“Isabel Cruz was fifteen years old when she met Tom Stevens. She was 15 when they started dating, and 16 when she lost her virginity to him. By the time she turned 18 and went to college, everything had fallen apart. This hadn’t been an ordinary love, though. Not a love between two dear friends, or even high school sweethearts. This had been the most taboo sort of love there was: a relationship between a student and her teacher. Isabel started her high school career as a normal student, but set her sights on Tom Stevens as soon as she met him, and pursued him with an intense – and sometimes reckless – fascination. When he finally approached her after swim practice and told her that he shared her feelings, it was the start of a forbidden and dangerous relationship.”
Nowadays, it’s really hard to ignore the new wave that’s dominating the book charts – the Fifty Shades genre and its ilk. Now while this infamous series holds no interest for me – it’s just not my cup of tea – when I received the press release for Sweetest Taboo, it sounded like the sort of book I’d loved as a young adult. So I decided to give it a try and see how today’s counterpart would measure up to that of nearly 10 years ago.
I was actually drawn in to the story pretty quickly and was pleasantly surprised that the book – which is self-published – was so a) well presented, b) well edited and c) well, good. Sweetest Taboo is the tale of Isobel and her teacher Tom, who fall in love with each other – despite the trouble they could face, or the fact that Tom has both a wife and two children.
As Isobel and Tom’s relationship matures, outside factors get in the way of their love for each other – Tom’s family, Isobel’s life away from Tom and her family’s move back to their home country – and the pair are finally pulled apart. The boat is rocked further when allegations are made against Tom concerning their illicit relationship and the police become involved.
But, despite Isabel’s best intentions to stay away, she can’t overcome her feelings for Tom. Will they finally be able to be together – or will real life continue to get in the way? Sweetest Taboo is a compelling, competent tale of forbidden love. I look forward to reading the sequel.
A version of this review will appear in The Self Publishing Magazine.