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The Forbidden: Three Novels of French Love (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 5. Dezember 2007

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HASH(0x90da6e58) von 5 Sternen The Forbidden 26. Januar 2008
Von amanda, - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
As a reader who has closely followed this author's writing progress with interest over the last 2 years, I'm delighted to have read four of his five previously published novellas and witnessed his literary growth. I wish him great success and hope the information below proves beneficial to the reading public.

David Rehak has always been adept at choosing catchy titles and covers, so this one will most likely work for this book. I, personally, feel that it's perfect for the subject matter. This title intrigued me, and I don't intrigue too easily. The question posed about the first novella grabbed me, making me wonder if the couple will stay together. The description of the second story "hooked" me, too... to the point that I just "had" to know who the little peasant girl really loves. The same with the third story; I was eager to know what happens to these fascinating characters. In nine tight, well-written lines of copy (by the width of my page), it managed to arouse my curiosity about all three stories, and as a huge fan of this writer already, it made this a must read for me.

I think this book would appeal to anyone who likes erotica or just a good story about love and lust, and reading about forbidden topics, but to the general modern reader as well. Since it speaks of lesbianism and other arguably "socially taboo" subjects, there's a vast audience who thrive on the so-called "dark" material. From previous books, David Rehak already has a following of readers who admire his "daring" for writing about "forbidden" subjects. And since his main characters generally battle the forces of good and evil with "good" winning, making for satisfying endings, both sides of his readership are mollified. As for the length of the novellas, they are a little short, but acceptable for the genre. I, personally, as well as many readers, favor books of about 300 pages, but the three novellas together are approximately that length in book form, so don't worry about that.

One of this author's strong points is that he dares to go where other writers fear to go, and that he creates exciting, original plots. These three stories are no exception. In this collection of three novellas, the opening story begins at the turn of the previous century with Theo, a promising poet who is part of a writer`s circle of friends. Theo is a wholesome, conservative and idealistic type who has little in common with his wild, crude, bohemian friends. But one of the members of the group, Marcel, is his best friend. Through Marcel he meets the girl of his dreams, Juliette. She's a very free-spirited and exciting girl who captivates him. He falls in love with her and at first their relationship is wonderful, but in time, Theo learns that Juliette is secretly a prostitute. This revelation devastates Theo, and tests his love for her to the max. He leaves her. But this way things become even worse. Through much soul-searching and a despair that almost leads to death, he eventually realizes that he cannot overcome his love for her and is desperate to forgive her. But will she give up her disreputable profession and be his wife?
The second novella is the story of Isabelle and Jeanne, two schoolgirl best-friends. Isabelle is shy and inhibited while Jeanne is outgoing and audacious... but opposites attract. Jeanne begins to fall in love with her best friend Isabelle, but Isabelle has a boyfriend named Leon, so Jeanne spreads false rumors of his unfaithfulness with prostitutes, hoping to break up the relationship between himself and Isabelle. It works. The two girls find village life tedious and dull, so when Isabelle's parents die, leaving behind an inheritance, Jeanne and Isabelle decide to pack up and head for the exciting "big city" life in Paris. Eventually, and almost by chance, they find themselves among the elites, the creme de la creme, of society. Jeanne is "kept" by a famous authoress, Colette. When Isabelle learns of the sexual nature of this "scandalous" relationship, she becomes upset and leaves her best-friend, trying to find solace in the arms of a lover, a rich gentleman named Maurice. But neither girl can stop thinking about the other, and a longing to be together builds the longer they are apart. On the night that Isabelle is to leave forever with Maurice, she runs to Jeanne in desperation, and the two girls are reunited at last, their time apart making clear the realization of their mutual love.
The third and last novella is the story of two twin sisters, who look the same on the outside, but are of different minds, and one (Marie) grows up to be chaste while the other (Gabrielle) licentious. Their mother dies in childbirth, so their father, unable to bring them up alone, gives them up to a convent. They come of age and escape the strict harsh rigors of the convent, both choosing a completely different path in life. Marie chooses a modest road and decides she'll become a domestic, while Gabrielle has high ambitions and snatches an aristocrat, only to later get bored, rob him, and leave. Marie starts working for a wealthy diplomat and has a wonderful relationship with him. Meanwhile, Gabrielle is herself, in turn, robbed and left penniless. She locates her sister and finds a working position in the household where her sister works. But it isn't long before Gabrielle's aristocrat finds her and she is tried and sentenced to death for the grand theft. The climax of the story comes when it is revealed that the diplomat is the sisters' long-lost father! A race against time insues as he and Isabelle secure a pardon from the King and must reach the gallows before the sentence is carried out, before it's too late.
I think the plot of the first novella is the strongest and most enjoyable of the three.

