Ask, Tell by E.J. Noyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"I live with constant noise and dirt. I live with the omnipresent smell of diesel, dust and aircraft fuel. I live with other people’s blood on my uniform."
I started and finished this book in a day because it demanded my attention. The historical context, characters and wonderful writing refused to let me go.
Noyes clearly undertook a mammoth amount of research. Her protagonist, a surgeon living and working in Afghanistan at the height of American intervention, is completely believable. I was totally engrossed.
Sabine struggles with what so many people have struggled with: she's a person who is otherwise comfortable with being a lesbian, yet having to work within a system that forces her to repress her identity or face dire social, familial and financial consequences. The fact that she's a talented doctor who saves peoples lives every day is overlooked by an institution obsessed with rules, in this case: Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
I'm not usually a reader of romance novels, but this one gripped me. The personal growth of the main character, the rich development of her fabulous best friend, Mitch, and the well handled tension between Sabine and her love interest were all fantastic. I always rate books in the context of their genre, style and target audience. This one definitely deserves five stars. I am keen to read her future work.
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