"Heartwarming story of love between classes!"
Our story takes place in Pittsburgh and begins in the year
1891. Our hero, Owen Cardiff, is a boss melter in the
Homestead Steel Works. He has no intentions of staying in
the steel mill forever. For years, he's been planning on
going to college and becoming an engineer. It will be some
time yet before he can make his dream a reality, the nest
egg just isn't big enough yet. Of course, the fact the
Union is planning on striking if their terms aren't met
won't help his plans any. He might even be forced into
using some of his savings just to survive.
Meanwhile, our heroine, Lisa Bradley, is sitting at the
bedside of her expiring father. His last instructions to
her are to take over the family finances, since he knows
his wife won't be able to handle it. The woman has a bit of
a habit of overspending. Once her father passes, Lisa
realizes just how bad their finances really are. When she
tries to talk to her mother about her spending, the woman
just tells her to get married and find a husband to take
care of them both. Then she won't have to worry about
finances anymore. So Lisa reluctantly agrees to marry her
only suitor, William, aware they aren't in love, but hoping
it will grow between them.
Once Lisa marries William, she begins to realize just how
big of a mistake she made. The man won't even consummate
their marriage! How will she have any children without the
marriage being consummated? All William wanted was a
hostess and a partner for entertaining potential clients.
While Lisa is at her book reading club meeting, a man comes
in late and disrupts the meeting. The man is very handsome
and Lisa is attracted to him. But then again, the man is
from Homestead and works in a steel mill. Owen always walks
Lisa home after the meetings and they begin to realize they
are meant for each other.
What of Lisa's unhappy marriage? Will she ever be able to
be with the man she loves? There's also the complication of
Lisa being among the upper class and Owen in the middle
class. Will he be able to support her in the style to which
she is accustomed? Will all her friends ostracize her? What
of Owen? What will happen to him if the Union strikes?
FORBIDDEN LOVE is a wonderful love story of exactly that.
Shirley Martin has done a wonderful job of bringing the
time period to life, including the wretched conditions of
the immigrants and mill workers. Then there's also the
division among the different classes and just how complete
it is. While Lisa spends her days doing charitable works,
Owen spends his working at the mill. Throughout this entire
story, we are kept wondering if the two of them will ever
be able to be together as one obstacle after another keeps
getting in their way. And even though they are given the
opportunity, Lisa never becomes Owen's mistress. This is
truly a very touching story and I highly recommend it!
Reviewed by Chere Gruver
Posted November 19, 2006