Compared with most other contemporary historical novels, I find most of the dialogue in Rehak's various novels to be realistic enough for the time period, but I also feel that he often relies on dialogue too much and that in times of heavy action, he shouldn't have his characters talk too much and use sentences too long. Generally, in action scenes, a writer is supposed to use shorter, more clipped sentences to show the characters' emotions and their breathlessness.

The writing exhibits strong grammar, and a nice writing style, with crisp, clear, descriptive phrases and a reasonable vocabulary to keep the reader's interest. However, sometimes Rehak doesn't go enough into detail and description. It feels like an impressionistic painting, a little vague in style and not exactly finished. There are places where Rehak needs to improve. For example, some of the paragraphs are too long, and that's hard on the eyes. But except for so many unnaturally long paragraphs, it was a pleasure reading this book.

Overall, I find that all three stories are intriguing and shocking, but will appeal to the open-minded mainstream reader who seems to be the targeted audience. They are powerful stories, intelligently written, and the resulting book is excellent. However, I like the first and last stories much better than the second one. The author seems to crowd every decadent act conceivable to mankind into the second story, making it appear he is doing it to deliberately shock his readers. I felt he went too far with the "turd" scenario and it degraded the character of Isabelle. She is the one "shining star" in the book; the one his readers need to empathize with, so I wish that had been left out by the editor. The plot is good, but I feel the girls have far too many raucous adventures, thus slowing it down, although it's never boring. But I preferred when it got back to the "love" the girls have for each other. I found I cared what happened to both Isabelle and Jeanne; despite Jeanne having lower morals, she had so many other redeeming qualities I grew to care for her by the end of the book.
I also feel that the first novella is the strongest of the three and would equate it's quality with Rehak's first book, A Young Girl's Crimes. Overall, this is perhaps his best, and certainly his most mature work.

Amanda Drummond
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HASH(0x90dae24c) von 5 Sternen hard to categorize but worth it 25. Juli 2008
Von Polly Saddleton - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
There is a lot of emotion and passion in this book but it is also very sad. I think negative emotion also counts as emotion. I don't think humor was intended except for the sick-funny kind. The second novel especially has some downright scatological scenes which left me reeling. Most of the erotic scenes were very hot, for me. Some were too explicit. Well, or should I say, they certainly opened my eyes. Probably every sexual proclivity is included in this book somewhere. I read out of curiosity as much as anything else. But the sex is secondary because it's much more about plot and what happens next in these characters' relationships and lives. I felt a level of sympathy for most of the characters even with all their flaws. I especially liked Theo in the first novel. I felt really sorry for him. This was a really memorable one for me. Almost as memorable as the sadness I felt after reading Wuthering Heights. The ending in the third novel was too neat. There could be a sequel here. All in all, this trilogy of novels is loosely held together by common themes and subject-matter. It's written in an amazingly brisk and easy readable style. Almost too fast-paced if you can imagine that. Unusual gripping plots. Give it a go if you're a fan of the tragic decadent love story that grabs you by the heart and balls, or should I say your you-know-what. Other books I've read in this genre are more or less similar to each other but this one is quite unique. Not recommended as a light romantic read though.
19 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x90dac7ec) von 5 Sternen Erotica is not pornography 12. März 2008
Von Gwendolyn Chapman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
I instantly became a David Rehak fan after reading his first book. He is a very versatile/eclectic writer. This book is pure erotica - not to be confused with pornography. Erotica describes the portrayal of the human anatomy and sexuality with high-art aspirations, differentiating itself from pornography.

All three of the short stories in this book are erotica at its best with a little perversity thrown in. The stories are a little edgy, and while some may find the content shocking, David stays well within the "erotica" parameters.

The characters David chose for each story all have their own inner struggles. It is a hard choice, but I believe I like the first story, "Even an Angel Can Sin," the best because I think of all the characters in the stories, Theo struggled more and changed the most.

