By: Gabrielle Yetter

Published: October 22, 2020

Publisher: Meanderthals Publishing


3 stars

Charlotte decides to give up her mundane life in England with her demanding and alcoholic mother and travel to visit her best friend, Roxy, in Cambodia. On her flight, she has a mysterious encounter with Rashid, an older gentleman, who leaves an envelope behind on the flight that leads Charlotte on a journey to find him or his son and maybe even something tied to her own future.

When Charlotte arrives in Cambodia, she is dropped into a much different culture than what she is used to. Charlotte knew she needed to get away from her self-absorbed and controlling mother, but isn’t sure this is the escape she needed. Once she sees her best friend, she is suddenly comforted and reminded why she took this vacation and the break she needed from her life.

Roxy is feisty and spontaneous where Charlotte is reserved and prefers a well-planned day. But, as she fills her time while Roxy is at work, Charlotte discovers she doesn’t mind having days with no plans and wandering around the city. She becomes enchanted with a Buddhist Monk and his lessons and finds herself thinking about her father who left many years ago without a word. Charlotte confides in the Monk about her mother, the mysterious envelope, and her missing father. Charlotte’s own self-discovery will lead her on quite the adventure in Cambodia and one that will forever change her life.

“The lotus is a beautiful flower that begins its life underwater, buried in mud. As it grows, it slowly rises above the water where it opens its petals to the sun. The dirty water rinses it clean so when it opens to the air, the mud is all gone. You don’t have to be Buddhist to understand we’re all like the lotus. Some of us stay below the murky water and never make it to the surface. Others push through the dirt and become more beautiful.”

Whisper of the Lotus, Gabrielle Yetter

I love reading and learning about other places and cultures and the author’s descriptions of Phnom Penh and the villages of Cambodia allow me to imagine Charlotte traveling on the tuk-tuks through the city. I can’t imagine acclimating to this very different type of setting and culture and appreciated Charlotte’s struggles with it as well. Charlotte began the book as a wimpy and meek young woman and I found her to be a bit boring. There was a bit too much repetition of her struggles and poor decisions and left me underwhelmed. But, as the novel moved along, so did Charlotte’s passion and drive to change and be a stronger person. By the end of the novel, I was proud of Charlotte for standing up for herself and the positive changes she made in her life.

This is a story of friendship, loss, and finding yourself. Sometimes it is necessary to leave a life that seems comfortable to find the life you are supposed to live. This novel reminds all of us to make sure we are always pushing ourselves to be better, do better, and not let the sad parts of life overwhelm us.

“Always remember,” he said. “The past cannot be changed, but the present and future are in your hands. Live for the moment, Charlotte, and keep moving forward.”

Whisper of the Lotus, Gabrielle Yetter

Gabrielle Yetter is a former journalist and freelance writer. Raised in Bahrain and South Africa, she lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years before moving to Cambodia with her husband, Skip, in 2010. While living in Phnom Penh, she wrote The Definitive Guide to Living in Southeast Asia: Cambodia, and The Sweet Tastes of Cambodia (about traditional desserts). With Skip, she co-wrote Just Go! Leave the Treadmill for a World of Adventure (published in June 2015), based on the couple’s experiences of stepping off the proverbial treadmill as well as the stories of dozens of others who changed their lives. In May 2016, she published her first children’s book. Ogden, The Fish Who Couldn’t Swim Straight, and in May 2017 published Martha The Blue Sheep. Both stories convey messages of hope, acceptance, and discovery for children of all ages. For more, check out her website, HERE.

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Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without having to pay a cent more for your purchase.

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