NOT WITHOUT YOU - Jean Barrett
Five Star
ISBN-13: 978-1-59414-949-8
February 2011
Contemporary Romance

War Zones - 1991 to 2007

War correspondent Kate Groen was captured by the enemy in the Gulf War and landed in a prison cell next to U.S. Army Lieutenant Efrem Chaudoir. At first, Kate was suspicious of the man, fearing he might be an enemy agent in disguise. After all, she had to judge him by his voice alone. Gradually she came to depend on Efrem, and loved him enough to save him from further interrogation by making a justification video for the enemy. Perhaps sharing such dire circumstances led to their mutual love. Efrem was being divorced by his wife, and Kate had never had a lasting relationship with anyone. Once they escaped and were headed home, they agreed to meet again and start a life together. However, Efrem's wife gave him news that changed his plans.

Hurt, Kate immersed herself in her job and took solace from Gordon May, a man she met after Efrem deserted her. However, she never forgot Efrem, and destiny seemed to pull them together in war zones. They meet again in the Kosovo conflict where Kate is trying to save some orphaned children. Efrem comes to get them out, but the plane is destroyed. During their trek to the border, she learns Efrem never forgot her, either. Again, once freed from danger, circumstances prevent them from being together. Kate seeks Efrem out once more in Afghanistan . She wants him to help her save someone she has never met, but a person still precious to her. Is it the danger that pulls them together, or is it destiny, and will destiny ever allow them their hearts' desire?

The dangerous situations inherent in the setting will keep readers' attention on edge. The love and sacrifice both Kate and Efrem display is honorable but frustrating, and the way the action jumps from one war to the next alienates both Kate and the reader from emotional involvement between danger zones. However, NOT WITHOUT YOU is a poignant journey as well as a perilous one. Caught in risky world affairs, Kate and Efrem often seemed doomed to separation, but the reader will enjoy the culmination of their voyage.

Robin Lee