I won't go into detail about the three stories because the other reviewers have already done that. I just want to say this book (and any of David's other books) is definitely worth reading. It doesn't matter if you are a fan of erotica - the stories David weaves and the characters he has invented will mesmerize you.
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HASH(0x90dad114) von 5 Sternen Funny, gross, anachronic, but what a trip in perversity 7. Februar 2008
Von Dr Jacques COULARDEAU - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Three novels, three visions of feminine lesbian or prostituted libertinism. 1- EVEN AN ANGEL CAN SIN. The interest of this novel is in the extreme cruelty of the author who literally crucifies his heroine, his Juliette and her so rich and famous name. She killed and destroyed everything. She could not touch anything but destroy it, him or her. Parentless and a whore since the age of fourteen, she destroyed her friend who had raised her after the death of her own parents, her mother in law, her father in law, her own husband and herself. The author stops short when her daughter has to be saved from this debacle, though her lot is not better by becoming an orphan, even an adopted orphan, because orphans are not exactly happy people in these novels and with this author. In other words the author reconstructs the cruelty of the melodrama of the 19th century that was also systematically showing how women were doomed to their own destruction by their womanly nature in a world they could not - as women - cope with. 2- FROM THE PEASANT LIFE TO PARIS. This second novel is a lot more convincing in style because it seems to be able to describe the psychology of his female characters a lot better, with more sympathy. The first part of the novel is in many ways in the line of grotesque and tall tale literature, in the line of Winesburg Ohio and the Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County., Sherwood Anderson and Mark Twain. The first part is definitely funny and the author manages to turn the naturalistic model and style into a humorous treatment of excessive events and descriptions. Then the two heroines move to Paris and they live in the trendy women's society, liberated women who are in many ways nothing but libertines and easy women who refuse any dependence, particularly towards a man. But the author likes some patterns, shapes or motifs. The triad or trio of characters united or brought together by their initials builds a devilish nine motif in this book. The central group is composed of two brothers and one sister: Jeanne, Jules and Joseph, to which we can attach Jeanne's parents and best friend with letters under J in ascending order: Georges, Henrietta and Isabelle, and a mirror group of three men who are lovers to the two central heroines in ascending order: Kevin, Leon and Maurice. We see at once that we get to a "nine" pattern, three times three, the diabolical figure. This is in phase with the constant and heavily regular religious theme that is mostly seen as negative because the Christian principles have been betrayed by the catholic church. Note finally that the man who will kill the Jewish Sarah Harowitz is called Paul Delorme, PD in short, which is an insult in French (read pédé short for "pédéraste" and close in pronunciation to pede[rast]) and means "fag". 3- SISTERS IN LOVE. The third novel is the one that has the most dynamic tone and style. It is as for the style nearly believable. But it is also kind of fuzzy. It starts with Clotilde d'Arleux and Jacques Savant. Think of that JC that evokes a crucifixion and you can be rest assured the crucifixion will come, I would nearly say over and over again. The girl elopes with her lover who is a commoner and was some kind of hunting warden for her father. A rewriting of D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover. This Clotilde will die in childbirth, giving birth to two twin girls, Gabrielle and Marie. This is a rewriting of the famous novel Les Deux Orphelines, 1877, (the two twins are Henriette and blind Louise) by Adolphe d'Ennery and Eugène Cormon The twins are entrusted to nuns in a convent that will be revealed to be Saint Jude's at the end of the book, a house of perdition. Gabrielle will be initiated to Lesbianism by a sister, Martha. But that J initial is made even more dreadful with the couple, Josephine the daughter and Gerard the father, who are hosted by the nuns for a short while. Josephine, an incestuous girl and her father Gerard, a murderer. Note the pronunciation of Gerard puts this G on the side of J. J becomes thus the symbol of perversion, maybe even evil. Saint Jude's, a direct allusion to Judas, a convent of sin, and a rewriting of Matthew Gregory Lewis's novel the Monk (note he lends his Christian initials to the two twin girls) and Diderot's novel La Religieuse (The Nun), both infamous and famous novels about life in female convents in the 18th century. On the other side you have Gabrielle, the center of lesbianism and all kinds of unhealthy attitudes like prostitution, stealing, polygamy, false impersonation, etc. Finally the last cluster comes with Marie, the moralist. She will get in connection with two other women who save her from the cold: Evelyne, a poor working mother, and Christine, her daughter. We can see the allusion to Marie, the Mother of Christ, Eve, the "mother" of sin and yet the mother of Christine, and Christ in this very Christine, a common association since Mary the mother of Jesus redeemed Eve and her sin by accepting her mission. I will let you discover the very dark ending and all the dues ex machine and anachronic elements. More on my Myspace blog.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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HASH(0x90dad5dc) von 5 Sternen The Forbidden 26. Februar 2009
Von Christy Tillery French - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
The Forbidden contains three erotic novellas centering on interesting, albeit anomalous, topics. In the first story, a conservative poet falls in love with a prostitute and must choose between what he feels in his heart versus his mind. The second centers on two young girlfriends who head to Paris, where circumstances separate them physically but cannot intervene between their mental and emotional connection to one another. The third features two sisters raised in a convent who look alike but choose opposites directions in regards to lifestyle and mindset.

Rehak's writing will hold the reader enthralled as he weaves his magic with words and an easy, flowing narrative that is easy to follow and enjoy. This author is not afraid to step outside the box in regards to plot and characters. His propensity to take the reader in one direction, only to deliver an unexpected twist, is unique and very well done. The erotic scenes are well written and enhance each story, although some readers may be startled by some scenes; for example, the realistic depictions inside a brothel. The characters are nicely developed, and the plots original and fresh. A real treat.
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