by Helen Kirkman

March 2004
ISBN: 0-373-83629-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Harlequin
Mass Market Paperback

Helen Kirkmanís second medieval romance release, Forbidden, is a lush and intense tale of a woman seeking revenge and the man she uses to achieve it. In scenes of dark and sensual beauty this very talented author seduces her readers into a world filled with strong and raw emotions of love, hate and desire.

In Lady Rowena, Helen Kirkman creates a heroine strong enough to hold onto her lands and estates after her father and husbandís deaths. A woman brave enough to bring to justice the man responsible for her loss. A woman determined enough to acquire the one thing that could help set her free.

Her purchase, Wulf, a thrall of noble bearing and attitude, is a man strong and fierce enough to strike fear into the heart of her enemy, Eadward, the Kingís Reeve. Her slave, her possession is prepared to risk his life. And not, as she thinks out of ill-placed duty or the desire to be released, but out of compassion and admiration for her. Itís those same sentiments that threaten to shatter her well-guarded heart and his longed-for freedom. Their feelings are too strong to be denied, no matter the consequences.

At times Forbidden is like a full-bodied, dark red wine of the best quality. And it is those seductive and rich moments that evoke all the senses and leave me breathless with its passion and promises of redemption, trust and love. There is pleasure in the writing, love and admiration for the characters, wonder for the romance both fierce and tender.

For all that I love Forbidden, I sadly had my problems with the ending. It felt contrived, not from the heart. I would have wished for more strength in Rowena and Wulf and for Helen Kirkman to show more faith in them. It is those last pages that are too dark and tortured for my liking. Harlequin unearthed a treasure when they decided to believe in Helen Kirkmanís writing. Now she only has to believe in herself and her characters. Trust them to be forgiving no matter the crime.

Forbidden is not yet the stunning success one wishes for, but it shows all the signs for it to happen soon. Maybe with its sequel, Embers.

Reviewed in February 2004 by Kris Alice.

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