Gold Medal, Best Regional Fiction, Independent Publishers Book Awards 2017
First Prize, North Street Book Contest 2017
Best Cultural Fiction, Readers' Favorites Book Awards (bronze) 2018
"Courageous teachers wanted to rebuild war-torn nation."
With her marriage over and life gone flat, Theresa Turner responds to an online ad, and lands at a school in Kurdish Iraq. Befriended by a widow in a nearby village, Theresa is embroiled in the joys and agonies of traditional Kurds, especially the women who survived Saddam's genocide only to be crippled by age-old restrictions, brutality and honor killings. Theresa's greatest challenge will be balancing respect for cultural values while trying to introduce more enlightened attitudes toward women - at the same time seeking new spiritual dimensions within herself.
Based on true events, The Kurdish Bike is gripping, tender, wry and compassionate - an eye-opener into little-known customs in one of the world's most explosive regions - a novel of love, betrayal and redemption. San Francisco Book Review gave the book five stars and compared it to The Kite Runner. The Manhattan Book Review also gave it five stars, and called it a "must-read" for anyone interested in the Middle East.
Highly recommended for book clubs. Contact author to request a Skype presentation to your book club.
About the Author
Alesa Lightbourne has been an English professor and teacher in six countries, lived on a sailboat, dined with Bedouins, and written for Fortune 50 companies. She lives close to Monterey Bay in California, where she loves to boogie board and ride a bicycle.
San Francisco Book Review
Star Rating: 5 / 5
The Kurdish Bike is a gripping story of one woman's immersion into a not-so-comfortable world, where she struggles to make sense of critical issues, like violence, lack of respect for women, poverty, and the general sense of the absurd characteristic of war-ridden areas. But it is more than that. When Theresa answers the ad to teach at a Kurdish school, she has no idea of the challenges that lie ahead. Now, thrown in an unknown world, she has to reconcile with new cultural values and witness the aftermath of war and its implications on culture and lifestyle. Can her voice be heard? What does it take to replace structures of oppression? What hope do the marginalized have vis-à-vis the cultural divide and the harsh political landscape? Alesa Lightbourne's debut explores such critical issues and a lot, lot more. Fans of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini will adore Alesa Lightbourne's evocative writing, the reminiscences of war images, and the general malaise felt by millions of people, plus the pain of belonging to their own country.
Manhattan Book Review
Star Rating: 5 / 5
Few books have the ability to engage the reader so much that they feel the emotions of the author and characters. The Kurdish Bike by Alesa Lightbourne is one of those books that have strong characters and story, so much so that the reader feels like a member of the family. Alesa Lightbourne has shown excellent penmanship writing this novel based on her personal experience and shows how involved she was in the lives of the people she taught and met in Iraq. If you are interested in knowing about the lives, cultures, and hardships faced by people in the Middle East, this book is a must-read.