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Monday, July 23, 2012

Plain Fear: Forbidden by Leanna Ellis

Plain Fear: Forbidden by Leanna Ellis
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (421)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint

Rachel Schmidt Nussbaum, a young widow, is now seven and a half months pregnant with her first child. She blames herself for her husband Josef's death and she believes that she is being punished by God for her past sins.

So when a stranger arrives claiming to be an old friend from her wilder years, saying only she can fix things for him, for Josef, and for herself, she makes an impulsive decision to follow him. Thus begins a journey that will lead Rachel to the depths of ultimate danger, the potential for new love, and a battle that will decide both the fate of her soul and the life of her unborn child.

This story can inspire those for various cultures, ages, and backgrounds with its gripping plot lines and unique characters.

Rachel is a character that I sympathized with immediately. As a widow with child, I could not help but feel a pang of empathy for this soon-to-be mother. While she may seem like a quiet, young Amish woman on the outside, inside she has the heart of a lioness. She willingly sacrifices herself not only for those she cares about, but also for the beliefs that she has been taught since she was an infant. Even if God may have turned His back on her because of Rachel’s misdeeds in the past, she will do whatever it takes to maintain her moral standards and compassion for those around her. This really makes Rachel a remarkable heroine and one of the reasons this story kept me entertained.

Roc’s character was very intriguing because I never knew which end of the moral pendulum he would swing to next. As a vampire hunter, he had to make some tough decision that could get not only him but others killed. It also made him keep even his closest of friends at a distance since he knew he may have to be their judge, jury, and executioner in the future. This created a gruff man who can be difficult to care for. It also created a character that I wanted to continuously learn about. I could read a book based on his life experience alone because I know it would be full of excitement, heartbreak, and love. Yes, even the man who seems to care for little shows compassion and love, which furthered my infatuation with him.

The characters and plot lines of this story are extremely dynamic - so much so that in the beginning they seemed a bit overwhelming. Rachel and Roc’s past played a large role in their story and I sometimes felt like I was missing a few pieces to the puzzle. In the end, I was able to understand the whole story of both their individual pasts as well as the future they both hope to achieve.

The conflict within this story keeps the plot moving forward at a consistent pace. During a large section of the storyline the conflict supersedes the romantic development, but it also helps in bringing the main characters together. The author even allowed me to feel bad for Jacob a/k/a Akiva at times, which really demonstrated the author's ability to create penetrating characters.

Ms. Ellis really gave me a glimpse into what might be the secret life of the Amish. I lived in a predominately-Amish area at one point in my childhood so this aspect is what initially drew me to the storyline. I was happy to see that the author keeps the Amish lifestyle as authentic as possible. It helped to make this book truly entertaining. There is nothing run-of-the-mill about this paranormal romance story and I am sure that anyone can find something about it they truly love.