Reader Reviews


5.0 out of 5 stars
Wonderful Story with a Powerful Message

Forbidden Love is a story about love, courage, commitment and personal revelation. Woven in the landscape of 1950’s in America, the love between a black priest and white nun endured and blossomed against all odds and birthed a child, Joe Steele, whose life is an amazing story itself. The storytelling winds through time periods with ease and pulled me in so that I read it in 2 days. I highly recommend this book, both for it’s captivating story and the important issues it brings to light. It would make a fantastic film as well. I hope that comes to fruition. In this current time of turbulent division, this story inspires through the power of love.


5.0 out of 5 stars
Beautifully written

A riveting and intriguing story that engages the reader from beginning to end. I was brought to tears several times reading this story. It draws you deep into the lives of these two people and the obstacles they faced. I would love to experience it all over again on the big screen.


Ann Shea
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fascinating true love story

This was a fascinating story. I encourage all to read it. One of my favorite books of all time.


carson phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars
Riveting: A love story that transcends race, family, and societal expectations.

I absolutely loved the book from the beginning to the end. There was not a dull moment. I couldn’t put it down. It was a love story starting with a black boy born to a white mother in the early 20th century, who refused to give up her child, and raised him with her white husband and children. This little boy grew to become a priest who studied at the Vatican and then became head priest at a parrish in upstate New York, where he falls in love with a white nun. Out of their love is born a child, Joe Steele, the narrator of this riveting story. This book is a movie in the making, a mesmerizing account of how love will find a way through seemingly insurmountable odds.


5.0 out of 5 stars
Riviting story! Romantic!

I enjoyed reading how the love story developed, and the social context of the story. I thought the author did an excellent job of retelling the story. I think it would make an excellent movie!


Inveterate Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars
Gripping Memoir

This ‘can’t put it down’ memoir is a compelling read that I highly recommend. It’s a true story of a black priest and white nun who fall in love in 1950’s USA. If that is not sufficient, their story is told through their son as he learns it from his birth mother. The complexity of the lives of these lovers as they encounter the society, the race and religious overtones is heart-warming. The story weaves back and forth as it is told from the perspective of the priest, nun and their son and is adeptly done so that you never feel lost with the transitions. Their son Joe, a graduate of Harvard Business School includes the moments that he feels his fathers presence in a very physical way. I can’t remember the last time I read until after 3a. This was worth it!!


5.0 out of 5 stars
A Delicious Love Story Delicately Written

I devoured all 230 pages of this delicious yet delicately well written historical love story in just 3 days. The characters Father William Grau and Sister Sophie and the perseverance of their devotion toward God as well as one another both captivated and expanded my heart and mind.


5.0 out of 5 stars

An unbelievable family drama with numerous twists & detours that serve to enhance the readers experience. The passion of true lovers jumps off the page and allows one to identify with the pittfalls & triumphs of a challenged love affair. It should be a movie. Lisa Jones-Gentry did one outstanding job to flesh out this enthralling story.


Sheila Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars

Steele’s adoption story about being the son of a Black Catholic Priest and White Nun as beautifully written by Lisa Jones Gentry is a must summer read.


5.0 out of 5 stars
A Love That Could Not Be

This is an amazing story of a love ahead of its’ time….a love that could not be. This true story is a poignant journey of the son of a white nun and black priest raised by adoptive parents during the 1960s. It is a must read. You will laugh. You will cry. You will love this book!


Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars
This Story is Ready for Hollywood!

A great book and a touching story. I lost sleep because I couldn’t stop reading. I found the storytelling very intriguing and enjoyed the people I met along the way. While the love between Sister Sophie and Father Grau is the centerpiece, there are serious love relationships throughout the book, especially that of Joe and his adoptive family. This story of race, religion, adoption and sexual orientation is ready for Hollywood.


Beverly Ann Hadley
5.0 out of 5 stars
Amazing story!

Unbelievable but true story! The themes of the Catholic Church and race are so relevant today. This book was so difficult to put down because you wanted to know how the story ends.

S.R. Watson


5.0 out of 5 stars
Compelling Story!

This thought-provoking true life story is brilliantly constructed.
A must read!!


G. T.
5.0 out of 5 stars
A very satisfying read!

What a wonderful story! Yes, it speaks to racism, colorism, and a few other “isms” if you want a deep literary experience. I wanted an escape to take me away from my own daily drum. Setting aside the fact that this is based on a true story filled with hard realities, the words and images took me on a journey that left my heart lifted. Thanks for sharing your story! I’m sure we all can find a piece of ourselves in these pages.


Sharon Webb
5.0 out of 5 stars

This book was both highly entertaining and informing. As a white reader, it gave me insight into a complicated world of the racism that so many people, including children, have faced. The book was written in an extremely engaging manner and I found the book to be a real page turner as the fascinating story of Joe Steele and his interesting family members unfolded. Highly recommended!


Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars

Loved the book! Loved how the author shared Joe’s many personal identities – adoptee, racial, gay, religious, global, socio-economic, Harvard, etc. in such a vivid, yet nuanced, manner. I see a mini-series on the horizon.


Seneica Sykes
5.0 out of 5 stars
Easy to read….Great love story!

Great book and story. I enjoyed reading each chapter and couldn’t put it down. It has to be a movie and Reese Witherspoon should play Sophia. Beautiful love story. It’s a must read!


Kevin A Wooldridge
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great Read!

I enjoyed the book! A interesting and well-told unexpected story. A great choice for my book club.