Eastbourne author Gabrielle (Gabi) Yetter has released her first novel, Whisper of the Lotus, to support Justice and Soul, an international anti-trafficking organization.
Inspired by her experiences while living in Cambodia, the book follows the travels of Charlotte Fontaine, a young woman on her way to Phnom Penh to visit her best friend. On the way, Charlotte meets a mysterious elderly man on the flight, and the chance meeting leads to a twisting tale of mystery, suspense and spiritual awakening.
Arriving in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, Charlotte discovers a land of golden temples, orange-clad monks, and kind-hearted people, then realises many things are not what they seem—including her own family relationships that bubble to the surface through a series of revelations.
“I wanted to share some of the exotic charm of the country,” Gabrielle said, noting that the book was launched on Cambodian Independence Day November 9, which was also the author’s birthday. “After experiencing what it felt like to live there, it quickly became my soul home and I wanted to take readers into my Cambodia. I have included a number of real-life characters—some of whom are named, such as SomOn, our tuk-tuk driver, who became a friend, and I’ve woven actual-life situations into the story.
Charlotte’s quest takes her through dusty back alleys and shimmering pagodas where she meets people who provide insights into her own strengths and imperfections: a sleazy café owner, a compassionate Buddhist monk, an elderly Cambodian who survived the Khmer Rouge, and a woman who reminds her of her mother. And all of them play a role in teaching her different things about herself.
“Phnom Penh is a jumble of sights, sounds and smells; exciting and chaotic,” she said. “I wanted to take readers into a place they may not be familiar with through the eyes of a young woman who has not travelled extensively and is well out of her comfort zone.”
Whisper of the Lotus is a multi-layered story full of memorable characters and the sights and senses of a magical country. It reflects on friendship and family, love and identity in a tale that reminds readers that no matter how far you travel, the path will always lead you back to yourself.
Early reviews of Whisper of the Lotus have been unanimously positive.
“It’s exciting and inspiring to see how readers respond to the story and seem to understand and relate to the characters and the challenges, obstacles and joys they experience in the book,” Gabrielle said.
One reader wrote that Whisper of the Lotus has “the feel of a good Armistead Maupin novel mixed with the spiritual overtones of Dan Millman’s Way of the Peaceful Warrior.” Another wrote, “Yetter’s story is mystery, romance, and thriller all in one, and the tendrils of an unexpected encounter weave through them all”.
Whisper of the Lotus was long listed in the 2019 London TLC (The Literary Consultancy) Pen Factor writing competition.
A former journalist, Gabrielle wrote The Definitive Guide to Moving to Southeast Asia: Cambodia and The Sweet Tastes of Cambodia (a book about traditional Cambodian desserts and provincial travel) as well as two childrens’ books, Ogden The Fish Who Couldn’t Swim Straight and Martha the Blue Sheep, which were illustrated by young Cambodian artists. In 2012, Gabrielle and her husband Skip co-wrote Just Go! Leave the Treadmill for a World of Adventure based on their experiences of travelling the world. The couple now live in Eastbourne.
Proceeds for the first 57 days (until January 5) will be donated to Justice and Soul, a non-profit organization which provides cosmetology training and a new beginning for at risk youth and those rescued from trafficking in Cambodia and the USA.
Whisper of the Lotus is available for purchase as a paperback or ebook on Amazon. Gabrielle can be reached through her website at www.GabrielleYetter.com