Review: The Forbidden by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Note: This ARC was provided by Forever (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.

The Forbidden was my introduction to Jodi Ellen Malpas's writing and what an introduction it was. I'd heard about the author's previous work via Goodreads, but I've yet to get around to reading them. However, after having experienced firsthand this author's storytelling, I can now say that I fully understand why there are many readers and fans who rave about it in general and each one of her books specifically. Given that the subject matter tackled in her latest work is considered taboo in many circles, you would think that I would have been wary to make this my initial foray. Fortunately, I'm not averse when it comes to most taboo topics and in the case of Malpas's The Forbidden, cheating isn't a trigger subject for me. However, let me put that into context by saying that I don't condone cheating, and there has to be a certain set of factors as to what led to it plus no justifying it as anything other than what it is--cheating, or in other words, the breaking of one's marital vows and knowingly playing an active part in it. Now, that being said, I'm always on the look out for that creative twist that makes a book special.

In order to not give too much of the story away, I'm going to stick to the basic facts of the story line. Twenty-nine-year-old Annie Ryan is an architect who crosses paths with thirty-five-year-old contractor Jack Joseph. They have one night together, exchanging very little information about one another other than their first names. It proves to be life-changing in more ways than one because even though they never thought they'd see each other again, they do via professional circumstances. It's then that Annie learns one tidbit of information that Jack failed to disclose the night they were together--he was very much married. She never wants to have anything to do with him again, but he's persistent and the heart wants what it wants. However, just like with many other situations where one indulges illusions and delusions, the time comes to pay the proverbial piper. I'll leave the details with that. You'll have to read the book to find out if Annie and Jack do end up together and if they do, how does Jack get out of his marriage, or if Jack stays with his wife and then Annie goes on to meet someone else and find her own happiness.

The Forbidden was a scintillating read, one that both romanticizes this illicit affair between Annie and Jack as well as bares the realities of what happens when you do become involved with someone who's committed to someone else. There's a great deal about the book that I quite liked. Annie and Jack know full well that them becoming involved--both emotionally and physically--is wrong, but they share a connection that Jack has never had with his wife. He had his reasons for marrying her, but that very motivation was one of the few hiccups in the book. I felt that it was a piss-poor excuse, and then he continued to stay with her, and it came off as almost a self-flagellation of sorts because he knew he married her for the wrong reason. The story was going so well until it started to feel like one of my all-time favorite films with a bit of role reversal. There wasn't much in terms of twists and turns, but there was a good flow to the story and I appreciated Annie and Jack occasionally contending with their guilty consciences which were obviously outweighed by their need and want for one another. 4.5 stars to The Forbidden. ♥

Date Read: 09 August 2017

Learn more about Jodi Ellen Malpas.

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