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Moonlight in Odessa: A Novel Hardcover – September 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
This darkly humorous debut explores the world of eastern European mail-order brides and the men who finance them. Daria, a savvy, warmhearted but standoffish secretary in Odessa, Ukraine, fears that her boss will fire her after she refuses his sexual advances. So to keep him busy (and to keep her job), she sets him up with her shallow friend, Olga, who promptly turns on Daria. Fearing imminent unemployment, Daria takes a second job at Soviet Unions, an Internet dating service that connects Western men with available Ukrainian women. As Daria, who is fluent in English, bridges the language gap between the women and foreign men, she wonders if she will ever find true love. The endearing and forthright Daria is the perfect guide through the trickery and sincerity of chaotic courtships and short-order love. Meanwhile, her own romantic life swirls between a sweet suitor in California, a Ukrainian gangster and her manic boss. The teetering dance between humor and heartbreak burns through this tale that takes place at the intersection of love and money, East and West, male and female. (Sept.)
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“[A] spirited debut… Charles' transatlantic saga explores the dichotomy between Eastern and Western cultures, as well as the assumptions and sacrifices people make in the hope of a better life.” ―Booklist
“Charles paints a tender, bittersweet portrait of Ukraine and Odessa.... A lively, entertaining debut--chick lit with edge.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“This darkly humorous debut explores the world of eastern European mail-order brides and the men who finance them... The endearing and forthright Daria is the perfect guide through the trickery and sincerity of chaotic courtships and short-order love... The teetering dance between humor and heartbreak burns through this tale that takes place at the intersection of love and money, East and West, male and female.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Charles's first novel vividly contrasts life in Odessa, a city whose citizens are impoverished and sometimes prejudiced but nevertheless proud, with the materialism and isolation of life in America.” ―Library Journal
“In her debut novel, Janet Skeslien Charles pulls off a couple of feats. First, the Montana native manages to write convincingly like a Ukrainian who's tackling the English language. Perhaps more impressively, she crams fascinating cultural and historical information into what might otherwise be merely a diverting beach romance. It's like sneaking vitamins into a chocolate shake... this could be a gooey and overwrought story, but Daria's sharp humor and keen insights into human nature make her a winning narrator. In fact, all of the characters are well-drawn, complex and interesting... It all goes to show that the romantic beach-read formula needn't be silly, or even formulaic; in the right hands, it can be instructive.” ―Bookpage
“In a comically touching travelogue through the international romantic wasteland, Janet Skeslien Charles brings you Daria, a part-time electronic matchmaker who is only one set of dentures short of gorgeous. A heroine for the twenty-first century Ukraine--or as close to the twenty-first century as you can get in the Ukraine--she's street-smart enough to outwit several flawed suitors but can't fend off the lure of the American dream as she fails to recognize the one unwavering global truism: Sometimes people aren't entirely honest on the Internet.” ―Dave Boling, author of Guernica
“This is a delicious novel - wise, witty, wonderfully written – and its narrator, street-smart, tender-hearted Daria K, a pleasure to spend time with. If I ever get to Odessa, I hope Daria will be there to show me around.” ―Vivian Gornick, author of Fierce Attachments and The Men in My Life
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Top customer reviews
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This book reads like any good chit lit book, only perhaps a bit better written and more entertaining. I particularly liked being able to see the entire process through one of the "brides" perspective, that the husbands that seek these women are older, less attractive and perhaps just weird, hence their search for a spouse in another country. Since a brother of mine has gone to the Ukraine in search of a bride several times, it was really interesting to see the girl's side of the story. A great read!
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Title Moonlight in Odessa: A Novel
Binding Paperback...Read more