Book Review: I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits & Giveaway

May 11th, 2012

I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits is quite the book. To be honest I’m almost at a loss as to what to say about as I was quite overwhelmed by the story. I Am Forbidden takes you deep into the life of a family living in a Hasidic community. I have read novels about Jewish families before but as I’ve learned there are different sects within most religions and the Hasidic Jews seem to be very strict in their beliefs, traditions, customs, and most importantly rules. I found it fascinating to read of lives so very different than mine.

The novel begins around 1947 and the last entry is 2012 and spans the lives of Mila, Josef, and Atara. There are many other characters but I felt that these three were really who the story was built around. In the beginning Josef, a young boy, who having lost his own parents to violence witnesses the same happen to Mila. He grabs her and keeps her safe and helps her to get to the Stern family where her father had told her to go. The Sterns willingly take her in and love her like one of their own. Later Josef is also taken in by the Stern family and eventually is sent away to study with the rabbi in New York.

Atara and Mila are very close in age and bond from the beginning when Mila refuses to talk to anyone but Atara. They feel they are not only best friends, but sisters for life. There is only one problem and that is that Atara is rebelling against the strict life and rules that her family lives by. When the girls are sent to a seminary to study before marriage Atara discovers more and more information that leads her to believe that the life her family wants for her isn’t the one she wants to live. She wants to go on to university and maybe into medicine. Mila, on the other hand, has no aspirations other than to marry and have children and bring them up in the same Jewish faith that she has lived in.

When Josef eventually asks to marry Mila she is overjoyed. The two have shared a special bond since they were young and he saved her from being killed. They marry and all is well but over time things start to fall apart and ultimately Mila makes a decision that sets in motion a horrible chain of events that will affect their lives and their children’s lives in the future. With Mila’s marriage, Atara’s mother focuses on getting Atara married but this just isn’t anything she wants for herself so she flees. Is it ultimately the right choice for her? Is it worth giving up your family completely, as well as the one person who was your best friend and sister?

This novel really is more deep than I can possibly put in words. There are some parts that the average reader might find harder to get through but the bulk of the novel is mesmerizing. I think for those, like me, who love to read about other cultures or religious communities; they will really like this novel. For me I was most interested in learning the way that this particular community lived. I Am Forbidden is the perfect title for this novel as so much is forbidden in the lives of the people living within this religious sect. Women especially seem to really not be treated as much other than baby makers and home makers. Now that’s not to say that all families are the same but this one seemed to be. I know without a doubt I could not live in a strict life with all the rules that they had to abide by.

This isn’t a novel that you can expect to be an easy read because it isn’t. It requires your full attention as it is quite involved. I Am Forbidden will take the reader into another life where you will see what it’s like to belong to a certain religion. It encompasses the importance of family, love, tragedy, and the dangers of secrets and lies and simply taking things to far out of desperation to make things right, not realizing that more than anything they are being torn apart instead. A novel well worth reading!

I read I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits for her book tour with TLC Book Tours so be sure to check out all the other tour stops to see what they are saying about the book.  You can find Anouk Markovits on her website and you can purchase your own copy of I Am Forbidden here in the US or here in Canada.



I have one copy of I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits to share with my readers.  To enter…

  • For 1 entry leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
  • For 2 entries, follow my blog.  If you already do, thank you, and please let me know so I can pass the extra entry on to you as well.
  • For 3 entries, blog or tweet this giveaway and spread the word.

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on Saturday, June 2/12.  Good luck!

Source:  Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours and Hogarth.  No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

75 Comments to “Book Review: I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits & Giveaway”

  1. Marie says:

    Very nice review, Darlene. I love learning about different cultures and religions, but haven’t read anything about the Hasidic Jews. The book sounds fascinating.

  2. Anne says:

    What a wonderful review. This captivating book would be special and a treasure. I would enjoy it greatly. I am an e-mail subscriber.

  3. debbie says:

    I have actually heard those same things said about it. I think your review was spot on, and it sounds like this book is a pretty accurate protrayal of them.

    I am a gfc follower

  4. Ellie says:

    Thanks for this fabulous book review and giveaway. Being Jewish this book appeals to me very much and it sounds memorable. I subscribe via e-mail.

  5. Well, I had an opportunity to review this and turned it down but then everyone is loving it, so I guess I have to enter! :–) Great review!

    nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

  6. I follow via RSS

    nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

  7. Rachel W. says:

    This so sounds so interesting! Thanks for the giveaway!

    (I’m a follower!)

  8. Bookworm says:

    This sounds great Dar. I like that it takes you deep into this communities life and their religion.

  9. RJB says:

    Great review…..
    Make me want to read it!

  10. zibilee says:

    I am reading this one soon, and will be prepared for an intense and concentrated book. I didn’t read the entire review for fear of spoilers, but when I am done, I would love to talk this one over with you!

  11. Colleen Turner says:

    This one sounds just wonderful! I love an emotional, deep read that consumes my attention! Thanks for the giveaway.

  12. Colleen Turner says:

    I am a GFC follower (Colleen Turner) and email subscriber.

  13. Denise says:

    I am Forbidden sounds like a fabulous book, and after that glowing review I’m very anxious to read it.

    I subscribe via email

  14. Karen B says:

    Wow – you really put your heart into this review! It sounds absolutely fascinating.

  15. Karen B says:

    Email subscriber.

  16. Margie says:

    I enjoy reading about other cultures and beliefs, so I think I might enjoy this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  17. Margie says:

    I follow
    -Networked Blogs

  18. wendy hoffman says:

    Love the review, sounds like a good read! I follow via GFC and email also tweeted. Thanks for another great giveaway!
    wendynjason04@gmail dot com

  19. Carl says:

    Those new Hogarth books are so cool. This one sounds especially good. Please enter my name for the chance to win a copy.

