FORBIDDEN – Beverly Jenkins
ISBN: 978-0-06-238900-8 (Print)
ISBN: 978-0-06-238901-5 (e-Book)
Virginia City, Nevada – 1870
Rhine Fontaine is the son of a plantation owner and one of his slaves. He served in the Union Army during the war, and now he is in Virginia City. He remains close to his all-white half-brother who lives in San Francisco. While passing for white, he has become a wealthy land owner in Virginia City. He owns a bar with his partner, James Dade. While they were returning to town, they noticed a black woman walking in the desert, a very dangerous thing to do. They rescue the dehydrated and exhausted woman and take her back to the rooms above the bar.
Eddy Carmichael had left Denver, Colorado, to go to California in the hopes of opening her own restaurant. She left her prostitute sister and her sister's two daughters behind. Leaving the two girls was the hardest part, for she loves them and wants a better life for them than what they currently have. Her journey is interrupted by a series of calamities. First is the theft of her savings and her tickets for the trip. Eddy's determination and hard work allow her to continue, but in this last misfortune, a man posing as a minister strands her in the desert when she wouldn't trade her body for continued travel. He takes her hard earned cash with him. She wakes up in a man's room but soon moves to Sylvia Stewart's boarding house and café. She trades her room and board for work as Sylvia's cook. Sylvia, who burns every meal, welcomes Eddy, whose cooking soon brings the boarding house increased profits.
While Rhine is unaccountably attracted to the beautiful but determined and stubborn Eddy, he is engaged to a white woman, and he made the decision to pass a long time ago. While still sympathetic and allied to the colored community, changing would cause him all kinds of trouble. Eddy, although diverted by Rhine, is still determined to make her way to California.
Any future relationship between Rhine and Eddy needs truth and trust in order to grow. The strong story line and interesting characters will immerse readers in FORBIDDEN while providing a unique look at the Old West and how the minority communities survived under overt racism and economic hardship.