Moonlight in Odessa by Janet Skeslien Charles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I just about fell in love with Daria, from her cosmetically enhanced teeth to her mouth covering shyness. Her love for Odessa is obvious, and she and Boba take pride in whatever little they have. Daria is spunky, observant, versatile, world-wise, yet still naive when it comes to men and love.
Her relationship with her boss changes from predator/prey to a friend that fits like an old leather glove. Then there's the sexy mafioso boss Vlad. And the family curse and her loving relationship with her grandmother, Boba.
I found her letters to Boba especially poignant as things devolve in the land of the opportunity. Yet Daria wrestles with uncertainty and doubt, and emerges triumphant at the end, in charge of her own destiny.
5 stars. I loved this book. The first POV character has a witty and smart voice. She doesn't pull any punches, least of all to herself. Bully for you, Daria!
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Here's Daria talking. I'm sure we can all relate.
I longed for love. For passion. For ecstasy. I knew what the words meant, but not how they felt. Love. Was it dancing in the moonlight to music only two people hear? Was it washing socks and peeling potatoes? Was it sex? Was it tender? What were the exact ingredients? How do you make it grow? How do you kill it? How long do you have to suffer when it dies? I’d read Russian novels full of beauty and anguish. I’d discovered American romances with their happy endings. But nothing in my life was like that. Love. Boba said love was blind, deaf, and dumb – mostly dumb. She also said that the minute a woman fell in love was the minute trouble began. And that the women in our family were cursed. But that didn’t stop me from longing. I wanted a husband. I wanted to hold an infant to my breast. I wanted a real family – the kind I’d never had. The kind with a mother and a father.
Charles, Janet Skeslien (2009). Moonlight in Odessa: A Novel (p. 21). Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Kindle Edition.