  20. Carl says:

    I do follow this blog by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  21. Serena says:

    Somehow I am not on the tour for this one, and it is totally up my alley. Thanks for the giveaway. Loved your review of this complex novel.

  22. Anna says:

    My tour date is coming up, so I will be starting this book as soon as I post this comment! I’m glad to see you like the book and found it too deep to capture in words (though I think you did a great job!).

  23. The cover made me think this book would be creepy, but it doesn’t really sound that way. I’d love to be entered in your giveaway.

  24. I subscribe in Google Reader.

  25. Margaret says:

    Very intriguing!
    -blog follower


  26. Jenners says:

    I read another review of this one that just raved about it. I think it is a must read. Please enter me in the giveaway!

  27. Margaret says:

    Looks like a very interesting book. Thanks for the giveaway.

    I am already a follower.

  28. Diane B. says:

    I read a couple other reviews on this and they were about the same as yours. I guess I’ll give it a try because I’m very interested in their lifesyle. I used to care for a very elderly Jewish couple who were wonderful people so this should be a good one for me. Thanks for the chance to win it.
    I’m a follower & I tweeted.!/Dyniy/status/201216503545217026

  29. blodeuedd says:

    It certainly does not sound like an easy read. but then books like this one never is

  30. Staci@LifeintheThumb says:

    I watched Oprah’s interview inside a Hasidic family and was riveted by their story. I just put another book about this religion (a memoir) on hold to read later this summer. This intrigues me because I’m a lot like you, wanting to learn more about other people!!

    I follow and all that other stuff! 😀

  31. Mary Ann Woods says:

    It is always so interesting to find out about groups, religious and otherwise, that seem to be closed to the outside. By learning some more about them I think we become more tolerant. I follow you via email, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Networked Blogs, and GFC. Thanks for all your good reviews!

  32. Susan says:

    I read this novel a few months ago. I too enjoyed it very much. I have read novels about other Jewish sects, usually Chabad or modern orthodox.
    This novel is very different because it deals with the Satmars. A very tight strict Jewish community. There are different Jewish communities that are less strict. I am Jewish, so I could relate to this novel. Thank you so much for your review. You can see my review at my book blog.

  33. amandasue says:

    Thanks for the chance into this giveaway!

  34. amandasue says:

    I’m a follower thanks.

  35. Amy says:

    This book sounds powerful and riveting. I don’t know a lot about the Hasidic community, aside from the strict rules and guidelines they have about how to live your life. I would love to learn a little more reading this book.
    This is a wonderful, thoughtful,review, Dar, that piqued my curiosity in this book.

    I’m a GFC follower of your blog and I subscribe via email too!


  36. Lisa Garrett says:

    I would love to read about this religion and culture.

  37. Lisa Garrett says:

    I follow via gfc and email and networked blogs.

  38. […] BellezzaWednesday, May 9th:  nomadreaderThursday, May 10th:  Life in ReviewFriday, May 11th:  Peeking Between the PagesMonday, May 14th:  Diary of an EccentricTuesday, May 15th:  The Literate Housewife […]

  39. I’ve been wanting to read this one but it sounds like I’ll need to set aside a few days of uninterrupted time so I can take it all in, since it is such a powerful read.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  40. bn100 says:

    Sounds very intriguing.

  41. bn100 says:

    I follow the blog.

  42. This one sounds really good…and an emotional read! Thanks for the review…and the give-away!
    GFC follower

  43. Tiffany Drew says:

    I knew as soon as I read the synopsis for this that it was the book for me. I think the best books are the ones that leave you thinking about them for weeks after you’re done reading. Thank you for the opportunity to read it.


  44. Tiffany Drew says:

    GFC follower Tiffany Drew


  45. Allison B. says:

    Thanks for this giveaway

  46. Allison B. says:

    Blog follower

  47. I’ve never heard of that particular sect of Jewish faith. I love reading about other cultures and religions but it might just be too tough for me.

  48. Patricia says:

    I am fascinated by the premise of this book.

    patricia dot mariani dot esq at gmail dot com

  49. Patricia says:

    I follow via GFC

    patricia dot mariani dot esq at gmail dot com

  50. Patricia says:


    patricia dot mariani dot esq at gmail dot com

  51. mamabunny13 says:

    This sounds interesting. Thanks for your review.
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  52. mamabunny13 says:

    I follow via gfc – mamabunny13
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  53. Renee says:

    wow, sounds terrific

  54. Renee says:

    follow on GFC

  55. nfmgirl says:

    I think this book looks fascinating! Please count me in. Thank you!

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  56. nfmgirl says:

    I follow on GFC

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  57. Gale Nelson says:

    would love to read this. Thanks Gale

  58. Gale Nelson says:

    GFC Gale Nelson
    email subscriber

  59. Maureen says:

    It looks like a good story.
    I follow on GFC

  60. Suz Reads says:

    Thanks for this amazing giveaway! This book looks great and I would love to win it!
    – I follow on GFC as Suz
    – tweet:

    susanw28 (at) mindspring (dot) com

  61. pamela james says:

    This sounds very interesting.
    pjames330 at aol dot com

  62. pamela james says:

    pjames330 at aol dot com

  63. Nancye Davis says:

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  64. Nancye Davis says:

    GFC Follower

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  65. Nancye Davis says:

    GFC Follower

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  66. Nancye Davis says:

    I Tweeted!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  67. Nancye Davis says:

    I Tweeted!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  68. Nancye Davis says:

    I Tweeted!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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