Monday, February 26, 2018

Monday Book Review: Forbidden by Faith, by Negeen Papehn

Forbidden by Faith, by Negeen Papehn
Published February 2018 by City Owl Press

About the Book:

Sara knows her life would be easier if she married a man of her faith, but when has love ever been easy?

Raised by her immigrant Iranian 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, and her world is turned upside down.
An instant electricity ignites between them, and it seems like fate when she discovers he’s also Iranian. 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?

My Take:

Forbidden by Faith is a New Adult coming of age story with several twists, giving us a modern Romeo and Juliet tale where religion, culture, and class prejudice act as the hurdles for our lovers to overcome. Told in first person from one perspective throughout, author Negeen Papehn shows us the inner world of first generation Iranian Americans, and the cultural challenges they face as they navigate the divide between different religions and generational preconceptions.

Sara is a Persian Muslim, first generation born in California after her parents emigrated from Iran, now a twenty-four year old graduate student studying to be a pharmacist. She still lives at home, as is the custom until marriage, but when she attends a UCLA party with her best friend, she meets a boy who upends her life plan. Yes, he's also of Iranian descent and studying to be a lawyer - but he's Jewish. And therein lies the rub.

The author gives us frank observations and heartfelt longing that tug relentlessly at both the head and the emotions, so that the reader is torn between wanting the relationship to succeed against all odds and wanting to yell at the protagonist for being so naive. Papehn shows us a relationship that is so perfect, and yet doomed from the very start.Or is it? You'll need to follow the aching twists and turns to see what life has in store for our heroine, and if she finds her happily ever after, despite being forbidden by faith.

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