I won a copy of this book on a giveaway from Library Thing.
About the Book
In Odessa, Ukraine, Daria, a whip-smart engineer, spends her days underemployed as a secretary—a job she was lucky to get in this rotten economy. She spends her evenings moonlighting as an interpreter at an agency that matches lonely American men with beautiful-but-broke Ukrainian women. She spends her nights wondering if there is more. When an American client offers marriage and a one-way ticket out of poverty, Daria jumps at the chance. She soon learns there's a reason that her husband couldn't find a wife in America, and that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the world. The perfect book for anyone who's ever been stuck in a dead-end job or relationship, Moonlight in Odessa is an exploration of language, culture, and the difficult choices we make in the pursuit of love and stability.
For more information about Moonlight in Odessa you can visit Janet Skeslien Charles' website or follow her on Twitter.
As always you can purchase a copy of Moonlight in Odessa from my Amazon Store.
This one took a little while to get going. Setting up the story took quite a bit. But once the story got going I really did enjoy it. There's a lot of personality points that need to be made about Daria. I think had the story just jumped in it wouldn't have been nearly as good. I felt like the building was very necessary to the rest of the story.
I like Daria and her Boba. Daria's a very strong woman. She knows how to get what she wants in her beautiful city of Odessa. The means she takes don't always seem to make sense, but it's mentioned a few times that that's how it's done with Odesseans. In Odessa Daria is well-past the appropriate age to marry, but she's not "normal" and has put her life before the life everyone else expects her to lead. Her main focus is her Boba and making sure that she can take care of Boba, her grandmother, the way Boba has taken care of her. There's a very strong bond between the two of them.
When Daria & Boba's dreams finally come true, and Daria's approached by an American willing to move her to America with him she seems a bit torn. It's what she always wanted and yet she doesn't want to desert her Boba. But Boba pushes her out the door and Daria's on her way to America. The story is pretty good till this point, but once Daria reaches America is when the emotional ties really pulled me into this one.
Janet Skeslien Charles has a great ability to explain people so that you feel as if you know them personally. I felt as if I've known Daria, Boba, and the whole lot of characters all my life. I understood how they think and was able to predict how they'd act as easily as I can my own family. It was amazing to be that drawn into a book.
While this was a good piece of fiction I think the story is more of a look at how people interact, how cultures can clash and mesh, and how people can persevere even if they aren't given what they thought they were getting. It's about struggle, and the fact that we always have a way out.
I would have given this one 5 stars but it did take a while to really get into the story. While I see the need for the build up of the back ground on the characters it was a bit daunting. By the time the book started to get good I'd almost given up on it. Although I'm glad I didn't!