Thursday, February 8, 2018

Book #Review: Forbidden (Old West 1) by Beverly Jenkins .@AuthorMsBev

Book Title: Forbidden (Old West 1)
Author:  Beverly Jenkins |WebsiteTwitterFacebook|
Publisher: Avon Romance
Genre: Historical Romance
Series/Standalone: Book 1
Format: Mass Market
Cost: $7.99
Pages: 366
How I got it: Purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Publication Date: Jan 2016
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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 . . .
I didn't read the synopsis when going into this books, it's Beverly and that's all I needed to know.  I had just finished her book Bring on the Blessings and I was in some need for a historical and in I dived.  And I have no regrets.

When reading a Beverly novel come prepared to learn about African American history while enjoying a good tale.  In this one we meet Eddy who has a dream of opening her own restaurant one day, having busted her butt to do so she's heading for California where she hears that Blacks have it better than they do in the south, on her way to buy her ticket out of town she's robbed.  After another series of unfortunate events she ends us finding her way into a new town by trading her cooking skills with several families on the way to California.  When something nefarious happens and she's left to wander the wilderness alone, in comes Rhine to the rescue.

From there we get one heck of a story.  I really loved the discussion of the history of the town, a look at the local politics after the Civil War and how the political parties we now know were once different.  It's fascinating to read about the towns in the West that the former slaves settled into and helped to build, while learning about the different newspapers and ways in which they had to operate.  One of my favorite moments came when a bank teller refused Rhine service and he asked the manager if they segregated the money and he said no, then Rhine asked why they only had one black teller??

I loved how Rhine and Eddy grew to know each other. As a prominent member of society and a white passing man at that Rhine couldn't date or marry Eddy so when the chemistry between them begins to ignite she reminds him of that.  I loved that she knew her value and refused to be diminished, when it appeared he wasn't offering her a decent relationship she called him on it.  Determined that this was just a stop on her way to California, Eddy never the less begins to make connections and friends. She becomes the cook for the Bed and Breakfast in town and in the process really begins to make a name for herself.

I loved that all the characters were written well. I especially loved the twins and hope they make an appearance in further books.   It was wonderful that Rhine used his privilege as a white man to aide the fledgling Black community even allowing them the ability to gather and use his bar when other establishments wouldn't.  When Rhine makes the choice to pursue Eddy I knew that there would be consequences for those actions and read quickly but anxiously.

This book progressed quickly and challenged my understanding of the West post Civil War. I can't wait to read more about Eddy's nieces, from Rhine's sister and hopefully more from this town.  I loved the progression of their story and the groundwork it laid for the other books.  Eddy was a fantastic character to read because despite all the challenges she made something for herself to be proud of.  It should be interesting to see if that 'respectability' will aide her in helping her nieces recover from their childhood.

After Rhine's truth is shared it's funny to read the reactions of people who were willing just the day before to break bread and start businesses with him.  Of Course his former fiancee absolutely loses it and she is kind of justified, how would he have explained it if randomly one of his children had been born dark skinned ?? Genetics and mother nature are unpredictable at beast,  there would have been knowing that your children would have been white passing as well. This was clearly not a plan well though out.  While I understand her ire, it's funny to see the beginning of privilege being set as a precedent there.  And I'm glad Rhine thought ahead to be able to cut many of the more vocal racist off at the knees.

This was a fantastic read and I can't wait to move onto the others including his sister's book because that sounds like it's going to be one heck of a read.
This time I don't have one, can you recommend some to me?? Any of the ones I can think of are by Beverly herself so that doesn't work.  Share down below my loves and I'll definitely pick them up. 
Happy Reading my loves, 

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