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Hotel Moscow: A Novel Paperback – June 2, 2015
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“Carner deftly mixes in the changing landscape of Russia with an emotional story about a woman coming to terms with her heritage.” (South Florida Sun Sentinel)
“Action-packed, steamy and suspenseful.” (Jerusalem Post)
“An eye-opening exposé of life following the collapse of the Iron Curtain...Vividly drawn characters and taut suspense add up to a real-life dystopian page-turner of the un-put-downable variety.” (Library Journal)
“Talia Carner sweeps us away along with her brave and determined heroine to an exotic and complex time and place, and keeps us riveted with the tension and dangers of international intrigue. A real page-turner!” (Tami Hoag, New York Times bestselling author of Cold Cold Heart)
“With the urgency of a thriller and the sharp, atmospheric lens of a great documentary, HOTEL MOSCOW hurls you into the vortex of the corrupt, outlaw world of the Soviet Union morphing into modern Russia. A fascinating and ultimately gripping read!” (Andrew Gross, New York Times-bestselling author of One Mile Under)
“HOTEL MOSCOW is bold and breathless. A smart story about a fearless New York woman who arrives in Russia with more baggage than she knows, it explores both the personal and the political with compelling prose, heartfelt insights and gripping action. An impressive achievement!” (Ellen Meister, author of Farewell, Dorothy Parker)
Praise for Jerusalem Maiden: “Talia Carner uses beautiful language, exquisite storytelling, and detailed research to transport the reader into the world of old Jerusalem...This is a book to savor and discuss.” (Jewish Book World, on Jerusalem Maiden)
“A fascinating look at a little-known culture and time...Tuck JERUSALEM MAIDEN in your beach bag.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune, on Jerusalem Maiden)
“A welcome glimpse into a little-understood world.” (Kirkus Reviews, on Jerusalem Maiden)
“A gripping read. Rich with insight and detail, as well as drama and emotion...this book deftly explores a chapter in history that is little understood much less written about.” (Rodney Barker, author of Dancing with the Devil: Sex, Espionage and the U.S. Marines)
“HOTEL MOSCOW is a tantalizing book full of corruption, extortion, and shocking treatment of women -- and that is just the tip of the Russian iceberg. Talia Carner’s engaging style draws you in with its powerful description of life in Russia twenty months after the fall of communism.” (Deborah Rodriguez, author of The Kabul Beauty School)
“A heroine both glamorous and smart, hard-driving and compassionate, Brooke Fielding -- American investment counselor and daughter of Holocaust survivors - travels through the looking glass of Russia, 1993, when the country was lurching toward capitalism, women were coming into their own, and danger lurked around every corner...Sweeping and suspenseful.” (Roy Hoffman, author of the novels Chicken Dreaming Corn and Come Landfall)
“A finely-drawn tale of a country emerging from its dark Soviet past into a present overshadowed by a new kind of terror and lawless corruption... Will keep the reader mesmerized.” (Nelson DeMille)
From the Back Cover
In late September 1993, Brooke Fielding, a thirty-eight-year-old New York investment manager and the daughter of Jewish Holocaust survivors, accepts an invitation to teach entrepreneurial skills to Russian businesswomen in Moscow. Though excited by the opportunity to be one of the first Americans to visit Russia after the fall of communism, she wonders what awaits her in the country that persecuted her mother just a generation ago. But as the Russian parliament's uprising against President Boris Yeltsin turns Moscow into a volatile war zone, Brooke finds that her involvement comes at a high cost. For in a city where "capitalism" is still a dirty word, where neighbors spy on neighbors and the new economy is in the hands of a few dangerous men, nothing Brooke does goes unnoticed—and a mistake in her past may now compromise her future.
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Top Customer Reviews
Brooke Fielding, an ambitious young investment manager, accepts an invitation to travel to Moscow as part of a team to teach entrepreneurial skills to the Russian women. While eager to share of herself with the women she is also apprehensive. Her parents were born in Russia and escaped from the pogroms against the Jews. Her mother was the only survivor from her family as the others died in a concentration camp. Her father’s first wife and three children were killed. Thus, Brooke has grown up hearing of the anti-Semitism in Russia.
The story begins in 1993 just weeks after the fall of Communism. Left as a country with no laws, the Duma is busy making up laws as they go. However Yeltsin is frustrated and impatient with them and fires them. As the members of their Duma are democratically elected, Yeltsin did not have the authority to fire them. Thus, a stand-off develops between the members of the Duma and Yeltsin as he calls in the Army to remove the Duma.
The entire team encounters MAJOR culture shock. As Communist control ended, theft and gangs quickly filled the void. “Connections” and bribes were required for the simplest of services. Corruption has taken over. Time after time, the Russians are impressed by how white the Americans’ teeth are. Many of them have rotted teeth but proudly support one gold tooth as it shows they can afford it. People stand in line for hours, sometimes days, for food, gasoline, money from the banks. The descriptions of the living conditions of most Russians were shocking. The photos of “communal apartments” in the back of the book were definitely eye-opening.
Svetlana is assigned as the group’s translator. She knows several languages and would have been translator for the Foreign Minister. However, she was labeled as having “loose morals” after being gang-raped. Dr. Olga Rozanova, a sociologist from the Institute for Social Research, is ashamed that the Americans are so poorly treated in her homeland. Brooke forms friendships with these women, but can the friendships survive the anti-Semitism of the culture? And how can she teach Western capitalism to a people who are afraid to even trust their neighbors?
There is a good sampling of the male characters. There are primarily four Russian male characters and they are very different from each other.
Brooke’s early family history is revealed slowly, like layers of an onion being peeled away, layer by layer. Being in Russia makes her face parts of her past that she had been running from her entire life. There is a possible love interest for her but she is very distrustful of men. Her past relationships are also slowly revealed making it understandable why she is so distrustful of men. Brooke carries secrets that she is afraid of revealing. One of the secrets could cost her her job. She also struggles with the question of “What does it mean to be Jewish?” Should she hide her Jewish identity in this land that is rampantly anti-semitic?
Ms. Carner visited Russia in 1993 and experienced some of the events told in the book. Her descriptions made me think of several social issues. Is this the way all oppressed societies behave once they get that first taste of freedom? I was amazed at the pride the Russian people still exhibited toward their country, no matter how corrupt it had become. Yet underneath it all, people are people, proving that compassion and trust still exist in the most lawless of societies. I also looked at my own Jewishness, just as Brooke was forced to look at hers. In spite of the corruptness, this was a beautiful story. I look forward to reading her other three books.
Corruption and the Russian mafia act with impunity. The Russian women that the Americans have come to teach are trying to work under impossible and dangerous conditions. The Americans try to help, but run into obstacles at every turn.
This well-crafted story illuminates the struggles of the post-Soviet era. The corruption, bribery and threats are constantly pushing the Russian women down. Their lives have been lived under so many restrictions that it is hard for them to hope that life could be better. The American women soon come to understand the challenge of changing a culture that is so deeply embedded into the Russian mindset.
One of the American women, Brooke, is Jewish. Her parents fled the Soviet Union after escaping the pograms that wiped out their families. They survived World War II in a Nazi concentration camp. Brooke grew up with the weight of a second generation survivor on her shoulders. She couldn't relate to the Judaism of her parents. In Russia, Brooke experiences antisemitism in a direct way that helps her to understand her parents, what they went through and comes to take pride in being Jewish.
Hotel Moscow: A Novel has many more plots lines, intrigue, danger, and romance than I can touch on here. This is a story of people learning how to trust in a world turned upside down. I highly recommend it.
I loved how the plight of the women was woven through. Great book!