Wednesday, June 6, 2018

International aid worker shines a light on important women’s issues


International aid worker shines
a light on important women’s issues
Through the story of two sisters, Rachel Linden
challenges women to live courageously

Sometimes a story can be used as an escape from the troubles of the world, but other times a story acts as a beam of light, illuminating situations we are not as aware of otherwise. With Becoming the Talbot Sisters (HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson; May 1, 2018; $15.99), author Rachel Linden hopes to shed light on issues important to women around the world and encourage them to live what she describes as “every day brave.”

“Every day brave is a simple concept but it’s not easy,” Linden explains. “It means standing with courage against life’s fear and challenges, no matter the circumstances. As women we can face tremendous challenges in our lives – in our careers, our family and romantic relationships, our roles as wives and mothers, sisters and daughters, in so many areas of life! Being every day brave takes guts, grit and a steadfast hope and determination!”

Becoming the Talbot Sisters tells the story of estranged twin sisters living very different lives on opposite sides of the world who begin to rebuild their relationship and learn to support one another as they face challenges ranging from miscarriages to sexual assault to career woes.  Readers are introduced to Waverly Talbot, a celebrity chef with her own successful home-entertaining television show. She seems to have the perfect life, yet she and her husband have never been able to realize the true desire of Waverly’s heart: to become a mother. One miscarriage after another has strained their relationship, and Waverly is at the point of despair, believing that she may never have a family of her own.

Meanwhile Waverly’s twin sister, Charlie, buries bitter disappointment and shattered idealism beneath a life spent serving others as an international aid worker in Budapest, Hungary. Charlie is passionate about helping exploited women and aids in the rescue of women trapped in human trafficking in Central Europe. When the 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.

When the sisters find they are each in danger of losing their jobs, Waverly makes a bold move and shows up unannounced in Budapest. From there the sisters embark on an adventure across Central Europe that takes an unforeseen turn forcing them to stand together to save their careers, the baby, and each other.

The sisters’ stories draw from many aspects of Linden’s own life and she hopes to highlight the prevalence of the various struggles so many women face. “The main themes – women having courage to face infertility and miscarriage as well as sexual exploitation and trafficking – are all very personal for me. I lost my first child to miscarriage, so I identify deeply with Waverly’s story. Though many women face the same struggle to start a family, it’s not something we talk about because it’s so personal and painful,” the author explains. “I also worked for five years with a faith-based organization in Budapest where much of the book is set, focusing significantly on women who experienced trauma and exploitation, so the work that Charlie does in the story is something I am very passionate about.”

According to new estimates by the International Labor Organization, roughly 4.8 million people, mostly women and children, are in forced sexual exploitation. It’s an enormous problem, but one that is shrouded in secrecy. Linden hopes to bring attention to the vastness of the situation by making it personal and relational. “For years I’ve wanted to write a story about women who are caught in sex trafficking, but from a relational, women-centered angle. I wanted to tell a story about these women in a personal way with compassion and clarity rather than a sensational way that can cause further harm. “

Linden will be donating a portion of the proceeds from sales of Becoming the Talbot Sisters to Hope Dies Last, an organization focusing on creatively addressing the root causes of trafficking and sexual exploitation as well as supporting other anti-trafficking organizations in Budapest and around Europe. To learn more about the work the ministry does, visit www.hopedieslast.org.


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 and a BA in Literature from Huntington University. Linden also studied creative writing at Oxford University during college.

Currently, Rachel lives in beautiful Seattle, WA with her husband and two young children. She enjoys creating stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy. Her first book, Ascension of Larks, released in 2017. Becoming the Talbot Sisters is her second release.

Find Rachel Linden online at www.rachellinden.com, on Facebook (authorrachellinden) and on Instagram (rachellinden_writer).



No comments: