Monday, May 11, 2015

Book Review: Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Sixteen-year-old Kadesh and her family live peacefully in the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert. Kadesh enjoys her life and loves her family. The one dark shadow is her betrothal to Horeb, the heir to a wealthy neighboring tribe. She has watched him become cruel and arrogant, different from the boy she once knew, and does not want to marry him. Unfortunately, their fathers have already agreed and it is a matter of honor, so she braces herself to accept her place, one for which many women in her culture would give anything.

And then everything goes wrong.

Kadesh's beloved mother, who danced at her engagement party only the night before, goes into preterm labor and dies in childbirth. One of the two twins born, her parents' first son, dies as well. The rest of their caravan has already departed for the oasis where they will winter and there is no one to feed her infant sister. Then a handsome stranger appears, badly wounded and wandering the desert, and the course of Kadesh's life alters forever...

Kimberley Griffiths Little did her due diligence researching the culture of Mesopotamia. Her descriptions of the clothes, ceremonies, travels, cities, and life in a desert caravan are detailed and evocative, immersing the reader in the sights, sounds and smells of the setting. Some of my favorite scenes were against the backdrop of religion, both that of the desert dwellers, and that worshiped in the temple in the city. The compare and contrast was fascinating, and I appreciated the balanced recognition of the good and bad to be found in each.

Kadesh is a likable character, one that I think Forbidden's target audience will relate to, but exotic enough to catapult them into another world. She chafes against the confines of her parents' and society's expectations, she falls in love with a mysterious stranger who is both wealthy and honorable, she acts courageously to save herself and those she loves. Her relationship with her sister is loving and supportive, but also fraught with the conflicting views and disagreements that any sibling will recognize.

Solid YA novel, especially recommended for those who prefer exotic historical settings.

by Kimberley Griffiths Little
ISBN: 9780062194976
Buy it from Amazon here: (hardcover, paperback, ebook)
Find it at a local independent bookseller.
Look it up on Goodreads.
Check it out at your local library (find the nearest one here).

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