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Forbidden by Julia Keaton

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Julia Keaton
Historical Romance/Erotica
Published in 2010

H/h - Damon Burleigh/Jocelyn Holbrooke
Setting: America, early 19c.

Read in Aug, 2012.
My rating:

                                                [spoiler alert]

I’ve been wanting to read Forbidden for sometimes now, and when I finally had it in my greedy (and evil :p) clutches, I must say I wasn’t very happy with the end result. I liked some of it, some of it was confusing and some just meh. Why? Hmm, let’s see if I can elaborate in the following...

It started fine. A tortured hero! YES! Me want some... The beginning alluded that Damon is a tortured hero, who lost his family in India. He was half-Bangali (assuming, another YAY for me since I’m a Bangali too) as his mother was native to the West Bengal where he was born. His father, a Brit, lived there with the whole family; Damon, his mother, his younger brother Trent and two youngest twins, a brother and a sister, Remy and Clara. At around 18, Damon joined Wellesley’s army to fight against Tipu Sultan. The end result didn’t go very well and his whole family was nothing less than slaughtered and raped by the Marathas. He deserted and returned, only to find the bodies littering around his house. It was a painful read, when Damon in the end, recollects it all to Jocelyn. I was horrified by the narratives, which took away some of the fun I was finally having from the book. Anyway, when he was captured by the army, Damon met Jocelyn’s father, John and they became good friends through a really bad time. Damon accompanied John to America when they escaped. There he met a 6 yrs. old Jocelyn and a 4 yrs. old Ava, John’s two daughters. Their mother died sometimes ago while John was away. It seems like Jocelyn and a broody and sad Damon formed a kind of relationship... a bond of sort. Sadly, it wasn’t explored well and I must say, no matter what, I found it totally unbelievable.

I’ll come back to that point again. So, I’m not sure what happened to Damon and the siblings and/or John in between but it seemed like they were apart for a long time. Damon bought a small estate in America and has been living his life as a recluse. He loves his farm and likes to take care of it himself. But nightmares keep haunting him always and the poor babe has to seek solace talking to his horse, Isabella. He didn’t want human contact or companionship that much. My heart went out to him and I felt his sadness, even though I didn’t know back then the extent of what he and his family suffered. It’s been around 13 yrs since his family’s murder and quite a while since he’d seen John and his family. But soon, the news arrives that John is dying. Damon rides hell-bent for leather, only to find that John has already passed away. He finally sees the sisters again, but he’s intrigued to find that Jocelyn still calls out to him as she always has. Now she’s grown into an 18 yrs. old. Damon tries to talk himself out of this insanity by saying that she’s too young, quite younger than him and that she’s his friend’s daughter. But nothing helps.

I must say I was baffled by the kind of animosity both sisters showed towards Damon at first. I never quite understood exactly why they acted that way. But Damon took it all in with a cynical smile and some very funny dialogues, just to rile them up. Ava is the more wild type between the sisters, with a foul mouth to go with it. She likes to take in all the wild things and would use her beauty to get her way. Jocelyn is the reserved one, even though she’s also beautiful. Damon read a letter by John where he asked him to take his girls to England to his older brother Clayton, an Earl. Damon is determined to do his job but both sisters balk at this. Even knowing it was their father’s wish, they don’t want to travel to England. Especially Jocelyn, as she keeps saying that she can’t be with the enemy. I have no idea why she said that though. Was it because of the war their father fought? Eh, I’m no history buff so this remains a mystery as usual.

After a lot of arguing and feet stomping, Damon makes it clear that he isn’t going to budge. Then Jocelyn makes a moronic plan, which Ava reluctantly agrees to. Ava now wants to go to England, understanding that there she can live in aplomb with her uncle’s money and title. But Jocelyn wants to stay here to take care of their estate, all by herself. Yes, me, along with Damon, thought it was stupid. Damon knew that her staying here all alone would only endanger her life, and he’s not willing to take any chances with Jocelyn’s safety.

