tales and spins them into contemporary romances. The first in this collection is The Silent Swan, based on “The Seven Swans.”
I am not sure why this publisher has decided to only publish this in paperback at $12.33 and not also as Kindle? I would highly recommend they offer a digital version at a much lower price point, say $6.99 or so?