Disclosure: I purchased “Forbidden” by Matthew Freake from the book’s publisher. I do not know the author nor have I ever had any communication with him about this book or any other subject. The comments that follow are my own personal opinion. I received NO compensation of any kind, or from any one, to provide this review. I have no personal bias of any kind against any person based on their sexual orientation.
A homosexual affair, in a railway work camp, during the 1950s, sounded like an exciting and interesting read. Unfortunately, I felt terribly disappointed for a number of reasons.
I thought the story had great potential but it never reached the tension level or delivered the social backlash that would have permeated the 1950s. The hatred, violence, and general misunderstanding of homosexuals during that decade was buried between the lines, instead of being the theme that solidified the story.
Nathan being a victim of incest and abuse was predictable. The use of sex, as the vehicle to emotional love, portrayed Nathan and Alex as immature. I had a hard time feeling any kind of sympathy for their situation and didn’t get into this story at all. Sexual activity, described in explicit detail, made this read like erotica.
The use of 1st person to tell the story greatly restricted this book and was a poor choice where insight into internal attitudes and emotions were needed to bring the reader into the story. The reactions of the workers and society just weren’t there.
This book contained minor writing/editing errors including word/phrase repetition, use of passive voice, occasional tense errors, poor sentence structure, misuse of verbs, and grammatical errors.