Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Not Without You-Jean Barrett

Not Without You
Jean Barrett
Five Star, Mar 9 2011, $25.95
ISBN 9781594149498

In 1991 news correspondent Kate Groen covers the Persian Gulf War. She loves her work, but is frightened when she is taken prisoner. Her spirits soar upon meeting prisoner of war US Army Lieutenant Efrem Chaudoir. They fall in love.

When they are freed, Efrem begins his plan to divorce his current wife Jackie who also wanted to end their marriage. He wants to be single so he and Kate can marry. However, his wife’s pregnancy keeps him married to a woman he does not love. Meanwhile in DC before she covers Kosovo, Kate meets kindhearted Gordon May who helps her move pass her lost love. Over the ensuing years, Kate and Efrem meet in various international hotspots like 1999 Kosovo and 2007 Afghanistan, but never seem to come together permanently even as their feeling for one another remains strong.

The star-crossed romance takes a back seat to the epic look at two decades of world events though the eyes of an army career officer and a journalist. Ironically both Kate and Efrem are a delightful pair when overseas at a hot spot. On the other hand when at home each comes across childishly resentful loathing their sacrifice for someone else though why they sacrificed never quite gels; for instance Jackie wanted a divorce too but gave up her desires for their child and besides by 1990s divorce even with kids involved had become commonplace. Still readers will enjoy Not Without You for its grand scale look at the crisis zones during the previous three Administrations.

Harriet Klausner

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