Saturday, February 12

Book Review: Moonlight in Odessa

Title: Moonlight in Odessa

Author: Janet Skeslien Charles

Pages: 339

Summary: In the Ukrainian city of Odessa, Daria, a whip-smart engineer, sends her days underemployed as a secretary - a job she was
lucky to get in this rotten economy. She spends her evenings interpreting at a matchmaking agency for lonely American men and beautiful-but-broke Ukrainian women. She spends her nights wondering if there’s something better out there. When an American client offers her marriage and a one-way ticket out of poverty, Daria jumps at the chance. But is the grass really 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 affecting, darkly funny exploration of language, culture, and the difficult choices we make in the pursuit of stability and love.

My Rating: 4/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I didn’t like this book much at all. It started off with promise, the story interested me (from what I read on the back of the book) and it wasn’t bad story plot wise, but the overall execution and the diminishing plot, made it hard to finish.
One of the goo
d things about the book is the contrast it shows between Ukraine and the United States. That aspect of the book was very well done. The book really shows the vast differences (and in some cases, the similarities) between the two countries. I was able to get very concrete look at Ukraine and their life style. The author did good job at bringing the reader into Ukraine and experience its culture, and day to day life. Although, some things did repeat through out the book, a lot, which got old very fast (the opera house). Which is where the book started to decline - it is repetitive nature. I felt the same thing was told to the reader constantly throughout the book, whether it was information about a character, way of life, or information about the surroundings, were repeated throughout the book.
The second issue I had with the book, is the main character and narrator, frustrated me. She just wasn’t interesting, or believable. I found her to be bit flat, and to into herself, to see the big picture to what was exactly going around her. I found the “mail-order-bride” aspect of it was just not that interesting. I also felt the entire cast of American characters were very stereotypical. The husband is an example; I saw his secret hidden past, long before it was announced. Daria’s personality, just didn’t mesh well for me. She was a big problem for me throughout the book. And part of the reason why it didn’t work for me.

Finally, the story it self didn’t interest me much, and I felt it moved along to slowly. The entire execution of it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought the story moved to slowly for it to work they way the author wanted, and it seemed to follow to much of predictable path, of the trials a “mail order bride” has to face. I didn’t want a picture perfect story, but I’d have preferred someth
ing different than what I got.

Would I recommend it to read: No, I don’t think I would recommend the book. Although I think the book would appeal to some readers, it isn’t high on my recommend reads list.

What to read next: A Reliable Wife

This book is review book. It was sent to me from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program.


  1. Thanks for the honest review!

  2. Oh, that's too bad! I had heard about this book and was thinking about adding it to my TBR list. Rethinking that now. Thanks for the honest review!

  3. Mynovelreviews - Just one of those books that didn't work out for me.

    ardentreader - The book had promise, but just fell short for me.