Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
In a word, Ava Ryan’s newest book, the second book of her Manhattan Billionaires series, His Forbidden Love, is long-suffering. Now, it would be simple to qualify this book with that word, but it would not do it justice. While her hero, Michael, and her heroine, Ally, are the epitome of slow-burn, their journey is one that I wish couples in real-life considered. The story begins with Michael, having returned to New York, going to a party where he hopes to run into Ally, a former intern under his instruction to who he had felt an attraction. Unfortunately, at the time, Michael was married, albeit it was an unhappy marriage. Four years later, he’s divorced and ready to investigate his attraction to and feelings for Ally, only to be met with her boyfriend, Bruce. It is here where he can choose to leave her alone and let her live her life, but there is something about her that he cannot let go of. Instead, he offers to hire her into his new practice for her fellowship. Faced with Michael, Ally begins to question her relationship with Bruce. She is once again drawn to Michael, and she, along with Michael, fights their feelings for each other. Until they simply cannot.
I think the reason I love Ryan’s His Forbidden Love is she makes Michael and Ally wait for each other. Michael does not cheat, and he does not readily leave his wife even though he knows there is something possibly more with Ally. Instead, he is fairly cruel to Ally denying any feeling, wanting to put all of his effort into his marriage. Similarly, even though Ally is drawn to Michael when she sees him again in New York, she too does not readily leave her boyfriend. Instead, Ryan crafts her to work through her relationship until she can no longer deny her feelings. It is then when Ally must make a decision. She never acts upon her feelings until she is free. It’s this aspect of the story that holds integrity that we don’t find much anymore in our own society. Michael and Ally are a slow-burn, waiting for the moment when they are ready for each other.
And, oftentimes, as is the case with a slow-burn romance, you find yourself frustrated with the “almost” of a relationship. His Forbidden Love doesn’t build that level of frustration. Ava Ryan has created a pace that feels reasonable for Michael and Ally.
Unlike some of her other heroes, Michael is seemingly closed off while also open. He has a level of integrity that makes you appreciate him as a character. The character you commiserate over is Ally. While Michael can be open, he is known as the Sphinx, in that he can close off his feelings. Ally becomes the recipient of his unkindness and your heart breaks for her quite a bit in this story.
This is fine, though, because the latter part of Ava Ryan’s story wastes no time in bringing Michael and Ally their happy ending. His Forbidden Love is currently my favorite story of Ava Ryan’s Manhattan Billionaire series. What’s not to love about some unrequited love and an eventual swoony ending.
In love and romance,