Review: Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Forbidden 2


From the blurb:

In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

When offered the opportunity to review Forbidden, I eagerly accepted after reading the description. Read a tragic love story set in the Mesopotamian desert in the 1700s when young women followed the rule of their family and marriages were arranged like business deals, knowing a dark horse would enter the equation to complicate matters? Yes, please!

I’ve never read anything by Kimberley Griffiths Little before, but I went into this one with high expectations. For the most part, those expectations were met. The backdrop for the story is almost a character unto itself—and described so richly. From the first page until the last, I was there in the desert with Jayden, experiencing it all with her, completely immersed. That’s the way I love to read best, when my surroundings disappear, and I resent any intrusions. It was difficult to put this book down.

The cast of characters was varied, well-drawn, and unique. With some books, I have a hard time differentiating one character from another, but that was not the case here. My emotions were yanked every which way, like a piece of taffy, as Jayden’s tragic story unfolded.

There were a few spots that felt overdone and dragged out, and some I thought should be highlighted were glossed over. One important example is the budding relationship between Jayden and Kadesh. When Jayden and her father meet Kadesh in the desert and he begins traveling with them, it provided the perfect opportunity for the author to lay the groundwork for them to fall in love. Instead of showing their growing attraction and letting the reader in on their conversations, the story skips in time a few weeks. This damaged the story for me because when Jayden and Kadesh did begin speaking of their feelings, and especially the scene where they are alone for the first time, I wasn’t “there” yet. The foundation was missing. What was it about Kadesh that could make this girl who believes in family traditions and values so deeply be willing to rebel?

Despite my gripe about the insta-love, there’s no denying the scenes between Jayden and Kadesh tugged at the heartstrings. Griffiths Little does a phenomenal job drawing the reader into the intimate circle of their love, desire, and angst. And let’s not talk about how much I wanted to do bodily harm to Horeb, Jayden’s betrothed.

Forbidden pulled me in, tore my heart out, stomped on it, gave part of it back, stomped on it again, and left me hanging by a thread—because it ends on a cliff-hanger. Sadly, I had to knock points off for the lack of relationship development between Jayden and Kadesh; otherwise, this would have been a five-star read for me. I eagerly await the rest of the trilogy.

4.25 stars

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