The Flame Must Burn Featured
Book Review, Characters of Color, College, Coming of Age, Contemporary, New Adult, Novella, Romance, Series

The Flame Must Burn (Forbidden #1) by Beena Khan


Love is dangerous.
It collides with culture and is defied with rebellion.

She promised herself to me.
Ryder is the small town’s local college boy. It’s summertime, and he’s at the beach when he sees a young, college girl. Their eyes lock together. Intrigued by her, he wants to approach her but she quickly disappears. Disappointed he returns home, but he sees her the next day in his summer class.

Good girls don’t fall in love. They only obey. I’m a caged bird.
From a traditional Middle Eastern family, Cyrah is a young foreign-exchange student at a study abroad summer program in the small-town. Intimidated by her beauty, Ryder begins writing love letters to her. She is flattered but tries to steer clear from him, but then an incident happens that draws these two star-crossed lovers together. Slowly, she reciprocates the same feelings, but summer doesn’t last forever though, and Cyrah has to leave.


This is a story about first love. Burning love. True love.

Don’t do anything to shame us. Good girls don’t smile at guys.

Cyrah is so much stronger than she thinks. Although she lives by her families beliefs and traditions, she insisted on taking a summer course in a different country where her promises to her father are challenged every day.  When she meets the sweet and gentle, Ryder, her defenses are gradually worn down. He gives her confidence, he respects her as a woman, and he loves her.  Love is an unimportant word in her country. Duty is important. So she must go home when the summer is over. It is her promise and her duty to her father. It is a deal that Ryder means to break.

Ryder is an honorable young man who only wants to love and protect Cyrah forever. It will be next to impossible to convince their families that they truly love each other. His mission is destined to fail, but their love is unbreakable. What does life hold for these two determined young adults?

Cyrah and Ryder’s love is poetic and moving.  The letters they initially write each other are beautiful and filled with hope and promise so from the start, I strongly wished everything would work out for them. 

Overall, I adored Cyrah and Ryder’s beautiful love story. Ms. Khan’s writing is lovely as always. Her characters are so vibrant and unique and her references to several notable books continue in this defining novella. 

This book is a prequel to The Name of Red which I highly recommend, as well as The Weight on Skin which continues this wonderful series.

Thank you to Ms. Khan once again for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


The Flame Must Burn

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Beena KhanBeena Khan lives in a suburb in Queens, New York in her apartment. She is 27 years old from Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. She is an immigrant who moved to New York when she was five years old. She currently holds a Masters Degree in Developmental Psychology from Cuny School of Professional Sciences. She enjoys reading, writing, and netflixing. This is her debut novel.

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