Forbidden by Matthew Freake
“The only man I ever loved is dead. This is our story…”
It’s the summer of 1957 and Nathan is ready to get away from home to start working for his future. And what better way than to join the rail yard in Lakefield, Ontario? Hoping for some new experiences and a change of scenery, Nathan gets more than he bargains for. His cabin mate and co-worker, Alex, is helpful in showing Nathan around, but there’s something unique about him that keeps Nathan captivated. Stolen glances and close encounters soon lead to unfamiliar feelings between the two of them. But as they sort out their emotions, Nathan must confront painful scars that resurface from the past. Forbidden is an insightful tale of true love found and of ultimate tragedy. It explores the complexity of life’s obstacles for two young men discovering not only themselves, but each other, in a time where anything out of the ordinary is dangerous.
Author Name: Matthew Freake
Genre(s): LGBT, Gay Fiction, Romance
Tags: #LGBT, #GayFiction, #Romance, #CanadianHistory, #Drama, #Railways, #Tragedy
Length: Approx. 128 pages
ISBN (Print Copy): 978-0-9920490-6-5
ISBN (eBook): 978-0-9920490-7-2
Release Date: May 17, 2015
Nathan and his best friend, James, take jobs at a new rail yard hoping to escape their homes and build their lives the way they want - without the interference of parents. Both acclimate to their surroundings and attempt to make friends with those that share their sleeping quarters. Nathan didn't expect to meet the man of his dreams - the man he didn't even know he was looking for. Alex stirs up emotions that are alien to Nathan but yet, comfortable at the same time. The only problem is that what Alex and Nathan feel for one another is not something that can be shown out in the open. Painful memories from Nathan's childhood threaten to tear them apart, as the relationship between Alex and Nathan intensifies; yet they manage to figure things out.
Just as Nathan and Alex are preparing for a life of forever, everything shatters.
Forbidden by Matthew Freake is a profound telling of true love in the face of adversity. Things were quite different in our world in the 1950's regarding who could love whom in terms of gender and race. Anything out of what the general populace thought was "normal" was despised and considered illegal, and violence was the way of the land - all you have to do is search the internet and you'll find prime examples of the horrific behaviors committed against people who were deemed "different" by others. We've made leaps and bounds in society today but still have a long way to go.
The only real issue I had with Forbidden is that Nathan's feelings were more vibrant than Alex's throughout the entire story. The unequal level almost gave their romance a one-sided feel. Even now, I'm still not sure that Alex loved Nathan as much as Nathan loved him. I truly felt Nathan's love but Alex seemed distant - maybe it's because of the time in history - Alex forced himself to be cool and aloof to avoid "suspicion." This didn't detract from the story, it's just something that I noticed as I was reading along.
Forbidden reads more like a diary than a story. which is a different from anything else I've read. The way that Matthew wrote the story gives it a realistic and believable quality that is so important to me. I felt the uncertainty, the joy, the pain, and ultimately, the devastation.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.