There are some funny scenes on the ship. Damon and Jocelyn even talk about the past and their... erm, bond. I have no idea how could a 6 yrs old kiss an 18 yrs old, say yes to his marriage proposal and remembers that as well............... No idea at all. I couldn’t help rolling my eyes every time they talked about it. It was made out to be a strong emotional connection between them. It could’ve been a very sweet one too but c’mon, she was only 6 FGS!!!!! I can believe that Damon was only being polite to a little girl’s whims but I could NOT believe Jocelyn remembered the whole thing as if she was 16 and not only 6! I particularly didn’t find their age difference a hindrance though, citing the era (early 19c). Damon was John’s friend, yes, but not close to his age obviously. I also thought Damon trying to keep a distance from Jocelyn was admirable.

When Ava was safe on a port from where the ship bound to England will sail, Jocelyn stows herself away in the returning ship to America. Damon thought he had boarded the sisters safely but soon he finds out how wrong he was. He was already sad that he had to let Jocelyn go out of his life again. Damon thought he’d get back, get married to a woman closer to his age and just live his life in his estate. But as the army pours into the ship, Damon finds Jocelyn stuck in between the ongoing bloody fighting. It was a moment of pure horror for him. He fights with one hand as a man possessed, with another trying to keep her safe. But they’re thrown out of the ship while trying to save themselves and become castaways. They were able to find land the next day and get down to the business of living a life made out of palm fronds, whatever fruit and fish they can find etc... Apart from all these, the whole island life, for me, was another unbelievable thing. I’m not really willing to go into the details, but I did snort and roll my eyes plenty of times. Think Blue Lagoon people! lol

They live there for about 2 months by making do with whatever they found in the island. The rest of the story revolves around that. But Damon and Jocelyn’s relationship was confusing me too. This time they were nice to each-other, the next Jocelyn is angry and stomping her feet. Ugh! Sometimes they both acted as hormonal teenagers. I found myself skimming through some of these pages. The author tried to portray their life as castaways with good details, as to how to found food or made shelters but that wasn’t half as interesting as I thought it would be. I wanted to see some good improvement in their relationship instead. Soon enough, Jocelyn begins to crave other intimacies as well. Apparently, she realizes that she has the hots for Damon and can’t do without his touch. Damon was willing to reciprocate but being the experienced one in this, he knew where sex can lead to. I found myself laughing at the words ‘little bundle of illegitimate joy’, as Damon tried to explain to Jocelyn why their kisses and fondlings can’t go any further. They would fight about this and Damon would sometimes be churlish. My sympathies, again, were with him. I mean the fellow was always walking around with a raging boner :p and he couldn’t do anything about it, even though the object of his obsession was always there, tempting him in every turn, however unintentionally.

Sometimes later, an incident that involves a boar (don’t ask!) led them both to realize that life is too short and they love each-other enough to give into their mutual passion. I loved this last bits a lot, with hot sex, until Damon one day opens up to Jocelyn about the fate of his family. I already mentioned my feelings about that part. They’re rescued when Ava and their uncle began searching for them after the news of Damon and Jocelyn gone missing arrives in England.

I really loved Damon. He was sexy and honest and... ummm, very sexy. Somehow, the way JK crafted and narrated  his character (down to his tattoos and er, intimate parts *heehee*) pushed the right buttons for me. Sex was really hot because of him. He was intense, and crazy about Jocelyn *sigh*. I also thought that the story had a promise to be something different. Jocelyn was a bit annoying at times but I could endure it for Damon. Generally, typos don’t bother me much but in this book it did. I’m not sure how this happened since it was published by a publisher and not self-pubbed.

Could’ve been a great story if it was executed well enough. 3.5 stars.

Favorite Quote(s):
“Jocelyn. You’ll keep your eyes on me, Princess. I want you to remember this. From now on whenever you look into my eyes I want you to remember how well we fit together.” 
“He pressed his lips against hers and closing his own eyes, ignoring the pain in his side, and the uncertainty in his chest he mouthed,
‘I love my Princess. I love my Jocelyn. Love you and only you from now until forever.”


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