One woman is torn between faith, family, and passion in this “heartfelt immigrant love story” from the author of Forbidden by Destiny and Forbidden by Time (Publishers Weekly).
Raised by her immigrant parents, Sara has been taught that a good daughter makes decisions based on her family’s approval, and she’s spent most of her life in their good graces. Until she meets Maziar.
An instant electricity ignites between them, and their meeting seems like fate. Just as her mind begins to soar with the possibilities, he shatters her hopes. Sara is Muslim. Maziar is Jewish. Will faith tear them apart?
Despite centuries of unrest behind them, Sara and Maziar embark on a forbidden love affair, attempting to navigate through cultural and religious prejudices. Deep within the trenches of their battle, Sara finds herself more empowered and careless than ever before, but will her love and newfound life be worth the ultimate cost—her family?
Praise for the Forbidden Love series
“Forbidden by Faith shows how family, love, and faith can collide, even in this modern age.”—A. K. Leigh, author of See Her Run
“A strong message about family and protecting those you love.”—InD’tale
“Ms. Papehn is a wonderful storyteller! I was immediately caught up in the lives of her characters. In Forbidden by Destiny, the heroine, Leyla, might be of Iranian descent but her story belongs to all women.”—Carrie Nichols, author of the Small-town Sweethearts series
This heartfelt immigrant love story, set in present-day California, suffers from a plethora of debut-novel clunkiness issues, gesturing toward a complex story about identity but delivering only simple stereotypes about traditionalist attitudes. Persian and Muslim pharmacy student Sara lets law student Maziar, with whom she becomes smitten at a party, convince her that his family will accept her despite his Iranian Jewish heritage. When that turns out to be untrue, she runs away from the relationship despite her feelings for him. Papehn parades the beats of her plot predictably, and her gambit of starting the book with a scene from the end fails to pay off in the final build-up. Prosaic and clich -ridden prose appears throughout and is particularly apparent in the sex scenes, which aim to be impressionistic but just feel vague ("When we finally reached the peak, the earth shattered beneath us and we came crashing down onto the pillows together"). Character development is weak for all but the heroine. This has the effect of making Sara seem narcissistic, and Maziar's attempts to reconnect after the initial breakup are more creepy than endearing. Detailed descriptions of Iranian food and cultural elements are the high point, but aren't enough to carry this lackluster romance.