Dare Not Tell

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
370 Pages
Reviewed on 12/02/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I’m a history major and long-time technical writer. I read and write historical fiction to escape writing about computer software and to travel to other places in time.

I was an oil brat, and attended high schools in Algiers, Algeria, Northwood, England, Clear Lake City, Texas, Beirut Lebanon, and Kingston-upon-Thames, England. For many years I’ve lived in Bellaire, Texas. My husband and I raised our son here. Now we have three rescue cocker spaniels underfoot and travel as often as we can convince our son to come and look after the dogs for us.

I’m writing the next chapter in Sophie and Joe’s story; it’s set in Australia and the South West Pacific Area during WWII. After that I may go back to WWI—Sophie and Joe brought that era to life for me and now it’s deeply entrenched in my heart and mind.

I'm a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Women's Fiction Writers Association, and the Writer's League of Texas.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

Dare Not Tell by Elaine Schroller is a beautifully written and psychologically engaging historical novel that follows a couple as they deal with trauma from war. It has been two decades since Joe Parker, an Australian war hero, left the trenches of war, and while he thinks he has left his inner demons behind, he couldn’t be more wrong. Joe and his American wife look forward to celebrating their honeymoon in France, but a visit to one of the battlefields he fought upon twenty years ago brings back disturbing memories. Sophie, who always thought she knew everything about her husband, doubts if she actually knows him. The peak of the crisis is when they visit the French Alps, and Joe discovers relics of war. Memories he has tried to block come back to haunt him. But can he open his heart to the woman who has loved him deeply and trusted him wholeheartedly, or will his struggle to keep his most painful secrets destroy their marriage?

Deeply moving and emotionally intoxicating, Dare Not Tell is a tale of love, loss, and redemption, a story of one man’s struggle to leave the past behind. The setting takes readers across countries, from the historical locales of the French Alps to the most exciting views in Australia. Readers follow two elaborately developed characters on a journey to face the past and redefine the foundations of their love. Elaine Schroller is a great storyteller. She does a wonderful job writing the characters’ backgrounds, bringing them from an experience of war through a healing journey and toward the hope that only love can provide. The writing is replete with vivid descriptions and the kind of drama that keeps readers turning the pages. It is skillful, balanced, and emotionally rich.

Joanne Ang

Dare Not Tell is a historical fiction story by Elaine Schroller. The tale starts with Joe Parker, an Australian soldier who found himself fighting for another country's victory in France during the First World War. Joe is also a naturally closed-off man, not releasing the horrors of his battles to his should-be confidant, Annie. His quietness also hid the fact that he knows his missing brother, Robbie, has most likely died a painful and torturous death. Eventually, his demons threaten to show as, years later, the Second World War looms on the horizon. Joe meets a young nurse, Sophie Holt, who seems to understand his heavy burden and pain. However, can Joe forgo his marriage and risk the family that he and Annie have created to pursue the ever-so understanding Sophie? Or will death be the end of him?

Dare Not Tell by Elaine Schroller is a wonderfully written piece that exposed me to the true horrors of the Great War and the two decades that followed it. The empathy and sorrow that Schroller created within Joe’s life were beautifully described and portrayed the terror of war. The fatalities within Dare Not Tell show exactly how life was easily thrown aside during this period in time. I also really enjoyed the forbidden love that blossomed between Joe and Sophie. From the marriages of different suitors to the complicated past that Joe seems to be stuck in, it felt like the pair were never meant to be, yet at the same time, they were the perfect match for each other. I would recommend this book!

Romuald Dzemo

Dare Not Tell by Elaine Schroller is a wonderful story that follows a war hero’s battle with trauma while fighting to save his marriage. Australian Joe Parker thinks that his past demons have been caged. His wife, Sophie, a wartime nurse, feels comfortable and assured that she knows her man very well. All of this changes when they visit the site of Joe’s fiercest battle, Villers-Bretonneux. The sudden surge of memories is disturbing. A trip to the French Alps plunges Joe into another debilitating and disturbing experience when he feels as though the walls of the Chamonix Valley are closing in on him. As Joe’s disturbing memories begin to surface, his sanity is threatened and Sophie wonders if she really knows the man she married. Can they navigate the dangerous mindscapes of Joe’s experience together or will it break the bond that holds them together?

Dare Not Tell is an immersive story with strong, realistic, and multilayered characters. It has psychological depth and solid historical hints. Readers follow the characters from France to Australia and back to France, and the author deftly handles the effects of war-induced trauma on the protagonist. The characters are deeply flawed, believable, and elaborately written; they instantly pull the reader in and it is easy to feel a strong connection with them. The author writes brilliantly about the experience of war, love, loss, and the quest for redemption. Dare Not Tell is an affecting tale, deftly plotted and expertly executed. From the strong historical settings to the skillful handling of characters, from the mesmerizing prose to the compelling psychological conflict, the author features one of the best accomplishments in the area of trauma, love, and healing. This novel shows that war is far more than anything readers imagine it to be.

Pikasho Deka

Dare Not Tell by Elaine Schroller is a historical romance novel spanning two decades from 1917 to 1939. When Joe Parker and his wife, Sophie, receive an invitation to visit the Australian war memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, it sparks a trip down memory lane to when Sophie first met Australian soldier Joe as a wartime nurse in Paris in 1917. The two formed an instant bond and exchanged letters during the Great War as they found a kindred spirit in each other. Despite losing correspondence and living on different continents, fate intervened again years later as they became one at last. However, as they traversed their way through France in the present, Joe's wartime memories haunt his dreams, putting a strain on their relationship. A German spy further adds to the tension.

Author Elaine Schroller tells an engaging tale about a couple of star-crossed lovers who find comfort and solace in each other's company at some of their lowest points in life. Joe's constant struggles with his PTSD-induced nightmares were deftly handled, and it adds a sense of authenticity to the narrative that makes the story all the more enthralling. Joe and Sophie are genuine people, and their relationship forms the heart of the story. You are instantly drawn to their story as both of them are likable characters who are easy to root for. This is the finest example of slow-burn storytelling. I had a wonderful time reading Dare Not Tell, and I would highly recommend it to other readers who enjoy historical fiction and romance novels.

Christian Sia

Dare Not Tell by Elaine Schroller is a historical novel in which the past comes back to haunt the protagonist, threatening to destroy his sanity and marriage. When faced with the horrors of the past, can he still reconnect to the present and to what matters most in his life? It has been twenty years since Australian war veteran Joe Parker fought in France. At a time when he believes he has buried his demons, he undertakes a visit to the site of his cruelest battle, Villers-Bretonneux, together with his American wife, herself a wartime nurse. It is then that buried memories begin to surge. Things get worse when they visit the French Alps, and the walls of the Chamonix valley seem to close in on Joe, like the most horrible experience in the trenches. Sophie, his wife, begins to wonder if she knows Joe. How much has he hidden from her, and can she ever trust him again? This book takes readers on an emotional ride as Joe and Sophie struggle to deal with Joe's trauma while facing challenges with their marriage.

While Dare Not Tell will appeal to fans of historical novels, it is a well-crafted psychological thriller that explores the theme of war trauma. The novel is everything that a great thriller should be, and I adored the way Elaine Schroller explores the protagonist's inner world, allowing Joe’s anguish and pain to come across in the writing with unusual vividness. The interpersonal relationships are brilliantly written and in dazzling prose. Joe’s hidden secrets ignite the conflict. The momentum of the novel grows in magnitude as the plot progresses. In Dare Not Tell, Elaine Schroller unfurls a gripping, emotionally and psychologically rich narrative that explores trauma from a unique perspective.