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Posted December 31, 2012
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Tracey Richardson is one of those writers who has a knack for taking an item from the front page of the newspaper and turning into a personal, dramatic story. No Rules of Engagement falls squarely in that category.
Jillian Knight is an award winning photographer who has been hired by National Geographic Magazine to do a photo spread showing what happens at a medical unit stationed in Afghanistan. Major Logan Sharp's assignment, when she's not functioning as a doctor, is to provide Jillian with whatever help she needs and to keep her safe. War can confuse or clarify many things, especially in an area where every square inch of soil is a battlefield and death can strike from anywhere. Jillian is forced to confront the problems of the relationship she left in Detroit and Logan has to figure out what to do with her life when her tour is over. The intensity of the danger they face causes the women to drop walls faster than they usually would and they discover an attraction. Jillian's commitment to her relationship and Logan's sense of honor won't allow either of them to pursue their feelings, but destiny conspires to bring them together over a year later and much has changed. Now the obstruction is an emotional wound that Logan carries from years before. Jillian isn't sure she can break through Logan's defenses in a battle where there are no rules of engagement, but she's willing to try.
It could be dangerous to set a book in the midst of the situation in Iraq/Afghanistan because of the dissension over what is happening there, but Richardson manages to avoid those problems. There are no politics in this book, just a straightforward story about the difficulties for anyone functioning within a war zone, plus a romance. The book is actually in two parts that have different points of focus. In the first half the reader deals with the charged atmosphere in the daily life of war-torn Afghanistan. There is a scene where Jillian goes on a mission to an outer base and the tension can be felt by the reader as the events unfold. The second half of the book involves a totally different scenario. Now that the women have returned to their homes they have to deal with their emotions, their pasts and their potential future. Richardson provides for a break in the action that covers a number of months and that allows the reader to deal separately with the two situations, yet understand the overlap that ties them together.
No Rules of Engagement is a well-written book that is entertaining. While it's basically a romance, it's also extremely pertinent to what is going on in the world today. Richardson continues to deliver interesting books that cause the readers to look forward to her next one.