Sunday, May 20, 2012

Review of "A Love Forbidden" by Kathleen Morgan

Rating: 3.5 Stars
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Summary from Revell: They're from two different worlds. Can love cross the divide?

Moved by a compassionate heart and the desire for adventure, twenty-year-old Shiloh Wainwright impulsively accepts a teaching position at the White River Indian Agency in northwestern Colorado. Eager to use her skills to help improve the lives of Ute Indian children, she looks forward to a fulfilling, independent life on the Colorado frontier.

But her new job isn't what she imagined it would be, and Shiloh soon finds herself caught in the cross fire between the Utes, their unyielding Indian agent, and a demanding US government. Her unexpected encounter with a half-Ute childhood friend, Jesse Blackwater, only complicates matters as they battle their growing feelings for each other amidst spiraling tensions that threaten to explode into a catastrophic uprising.

Set amongst the wilds of the Colorado Rockies in 1879, this tale from bestselling and award-winning author Kathleen Morgan explores the transformational power of forgiveness, compassion, and God's healing love with artistry and authenticity.

Review: A Love Forbidden by Kathleen Morgan immerses readers in the majestic Colorado Rockies during the era of tumultuous relations between Native American tribes and settlers. The plot is fraught with danger and tension with some unexpected detours along the way.  I initially expected more focus to be placed on Shiloh's attempts to educate the Ute children, but a significant portion of the novel is spent away from the Indian camps. The deteriorating Indian-white relations ignite a rapid plot progression during the second half of the novel. After learning in the Author's Note that some of the events were based on historical accounts, the tragedy became more real and heartbreaking.  While reading the novel, I felt a bit detached from the emotional turmoil that certain events would have caused.  Shiloh witnessed disturbing scenes but seemed to have little difficulty healing, and her emotions focused more on her relationship with Jesse.  Shiloh's strength and bravery is admirable, as well as her unwillingness to sacrifice her faith for Jesse's love. She faces each challenge resolutely, but I would have connected more with her character by witnessing more of her deep emotions and weaknesses.

Through Jesse's character, Morgan shows the vast differences between the Ute and white ways of life. Jesse has experienced life in both cultures, but faces an inner battle when he must decide where he belongs. As an adult, Jesse embraces the Ute faith and turns his back on his childhood Christian beliefs. The insights into his past make it easy to sympathize with his struggle to choose between life with the Utes and life with Shiloh; life with one means life without the other. A transformation in Jesse's faith is the key to his inner peace and future happiness and is pivotal in the ultimate outcome of the novel.  I find it more impactful to witness  life-changing events in a novel, but Jesse's decision to re-embrace the Christian faith is  recounted in a conversation.  Regardless, the ending is pleasing and hopefully Morgan will revisit Shiloh and Jesse into future novels.

Kathleen Morgan weaves messages of forgiveness and healing throughout the plot while incorporating romance and a breathtaking landscape.  She blends historical events into the fictional plot and conveys a factual account of the events leading up to the Meeker Massacre without overwhelming the reader. A Love Forbidden is an enjoyable read with some classic western excitement that will keep readers turning the pages.

Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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