In keeping with our “Month of Romance” theme for February, this week’s reading was Forgiven by Rebecca Brooke.
This book is an Indie contemporary romance – the first Indie book of our book challenge.
Forgiven introduces us to an unlikely romance between two hurting and healing college students. Angie is a beautiful girl who doesn’t know her self worth, recovering from an emotionally abusive childhood. Caleb is a mysterious, handsome student with a shady past, who keeps people at an arm’s distance, and believes he will never find love. The two are forced together for a school project, but can they break down the others’ defenses enough to act on their immediate attraction? Can they ever learn to forgive their pasts enough to fall in love?
This book had a lot of really great attributes. Brooke does a fabulous job characterizing every player in the book’s plot. The characters are so well defined that a reader feels as if they are real people, rather than words on the page. Even secondary characters are backed up with enough “life” that they are realistic and lovable (or loathe-able). While the plot is a little basic (virginal girl + mysterious boy = true love that overcomes all obstacles), I found myself – when not reading – wondering what Angie and Caleb would come up against next. The action is constant, leaving little time for emotionally recovery, but the action is so very intriguing that I found it easy to forgive the hurried feeling the plot left me with. You spend most of the book wondering what traumatic event has left Caleb so closed off to love, or what horrible thing will happen to Angie next.
Brooke has a marvelous voice. Her writing style is engaging enough to keep you interested, yet simple enough to help the pages turn quickly. There are a few “over-the-top” plot points that left me rolling my eyes, but on the whole, the novel was inviting. Romance fans everywhere need to discover Brooke, and will absolutely rejoice in her well-developed romance. Caleb is a great leading man, and a refreshing option for younger audiences when compared with the lackluster man/boys of many options for younger adult audience. The college atmosphere is attractive for a romance, and can appeal to anyone in college or who has ever been to college. This is a great romance option for those too grown up for Young Adult romances, yet contemporary enough to want a youthful cast of characters.
Overall, I enjoyed Brooke’s novel. I read it in two days (mainly because I couldn’t keep my eyes open after reading until 2 a.m.), and would happily pick up another of Brooke’s novels. While I’m not usually a “romance novel” fan, I found enough in Brooke’s plot and characters to give this book a solid 3 out of 5, and would without fear recommend Forgiven to all romance fans!
What about you? Have you read Forgiven? Have you read any of Brooke’s novels? Are you a fan of contemporary or Indie romances? Leave your thoughts below!