Bunting, Eve. Forbidden. Clarion Books (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt), 2015. $17.99. 217 pages. Language: G. Sexual Content: G. Violence: PG.
The year is 1807, and Josie Ferguson has been recently orphaned. She travels by coach from her home in Edinburgh to a remote coastal town called Brindle. She has never met her uncle or aunt, but she is supposed to live with them for the next two years. Their appearances and home are not quite what she expected, and there is something decidedly wrong with the town. No one will tell her anything. When her aunt and uncle go out they set their dog Lamb on her. When she tries to leave, he bites her foot. Josie hobbles to the ocean shore to put her sore foot in water and meets a handsome young man named Eli Stuart. He tells her that his grandmother is a healer and should see her foot. His grandmother tends to her foot, but warns her not to fall in love with Eli, because it is forbidden. Josie is both affronted and intrigued. She soon discovers that her aunt and uncle aren’t mere fishermen and that local shipwrecks aren’t accidents. Who can she trust? The time period and overall feel of the novel is definitely Gothic—a young girl, a mysterious location, and supernatural happenings. I liked Josie as a character, but I never believed she was really in peril which took away from the suspense. The romance was brief and didn’t sell me. They never really spoke to each other, but then suddenly Josie was “in love.” The supernatural element was a surprise and not explained. Overall, it highlights an interesting time in history (the “wreckers” who purposely misled ships so that they would crash), but the plot and romance weren’t intriguing.
MS/HS-OPTIONAL. Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS.