The Civil War-era romance Forbidden Embrace by Cassie Edwards is a horrendous read where all the characters are unlikable and behave weakly or selfishly.
Illustrator: Ray Kursar
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Civil War Romance
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon
TOTAL SPOILER ALERT ⚠
This review is of Forbidden Embrace by Cassie Edwards, a Zebra historical romance from 1982.
The Yankee Nurse and the Rebel Soldier
Forbidden Embrace begins in Mattoon, Illinois, in 1864. Serena Calvert, 18, the heroine of the book, lives with her father, Hiram, a doctor, and her younger sister, Priscilla, 16. Hiram’s wife and the girls’ mother, Julita Kate, passed away recently.
The Civil War has been raging for years. Serena works as a nurse, helping her father tend to soldiers, both Union and Confederate, who come to their home, which doubles as a hospital.
Hiram has been trying to push Serena to marry Edward Carlson, whom she does not love. And she loves even less than not after he rapes her!
One day, while performing her nursing duties, Serena meets Wesley Wyndham, 25. He is the hero of the book and a Confederate Colonel who has been wounded. They are immediately attracted to each other and soon become lovers. Upon finding out that she isn’t a virgin, Wesley shuns Serena.
However, this shunning doesn’t last long.
After an argument with Hiram, Serena decides to leave home to be with Wesley, who has been arrested. Serena breaks him out of jail, and together, they head to his home in South Carolina.
Adventures Together Down South
While on the trip and even after arriving in South Carolina, the couple experiences difficulties. Serena is raped again and nearly raped after that, both times by deserting Union soldiers. The men are all killed.
Wesley, meanwhile, reignites his affair with his former mistress, a Kiawah Indian woman, Halona. This will have deadly consequences.
Serena meets Wesley’s surviving family. His sister, Dorlisa May, treats Serena welcomely. His mother, Lona Gale, and his brother, Truman Firman…not so much.
Later, Serena’s rapist, Edward, and sister, Priscilla, arrive in South Carolina. The two are now married to each other. Edward still desires Serena and tries to rape her again. And shockingly, it is revealed that Wesley had sex with Priscilla.
But in the end, Serena forgives Wesley for his indiscretions. They become parents to a son and have their Happily Ever After.
I finished Forbidden Embrace. That’s all I’ve got.
I didn’t find either Serena or Wesley to be likable characters. After Edward rapes Serena, what does she do? Report him to the authorities? To her father? No!
She pushes Priscilla–her own sister–to begin a relationship with him in order to save herself!
Wesley is no better. He is a horndog, a bigot, a liar, and a hypocrite. And those are his good points!
There are multiple rapes of Serena and a lot of cheating on Wesley’s part. Nevertheless, the sex scenes are fairly mild, which is quite different from most of Mrs. Edwards’ books.
In addition to the violence stated above, there is one death. Wesley kills a Kiawah Indian who tried to murder him. The violence is not graphic.
Bottom Line on Forbidden Embrace
Forbidden Embrace by Cassie Edwards is total garbage.
COVER POINTS DO NOT COUNT TOWARD THE FINAL RATING.
|Rating Report Card|
Tempestuous, alluring Serena Calvert knew it was wrong to be so attracted to Wesley. He was a Confederate soldier and she was a Yankee nurse. But when the young beauty stared into Wesley’s dark, fathomless eyes and felt the searing need of his hard, muscular body, nothing but wild, reckless love could quench the fire that raged in her heart.
ECSTASY’S SLAVEForbidden Embrace by Cassie Edwards
As the Civil War exploded on the snowswept battlefields, the beloved enemies found enchantment in their secret caresses. Yet even as he whispered his rapture and burned with desire, Wesley knew he could give his temptress only his love but never his name. Today he would savor Serena’s sweetness, for tomorrow he had to be gone with only the memory of their FORBIDDEN EMBRACE.