I have expected too much time to read this wonderful book.
I thought I may give myself time to read a military lesbian romance, after having seen too many documentaries or movies like: ”The Investigator” about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) United States policy.
The Department of Defense of the USA directive 1304.26, E1.2.8 (1993-2011) forbid US soldiers from asking about the sexuality of service members or tell others about their own or others.
“Ask, tell” by E.J. Noyes is a beautiful lesbian romance between two US army doctors Sabine and Rebecca (one the superior of the other) set in Afghanistan in times of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
The story is told at first person from Sabine’s point of view. This is also how we’re introduced to the army life and envision Rebecca.
Sabine’s first name is Fleisher and it means butcher in German, being a doctor during times of war I believe it’s a word play by the author which is a great idea.
Captain Sabine Fleischer is a talented and hardworking surgeon on her second deployment in Afghanistan under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Rebecca Keane. She’s a private person when it comes to intimacies, a reluctant colleague as she hides all traces of her personal affairs from her professional life except from her best friend and fellow surgeon, Mitch, himself a gay man. The fear of being discovered as being different and, thus living a dual life within the army is palpable throughout the book.
As Rebecca magnificently added: “The military can be difficult for those who are different”
In her private life at home, Sabine is an open lesbian living together in her house with her old time girlfriend, Victoria. She is out to her family and she follows in the military steps of her grandfather. She has a beautiful life.
During her current deployment, we see Sabine enveloped in her profession and it’s routine, performing a big amount of surgeries with her colleagues and her superior colonel Keane. They also have some small amount of spare time to play football or just train at the gym or have long walks or have a crush on each other or a superior. Although, they’re in a war zone, they seem somehow caught up in the sanitary quarters of the hospital, as none is allowed to come in, nor they are allowed to get out without permission.
Lieutenant Colonel Rebecca Keane is a mysterious character. We see her through Sabine’s eyes: a beautiful woman, with blonde hair and amazing blue eyes, with an incredible body, older then herself, with incredible talent as a surgeon and one hell of a unit manager.
Rebecca does her job as her second nature, intuitive, attentive to details, resistant to stress and always following the rules, including the rules of silence of DATD. It’s obvious she has a huge confidence in her subordinates, considering them colleagues.
She gives Sabine some hints that she really likes her, yet Rebecca’s wedding band it’s a big red signal to Sabine, as like “stay the hell away”.
There are big surprises and turning points within the storyline.
One of my favorites is the one when Colonel Rebecca Keane reveals her true intentions.
The plot has a big crack when Sabine is breaking up with Victoria, and the last considered a wise idea to do it in a letter to a military surgeon during a deployment in a war zone.
Everyone around the unit know about Sabine’s breakup, yet they imagine she has broken up with a man, only Mitch knows the truth and Rebecca guesses it.
Sabine is devastated, because she hadn’t read correctly the signs in her relationship, the abandon is hitting hard in her pride, yet Rebecca offers her a breakthrough by offering Sabine an unexpected short leave.
Sabine is greatful that she has time to visit her family and to spend time with her sister, Julie. Never in her wildest dreams would she have expected that during this leave, Colonel Rebecca Keane will reveal her true intentions towards Sabine.
Life goes on, the deployment goes further and Sabine finds it even harder to hide her feelings for Rebecca. And Rebecca is a wonderful human being, with every smooth gesture or loving feeling.
I enjoyed very much the detailed description of the military life of the surgeons while being in a war zone, how humans relate in such difficult situations, I understand they are trained to, but you can’t train emotions and devotion.
I loved the last part of the book, especially the turning point in Sabine’s military life. Sabine has grown in my eyes, the author did an amazing job in describing all her feelings, her fears, her despair in such a dreadful moment in her lifetime.
What’s life in a military war zone?
What’s a surgeon’s life in the army in Afghanistan?
Will Sabine be able to do something regarding her crush on Colonel Keane?
Is Colonel Keane married? Will Sabine cross such a line?
How will they handle DADT?
Will Sabine give up her career to be with Rebecca?
What are Rebecca’s true intentions towards Sabine?
What’s PTSD doing to a military?
Excerpts of the book: