Review: The Forbidden Bride
THE FORBIDDEN BRIDE by Cheryl Reavis is a treasure from the past. It brought back many fond memories of why I fell in love with historical romance when I began my reviewing journey in 2003.
Why was this book in Dorine’s TBR?
Years ago, I had a Harlequin Historicals subscription. It cemented my love for historical romance, especially the under 300-page novels they excelled at producing for so many years. When that line was terminated, I was heartbroken. Luckily, I still have a neat little pile of unread treasures like this one from 2003 to discover.
Even though Harlequin is back to producing historicals, I haven’t tried them. I did stockpile many from the 2000s, then added the Love Inspired line of historicals. But all the new ones don’t include my favorite authors from that era. I’d love to see them back again. Authors like Kate Bridges, Deborah Hale, Elizabeth Rolls, and now Cheryl Reavis.
THE FORBIDDEN BRIDE has much of the Gothic ambience I loved in the Cornish romances I enjoyed years ago, which were written during and prior to the 1980s. Instead of a spooky mansion, it has a gold mine in North Carolina, and the Cornish miners’ superstitions to give it that eerie feel.
There is also a controlling, uncaring father who has his daughters’ love, even though he doesn’t deserve it. Although this novel is listed as a western and takes place in North Carolina, the Cornwall flavor makes it feel as though it could be in England.
I’m drawn to Cornish flavored novels since my great-grandmother, Nanny, immigrated from Lands End to America in the early 1900s. But it was actually my Irish grandmother who introduced me to Gothics. Reading this novel brought back many fond memories of both of these unique women.
Treager works for the owner of the mine, specializing in explosives and finding gold. He has a mysterious past that haunts him. Jane is her father’s substitution for the son he disowned. A doctor, Jane’s father begins to instruct her in his trade.
Jane and Treager are inevitably attracted to one another, much to the doctor’s disdain. Of course, we have the meddling relative from England who taunts Jane and her sister with her rules of propriety. And the emotionally removed mother.
Everything is not as it seems and unravels at a rapid pace toward the end of the novel. There were a few details that seemed unnecessary and wore on my patience, but that was minor. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. The men were a bit stifling at times due to their disrespect for women’s worth, especially Jane’s father, but even he came around a bit toward the end.
I was surprised how well a sixteen-year-old novel stood the test of time successfully. I’m only sorry it took me that long to discover Cheryl Reavis’ talent. How I miss the Harlequin historical line of that era. And the authors who enhanced my romance reviewing journey. I’m sure I have more gems in my TBR, but it’s not the same. I’ve grown in my reading preferences due to that line’s closure, and as a person. I miss that “me” who was discovering her writing and reading love, but there’s no getting back her innocence. I’m blessed that it shaped who I am now, and know, that like those authors, I must move forward.
With many attributes to love, THE FORBIDDEN BRIDE is most successful at honoring our early female healers. They were torn between their love of medicine and raising a traditional family. Gender roles and disdain by their peers often held them back or persecuted them. This novel has all that and so much more. A very emotional book in places, it also touches on the many colors of grief. Now I need to search to see if Jane’s sister Eugenie ever got her story.
I’m so glad I’m a hoarder of books! Look for this one in digital format at Amazon, otherwise you’ll be searching the UBS for a print edition.
Review by Dorine, courtesy of TheZestQuest.com. Print book purchased. Thanks in advance for following links and sharing this review on social media. #TBRChallenge #RomBkBlog
The Forbidden Bride by Cheryl Reavis
Category: Historical Romance
Series: Harlequin Historical Series (Book 640)
Publisher: Harlequin (January 1, 2003)
Rated 4 out of 5