Ask Tell by EJ NoyesAsk, Tell by E.J. Noyes highlights the inner struggles of a woman’s heart caught in the crossfire of love and duty. This is Noyes’ debut novel, and she is fast becoming a favorite on my book shelf.

Captain Sabine Fleischer is a skilled and dedicated U.S. Army surgeon deployed in Afghanistan. She is also one of the thousands of troops who is forced to serve in silence because of the military’s anti-gay policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).”

In her Unit, Sabine deals with a lot as a soldier in a war-torn country. Soon the casualties of war turn more personal as Sabine’s long-term relationship ends unexpectedly. She knows she should feel more sad for the loss, but someone else has garnered her attention. And lately, those secret desires are becoming harder and harder to suppress.

Colonel Rebecca Keane is an enigmatic career officer who runs the surgical unit like clockwork. She is well liked and respected, and she walks a fine line between professionalism and personal connection. Sabine knows Rebecca is way off-limits, but she can’t help fantasizing about her. Especially when Rebecca starts giving Sabine subtle hints that she may harbor the same feelings. When Sabine takes an unexpected trip home, she is able to gain clarity on her break-up, as well as the intentions of Colonel Rebecca Keane.

Will Sabine be allowed to express her feelings for Rebecca? Or will both women be forever bound to duty and let their desires go unfulfilled?

The Characters

Noyes’ characters embody what I would expect from an LGBTQ soldier. They have their outward façade they project to their fellow troops, then they have their true identities hiding below the surface.

Sabine is a model soldier. She is well-liked and is damn good at her job. She is also quiet, reserved, and a mystery to all except her best friend, Mitch. This is by design to show how much Sabine has to hide so as not to give away her sexual identity. While her actions are required to keep her military position, it is not without its consequences. One of which is an unrequited attraction to her commanding officer that can never be experienced or explored.

Rebecca is not only an amazing surgeon, she is also a great leader. Like Sabine she is a mystery, yet we aren’t entirely sure why. Noyes gives us is Sabine’s view of Rebecca – her talent, her intelligence, her beauty, and most importantly her wedding band. As the layers of both women are peeled back to reveal the truth, you feel a strong sense of understanding and compassion for how much of themselves they must hide in order to serve the country they love.

The Writing Style

I really love how Noyes is able to get below the surface of the DADT legislation. She really captures the longing, the heart-break, and especially the isolation that LGBTQ soldiers had to endure because the alternative was being deemed unfit to serve by their own government. I applaud Noyes for getting to the heart of the matter and giving a very important representation of what living and serving under this legislation truly meant for LGBTQ men and women of service.

The Pros

Noyes totally blew my mind from the first sentence. I went in timidly, and I came away awaiting her next release with baited breath. If that’s not a pro, I don’t know what is.

The Cons

I really didn’t want it to end. Luckily, Noyes is releasing a sequel soon, so my con will be no more.

annas favourite booksThe Conclusion

I applaud Noyes for tackling the subject of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” head-on and giving us such a great love story. Her writing is crisp, witty, and she has a firm grasp on the art of storytelling. If this is how she starts her writing career, then she has a bright future. Please pick up this amazing story and be introduced to a very talented and amazing author.

Excerpt from Ask, Tell by E.J. Noyes

I’ve wanted Rebecca Keane from the moment I first saw her perform surgery. I’d only been deployed for three days on my first tour and instead of concentrating on our patient, I found my eyes drawn to the strands of wavy blond hair that had escaped her scrub cap. Wide, dark blue eyes creased when she smiled over her mask at me and I forgot how to verbalize, mumbling something stupid about a liver.

My shallow thoughts about her beauty took a backseat when I saw how effortlessly she negotiated what seemed to be a lost cause. Confident, yet never demanding. Skilled and calm. She tilted her head as she asked my opinion, then her eyes held mine as she agreed with it.

My want of her isn’t anything deep or well thought out, but more the way you see a coat in a store window and think right away I want that. Then you remember you already have a coat.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781594935305
  • Publisher: Bella Books

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Ask, Tell Book Cover Ask, Tell
E. J. Noyes
Fiction
Bella Books
January 20, 2017
240

Where can you turn when you’re caught in a crossfire of war and passion? Captain Sabine Fleischer is a skilled and dedicated U.S. Army surgeon deployed to a combat hospital in Afghanistan. She is also one of the thousands of troops who are forced to serve in silence because of the military’s anti-gay policy of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).” Usually driven and focused, Sabine finds that battles raging both inside and outside the perimeter walls are making it more and more difficult for her to deal with her emotions. Dealing with loss and mortality, lack of privacy, sleep deprivation, loneliness and the isolation forced on her by "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” are all taking their toll. Plus, her long-term relationship with a civilian back home is quickly becoming another casualty of war. Colonel Rebecca Keane is an enigmatic career officer who runs the surgical unit like clockwork. Well liked and respected by those who work with and under her, she walks a fine line to preserve the military’s chain of command while connecting with those under her care and supervision. Sabine knows the Colonel is way off-limits, but can’t help fantasizing about her. Especially when she starts picking up unspoken cues--a stolen glance, a secret smile, an "accidental”brush of hands. Or is it just wishful thinking? After all, Rebecca’s wedding ring shines almost as brightly as her deep blue eyes...