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Forbidden

by Beverly Jenkins

Series: Old West (1)

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1469137,525 (3.89)5
USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns with the first book in a breathtaking new series set in the Old West Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he's always dreamed of--one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying. Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won't risk her heart for him. As soon as she's saved enough money from her cooking, she'll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden . . .… (more)

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» See also 5 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This was so good! I loved it. The characters of Rhine and Eddy made my heart happy. Especially when you find out Rhine's past. I loved how Jenkins took parts of the American history (post Civil War, mostly African American towns, etc.) and turned all of that into this book. I am so going to read more books by this author in the future. The only reason why I didn't give this five stars is that it starts off slow. To the point that I was considering DNFing it since I was so tired. However, things pick up after Eddy gets to Virginia City. And then the info-dump regarding Eddy's sister and her nieces I did not care for at all. I am assuming this comes up in the follow on books and I hope is better laid out than it was here.

"Forbidden" has Rhine Fontaine, a son of a slave that can pass as white moving out West to make his fortune. He ends up landing in Virginia City where he becomes quite wealthy and engaged to one of the town leader's daughter. Enter Eddy Carmichael. Eddy has dreams of opening her own restaurant in California. She leaves her family behind in Colorado and travels west. Things are going her way until she's left in the desert and almost dies before Rhine and his partner find her and take her back to their saloon to heal.

Eddy and Rhine both find themselves drawn to each other right away (insta-love which is usually a pet peeve with me but worked with how Jenkins handles it) Eddy isn't stupid though and knows no good can come with her getting involved with a white man. And Rhine knows he can't be with Eddy unless she would agree to be his mistress. Jenkins does a great job of developing these two and getting you to understand why they are so drawn to each other. And we get some love scenes that made my heart go happy pitty pat.

The secondary characters like Sylvie, Doc, Vera, and others were great. I felt like I was getting a real picture of an old West town with many people all living together.

There's of course the question of what is Rhine going to do and what is Eddy going to do. Thrown in is also the issue of the Republican party turning more focused on "white issues" and their turning a blind eye to the KKK. If you want to know more about how the Republicans yes supported abolishing slavery and then danced towards being the modern face of white supremacy, follow Kevin Kruse on Twitter.

The book takes place post Civil War and my reading of the times and locations that Jenkins gets into reads to me as accurate. I am glad she didn't have the African Americans in this book talking about the Democrats. She knew just as I do that African Americans were Republicans for the most part up until a certain point in time of our nation's history (see JFK and Civil Rights).

The book though tries to do too much at the end and as I said above we have some throwaway lines regarding Eddy's sister and her family that made me go wait what? I found out that Rhine appears in an earlier work of Jenkins, but I am glad she developed him in this one and didn't expect new readers to know him. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Considering I'm reading a decidedly mid road histrom and can't quite make myself go back to this, I shall bail. That said, I might try some earlier stuff if that's really where it's at.
  samnreader | Jun 27, 2020 |
I never really considered myself to be the kind of person to read romance novels, and then I read this book. I added it to my TBR after hearing about it on the All the Books podcast, and tackled it this year for the Read Harder challenge. I have to say that it blew my socks off. I loved the book so much and I can say it won't be my last romance. ( )
  ChelseaMcE | Mar 19, 2020 |
Nash raised his hands. "I'm sorry," he said, chuckling as if the encounter had been a joke. "I didn't know she was yours. Had her a few times when she and I crossed the desert. Was just trying to renew an old friendship. She as hot for you as she was for me?"

Eddy saw red. He'd robbed her, left her to die, and was now intimating that they'd been intimate? She was so furious she wanted to shoot him herself, but not having that option, she grabbed a long-necked bottle off the bar's top and slammed it hard across his jaw. The bottle shattered. Had she been taller she'd have brought it down on his head.


I am TOTALLY HERE for a woman who can stand up for herself in the face of total humiliation. Eddy is 1000% my kind of heroine!!

This was the most delicious of slow-burn romances. It was a refreshing change of pace - Ms. Jenkins loves to lavish her couples with lots of sexy love scenes, but there aren't really any here because of the massive stumbling blocks in these characters' way. She does not play coy with the heap of issues surrounding her characters, the most serious of which is her hero, having successfully passed for White for many years, suddenly facing the idea of losing it all in order to be with the woman he loves.

Eddy is marvelous. She doesn't take guff from anybody. Her parents died young, so she basically had to raise herself, and she's worked very hard for a very long time. She decided to work her way out of poverty, whereas her sister Corinne decided to prostitute herself. The sisters don't pass judgment on each other; they are estranged for the entire series because of the choices they've made. Eddy decides that she wants to get out of Denver and head to California, where she's heard that black people have successfully started businesses. Her dream is to have her own diner, and boy can this woman cook. Reading all of the descriptions of food made me salivate!

Rhine is pretty much your classic dreamboat, but he has plenty of issues of his own, not the least of which is his race. He grew up in slavery and saw the stark difference between his place in the world and his legitimate half-brother's, and he knew the only way he could make a success of himself was to "leave the race," as he terms it. He doesn't turn his back on them, completely, though, as he takes up the cause of his brethren every possible way he can, as a White ally. So much so that when he does confess to his tarnished history to the entire White population of his town, the Colored folks welcome him home.

The best thing of all is that these two are adults, and they handle their mating dance with grace and maturity. Eddy refuses to become Rhine's mistress, and Rhine refuses to let the town's bigotry (and his own crazy ex) stand in the way of being with the woman he loves. It's very powerful, and a fabulous way to open the series.

I read this series completely out of order, and that might have made it more poignant for me, because seeing their happily ever after in Books 2 ([book:Breathless|30166205]) and 3 ([book:Tempest|35068495]) is what propelled me to go back and read this one.

As I've said before, Ms. Jenkins does something that is increasingly rare these days: she fashions characters that modern readers find appealing, but she places them firmly in the context of their own time. These are not 21st century people running around the Wild Wild West. These are rich, full, interesting characters living rich, full, interesting lives. Ms. Jenkins packs her books full of history (and has the author's notes full of references to prove it!), so not only are you getting a fabulous love story, you're getting a wonderful history lesson as well. ( )
  eurohackie | Dec 28, 2019 |
2.5 stars

I don't know if it is the author's writing style or just this story but there was a bit of a stark back and forth between the characters' dialogue that gave the story a choppy feel to me. I liked the introduction to Rhine but Eddy's jumped so quickly from sister to nice wagon driver guy to evil wagon driver guy that I couldn't settle in with the character; this obviously improved when Eddy finally gets settled but it was an awkward beginning.

There was a little bit of a feeling of insta between Rhine and Eddy because of the inner thoughts we are given and how they don't get a huge spotlight on them specifically together; Rhine is still engaged to someone else until 50% into the book. Even though I wanted more of it, I did enjoy the gradual, almost shy, way Rhine and Eddy begin to spend time together, pretty sweet.

The romance aspect let me down a bit but what I loved was the way the author incorporated the political climate and shifting society after the Civil War, this takes place in 1870. The author manages to take broad issues and apply them down to this little town in Nevada where political dealings within the Republican party, changing attitudes, and segregation are being discussed and affecting people's lives. I got an incredible feel for the times, what individuals were dealing with, and the characters had an authenticity to them; this is what a historical should feel like. Eddy was a wonderful strong woman character but within the framework of her times and no less for it. ( )
  WhiskeyintheJar | Feb 14, 2019 |
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USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns with the first book in a breathtaking new series set in the Old West Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he's always dreamed of--one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying. Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won't risk her heart for him. As soon as she's saved enough money from her cooking, she'll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden . . .

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