Jove, Mar 2002, 5.99, 309 pp.
In 1351 Dunnedin, Scotland, Lady Anice MacNab, after a long wait for the return of her betrothed from his exile in England, marries Alesandra “Sandy” McKendimen. On their wedding night her dream turns into a nightmare when her spouse badly beats her. Fearing retaliation from her father and his clan, and appalled by his son's dastardly deed, Laird Straun McKendimen beats his son, disinherits him, and sends him to live with his English friends.
Straun chooses his illegitimate son Robert Mathieson as the new heir in spite of their spat eight years ago over the sire not acknowledging the lad as his. A reluctant Robert returns to Dunnedin only to find most of the keep opposes him as the heir. Worse yet, he finds himself attracted to Anice, who avoids him like the plague until she accepts him as her friend. However, to Robert that is not enough, as he loves the keep's lady even if she is married to and carrying the child of his half-brother.
Though not for everyone due to the thick Scottish brogue, historical romance fans will fully enjoy ONCE FORBIDDEN. The lead couple is a delightful pair as both warily step towards one another, but the barriers of the past keeps them tentatively walking quite slowly. Though Sandy is depicted as a totally evil wastrel (as are most of the English), the secondary characters especially the occupants of Dunnedin provide insight to the two stars. Scottish historical romance readers wanting a strong tale with authentic sounding dialogue will enjoy Terri Brisbin's powerful relationship drama.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner