Lesbian Military Book Review of ‘Ask Me Again’ by EJ Noyes (Audiobook)
This was the highly anticipated sequel to Noyes’ debut novel ‘Ask, Tell’. Although technically not necessary to read the first installment to enjoy this one, I highly recommend doing so in order to fully grasp the dynamics within the story.
‘Ask Me Again’ picks up 2 years after the end of the first book. Surgeon Rebecca Keane is now retired from the Army and runs a civilian trauma center in Washington DC. Captain Sabine Fleischer is finishing her second to last deployment before fulfilling her contract with the Army. Everything should be perfect now that they found a way to be together, however, they are both reeling from ‘The Incident’ and Sabine’s subsequent Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Can their love be enough to keep them together?
The mains in this story are very likable and already established from the previous book. Now, this one is narrated from Sabine and Rebecca’s alternating first person point of view. This opens up the storytelling and we get to hear about Bec’s struggles too, which would be too easy to miss if only Sabine was narrating like in the first book. I also got the story of how Bec felt and managed during the immediate period after ‘The Incident’, which I wondered about since reading it.
I also tried to imagine what would be the aftermath of such a traumatic event. PTSD is a term that gets thrown around frequently, but I doubt people, in general, understand what it means or how crippling it can be. Sabine is an accomplished surgeon with a great support system, yet can not help feel impaired by the disorder. Her struggles taint what should otherwise be a beautiful relationship with Bec, a rewarding career and simply, her independent and capable self.
I had the opportunity to listen to the recently released audiobook. As with the first installment, Abby Craden was the narrator. I can say without a doubt, this one is my favorite performance by Ms. Craden. The book is full of highs and lows (ok, mostly lows) and the narrator totally enhances the feelings in the story. The happiness and the sorrow, it is all beautifully told with such sentiment, that it is difficult to not get totally wrapped in the story and root for these characters to find a way out of their predicament.
I most definitely felt more connected with Bec, and Ms. Craden simply made her feel as someone any person could love. I’m not a fan of calling someone darling, but I love when Bec calls Sabine that! Somehow it is not stiff and proper but rather sweet and caring. Even amongst all the sadness, Ms. Noyes injects her ever-present witty dialog and Ms. Craden also pulls that off magnificently. The narrator took an already fantastic book and made it even better. This one is a true synergistic collaboration between author and narrator.
At the end of the day, this is a terrific love story and a brilliantly narrated audiobook that will appeal to all fans of the genre. 5+ stars