Review of ‘Beyond the checkpoint’ by Addison M. Conley
What a great start to begin the new year with. This story has it all, drama, danger, loss, joy, love, friendship, pain, anger, abuse and love again.
This is the journey of Alaina «Ali» Clairmont, working for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Major Lynn Stewart. It takes place in the Afghan war zone and in the US. Despite the fact that war is a terrible thing, I love reading about these women who work their ass off in these dangerous places all over the world. The story is based on the author’s experience who has been deployed three times to Afghanistan and Iraq, working for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and this makes it very realistic.
Ali (35) and Lynn (36) met in 2008 in Afghanistan, Ali’s first deployment, Lynn’s third (if I remember correctly). The attraction was mutual and immediate but with the sword of Damocles of DADT (Don’t ask, don’t tell) hanging over their heads, it’s dangerous to act on their feelings. Can they resist all the time? No, but experiencing terrible events, making some wrong decisions, combined with PTSD and not enough talking with each other, they part in anger. Over the next years, they meet again during deployment and always are torn between the love they feel and the anger/remorse they still feel.
Over eleven years we accompany Ali and Lynn and although that’s a long time, it never gets boring and the time adds depth to the story. We learn a lot about them, for example about Ali’s family, without excessive details. Even though I have no military experience, I think everything feels very realistic and despite the number of acronyms, I understood the military jargon quite well, and although there are some dangerous and tragic situations, the story isn’t about the war, it’s about Ali and Lynn.
Ali and Lynn are both strong women but they are not depicted as superheroines, they have flaws and make wrong decisions, which makes them more real. I loved them both. Their relationship is sometimes like a rollercoaster ride, but it’s a strong friendship that ultimately overcomes every hurdle. What people face and experience in war zones will always have an impact on every single person and sometimes will affect your decisions. This lesbian military romance is very well written and has a good balance of love and adventure.
Highly recommended. My rating 4.5 stars.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.