I have been reading some more contemporary fiction lately. It’s a nice break from spending all of my time in the past. I’m happy to bring you a new book and a guest post today from author Rachel Linden. Read on to learn about Becoming the Talbot Sisters and how the author’s real life experiences helped her in writing the book. I thank TLC Book Tours for sending me a copy at no charge for my honest review.
About Becoming the Talbot Sisters:
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 1, 2018)
Twin sisters Waverly and Charlie Talbot have drifted far apart as they pursue opposite dreams of stardom and service to the poor. On an astonishing journey across Central Europe, they must come together to face their fears, find their courage and fight for what they love.
Celebrity chef Waverly Ross has built a successful career with her home-entertaining show Simply Perfect. Yet she and her husband, Andrew, have never been able to realize the true desire of Waverly’s heart: to become a mother. Meanwhile Waverly’s twin sister, Charlie Talbot, buries her bitter disappointment and shattered idealism beneath a life spent serving others as an international aid worked in Budapest, Hungary.
When the beloved aunt who raised them passes away, Waverly and Charlie come together in their grief after living years on separate continents. Struck by a fierce desire to bridge the distance between them, Charlie offers Waverly and her husband the selfless gift of surrogacy.
But soon the sisters find they are each in danger of losing their jobs, seemingly putting their dreams on hold once again. When Waverly shows up unannounced in Budapest with a plan to rescue Simply Perfect, the sisters embark on an adventure across Central Europe that could save them both from occupational hazards. Though the twins haven’t had to rely on each other since childhood, an unforeseen dangerous turn in their journey across Europe forces them to stand together to save their careers, the baby, and each other.
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About the Author:
Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures living and traveling in fifty countries around the world provide excellent grist for her stories. She holds an MA in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College, a BA in Literature from Huntington University, and studied creative writing at Oxford University during college. Currently, Rachel splits her time between Seattle, Washington and Budapest, Hungary where she lives with her husband and two children. Rachel enjoys creating stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy.
Connect with Rachel
A Guest Post from Author Rachel Linden:
How My Real Life Experiences Influenced Becoming the Talbot Sisters
I am often asked where I get the inspiration for my books and how much of my real life is in each one. The short answer is: a lot comes from my personal experiences! I love creating stories about hope, courage and connection with a hint of romance and a dash of whimsy. I also enjoy setting each story in beautiful locations around the world that are meaningful to me. Here are 5 ways my real life experiences enriched Becoming the Talbot Sisters!
1. The main themes of the story – infertility, miscarriage, and the exploitation of women are all deeply personal for me. While living in Budapest, we lost our first baby through miscarriage, so I really connected on an emotional level with Waverly’s struggle to have a baby and her loss of multiple pregnancies.
2. Working with a faith based NGO in central Europe, I met and helped many women in trauma. Some of them had endured trafficking and all had endured sexual abuse of some kind. Hearing their stories gave me very authentic insights for the plotline involving Charlie’s past trauma and her dilemma about helping vulnerable women.
3. I set the story mainly in central Europe where we lived for 5 years. It’s a beautiful, somewhat undiscovered region of the world, rich with history, culture and delicious food! It was a total delight
to allow Waverly and Charlie to experience so much of what I did in my years living and traveling there! My love for the region and my wonderful memories of life there definitely enhanced the story considerably.
4. I am passionate about helping women, and am so excited to be donating 10% of my author proceeds to help end the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women in Europe! I am partnering with an amazing organization, Hope Dies Last, which is based in Budapest and works all over Europe to help women who are being sexually exploited. I have volunteered with this organization and love how they help women!
5. The overarching theme of the story, women being “every day brave,” is one I am deeply passionate about. As women we face so many challenges in life, and I wanted to write a story that encouraged women everywhere to face each challenge with hope, courage and strength! This theme of courage resonates strongly with me, and I hope it will encourage all readers to be “every day brave!”
The book opens by introducing the reader to Waverly Ross – a cooking show and entertainment show host. She started with small videos and now she is on the Food Network with a whole brand called Simply Perfect. But all is not quite so perfect in Waverly’s world; her beloved Aunt is dying and she has not been able to achieve her greatest desire – to have a baby.
Waverly goes home for her Aunt’s funeral and there she sees her sister Charlie for the first time in many years. Even though they are twins the girls went their own ways when they reached their majority. They were reared by their Aunt because their parents were killed in a plane crash. Now they sit and remember all she did for them and catch each other up on their lives. It’s during this talk that Waverly shares with Charlie her sadness at not having a child. Charlie impulsively offers to be a surrogate and this puts in motion a series of events neither sister could even begin to predict.
This gift from one sister to the other starts to bring the two closer than they have been since they were children. This does not mean that all is well though as strains appear in other relationships and in jobs. But the sisters’ abiding love will carry them through anything.
The two main characters are very intriguing; twins but complete opposites. Both women dealing with traumas of which the other is totally unaware. Both needing something but not knowing what. This relationship made the book worth reading. Other aspects of the plot were a little far fetched for me. I don’t want to go into what here as you know I don’t like to spoil main story lines in my reviews. I just had a hard time with one really big twist in the story. Once I get taken out of a book due to something that just doesn’t ring true I have a hard time falling back in to the tale. But that is me – others have not felt this way. That is the beauty of opinion.
The writing is great – easy to read and it moves right along. Ancillary characters are good; some are underdeveloped and one or two are caricatures but all in all a quick and entertaining read. Becoming the Talbot Sisters delves into some dark issues with compassion and hope.
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