Celebrity chef Waverly Talbot 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, buries her bitter disappointment and shattered idealism beneath a life spent serving others as an international aid worker 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, a dramatic turn in their journey forces them to stand together to save their careers, the baby, and each other.
Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures living and traveling in 50 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, and she studied creative writing at Oxford University during college. Currently, Rachel lives in beautiful Seattle, Washington, with her husband and two young children. Rachel enjoys creating stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy. Visit her online at rachellinden.com; Instagram: rachellinden_writer; Facebook: authorRachellinden.
“Linden’s debut novel is a bittersweet tale of enduring friendship, family ties, and the complexities of love that will engage readers of thoughtful women’s fiction.”--Library Journal, STARRED review, Debut of the Month
When globetrotting photographer Magdalena Henry loses the only man she’s ever loved, she risks her stellar career to care for his widow and young children on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest.
Free-spirited and fiercely independent, Maggie adores her life of travel and adventure. But she has a secret. She can’t let go of her first and only love, renowned architect Marco Firelli, now married to her best friend Lena.
When Marco drowns in a kayaking accident, Maggie rushes to the Firelli family’s summer home on San Juan Island. Once there she discovers that Marco was hiding something that could destroy his family. As fragile, perfectionistic Lena slowly falls apart, Maggie tries to provide stability for Marco and Lena’s three young children.
When Maggie is offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete in the world’s most prestigious photography competition, she thinks she’s found the answer to their problems. Then Lena makes a choice with unexpected and devastating consequences, forcing Maggie to grapple with an agonizing decision. Does she sacrifice the golden opportunity of her career or abandon the Firellis just when they need her the most?
Gradually the island begins to work its magic. A century-old ritual to beckon loved ones home offers hope in the midst of sorrow. And a guilt-ridden yet compelling stranger hiding on the island may offer Maggie a second chance at love, but only if she can relinquish the past and move forward to find joy in unexpected places.
At 26, idealistic baker Mia West has her entire life planned out: a Craftsman cottage in Seattle, baking at The Butter Emporium, and the love of her life, her boyfriend Ethan, by her side. But when Ethan breaks up with her instead of proposing on their sixth dating anniversary (with the Tiffany blue box in his pocket), Mia’s carefully planned future crumbles.
Adrift and devastated, she determines to find new meaning in her life by helping those in need. Guided by recurring dreams about honeybees that seem to be leading her toward this new path in life, Mia joins her vivacious housemate Rosie on an around-the-world humanitarian trip funded by the reclusive billionaire, Lars Lindstrom. Along with a famous grunge rock star, an Ethiopian immigrant, and an unsettlingly attractive Hawaiian urban farmer named Kai, Mia and Rosie embark on the trip of a lifetime. From the slums of Mumbai to a Hungarian border camp during the refugee crisis, Mia’s eyes are opened and her idealistic vision is challenged as she experiences the euphoria, disillusionment, and heartbreaking reality of humanitarian work abroad.
As Mia grapples with how to make a difference in an overwhelmingly difficult world, circumstances force her to choose between the life she thought she wanted and the unexpected life she has built.