Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
‘Some birds cannot be caged, and I’m one of them,’ says the title character in Ameerah by Rebekkah Ford. Ameerah is an eighteen-year-old young woman living in the heyday of Prohibition, living her life by her rules instead of those of her upper class, snobbish parents. Frequenting speakeasies, smoking, drinking and falling in love with her best friend, Betty, Ameerah rejects everything her parents stand for. As retribution for Ameerah jeopardizing their place in high society, Mr. and Mrs. Arrowood place Ameerah in an insane asylum where she is brutally murdered. With so much hate in her heart, Ameerah does not cross over, but is recruited as a dark spirit and, as such, can inhabit the body of soulless humans and live however she chooses. For over 90 years, Ameerah continues her hedonistic lifestyle, but does have a few regrets along the way – the loss of her first love, Betty, and an affair with a human which is strictly forbidden by the dark spirits. Refusing to follow anyone’s rules, Ameerah leaves the league of dark spirits and follows her own path, refusing to be caged for any reason.
Rebekkah Ford recreates the roaring '20s and subsequent time periods so beautifully that you feel as though you are partying alongside Ameerah and her friends. Ameerah is a deeply moving story regarding the power men had over their families and the lengths to which they would go maintain appearances, and how this affected otherwise strong young women. The paranormal aspects of this story are intriguing and certainly unique in many respects, showing a depth of dedication and commitment you would not expect amongst ‘demon’ elements. Ameerah is also an especially powerful social commentary, giving you plenty to consider when thinking about world history, the essence of right and wrong, and the universal battle between good and evil. In later chapters, the focus turns away from Ameerah to the plans of the dark spirits, but the action does reflect back on Ameerah’s behavior and attitudes. Some readers may be put off by graphic sexual scenes (both heterosexual and lesbian) and some extreme violence, but the story is certainly compelling and well worth reading.