This story is really about two relationships in the Colonel’s life: with his 19 year old girlfriend Renata, and with his own past.
There are some books that are so good, as soon as you finish reading you’re ready to tell the world exactly what you loved about it; the words have been forming in your mind the whole time.
I Am Forbidden may not be one of those books.
It’s a book that you read obsessively—it takes over your thoughts—and quickly—because you have to know what happens, you have to stay with these characters. Yet when you put it down, you don’t know how to explain the book, much less why you loved it.
In January 1943, two hundred and thirty women of the French Resistance were sent to the death camps by the Nazis who had invaded and occupied their country.
In 1941, Nazi Germany easily defeated France and struck a deal with a well-loved World War I hero, Marshal Philippe Pétain, who would lead the occupied country. In return, the Vichy government would collaborate with the occupiers.
Cecilia Morton—“Chess,” as everyone calls her—is an average, gangly girl growing up in the 1940s Arkansas Delta. When her father died a few years ago, she became heir to his land and the massive holdings of his father as well. But her grandfather is not ready to relinquish control yet, and when he sells off some of Chess’s father’s land to the US government to build a Japanese American detainment camp, he sets in motion events that no one in their small town could have fathomed.
Sally Ketchum has had a hard life. Her father, a dirt-farming alcoholic and religious fanatic, made her childhood living hell. At eighteen, she meets a young, charming man named Tex Jones who frees her from the prison of East Texas, but their incredible bond is broken when he dies in a tragic airplane accident.
Babe, Millie, and Grace have been friends for as long as they can remember. They have their differences—pugnacious Babe grew up in the poor section of town and never met with approval from Grace’s upper-class mother, while sweet Millie dealt with the loss of her parents at a young age. But now, as World War II summons their husbands and boyfriends, the women must come to terms with the reality of an America at war, where romance and joy are replaced with grief and loss and then with strength and wisdom.
Long before Stefan Merrill Block was born, the marriage between his grandparents, Frederick and Katharine Merrill, was pushed to the breaking point. Frederick’s alcohol abuse and infidelity had wounded Katharine for years, but his manic depression took him too far one night. Katharine convinced the police to take him to a renowned mental hospital in Massachusetts instead of placing him under arrest.