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Moonlight in Odessa

by Janet Skeslien Charles

Debut Books of the Month Relationship Stories

LoveReading View on Moonlight in Odessa


February 2010 Debut of the Month.


This comic novel is jam-packed with hilarious and very well observed insights in to relationships, not just those between lovers but also work colleagues, friends and family. Daria the main character is feisty and headstrong but also vulnerable and the reader instantly warms to her and her plight to make the best of her life. A real joy to read we hope to see much more from this new author.

Moonlight in Odessa Synopsis

A tragic-comic look at the flourishing market for e-mail order brides, Moonlight in Odessa is a novel about the choices and sacrifices that people make in pursuit of love and stability, and the lengths that we will go to to help - and hinder - each other in search of a happy ending.


Odessa , Ukraine is the humour capital of the former Soviet Union, but with prices rising and employment prospects falling, there is little for Odessans to laugh about. After months of searching, Daria, twenty-five and armed with an engineering degree and perfect English, is offered a plum job as a secretary at a foreign company. But there's a stone in every plum, and in this case, it's her new boss Mr. Harmon, who makes it clear that sleeping with him should be the first item on her to-do list.


Loath to give up her newfound perks (the taste of real coffee, a new apartment and a salary she and her grandmother can actually live on), Daria manages to evade Harmon's advances by recruiting her neighbour, the slippery Olga, to be his mistress - a plan that ends up working only too well...


And so Daria finds herself moonlighting as an interpreter at Soviet Unions , a dating agency specializing in finding gorgeous Odessan brides for lonely Americans. Daria - so adept at spotting the cracks in the relationships she facilitates - soon discovers that she is not immune to the temptations of the American dream herself. An email correspondence with an apparently shy and sensitive American teacher who offers her a new life in San Francisco, leaves her facing a choice between her beloved city - not to mention the attentions of Vlad, a worryingly attractive mafia gangster - and her long-dreamt-of escape to the land of the free.

Moonlight in Odessa Press Reviews

'A comically touching travelogue through the international romantic wasteland'
Dave Boling, author of Guernica

'In this geopolitical romantic comedy, Janet Skeslien Charles deftly balances caustic wit with generosity of spirit, a breezy style with an incisive vision of East-West relations and the eternal Cold War between men and women. A sheer delight'
Jake Lamar, author of Ghosts of Saint-Michel


'This is a delicious novel - wise, witty, wonderfully written
Vivian Gornick, author of Fierce Attachments

'Darkly humorous 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 humour and heartbreak burns through this tale that takes place at the intersection of love and money, East and West, male and female'
Publishers Weekly

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781408802878
Publication date: 04/01/2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781408802137
Publication date: 08/09/2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781408802137
Publication date: 8th September 2009
Author: Janet Skeslien Charles
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Genres: Debuts of the Month, Relationship Stories,

About Janet Skeslien Charles

Originally from Montana, Janet Skeslien Charles divides her time between France and the States. Moonlight in Odessa, published by Bloomsbury in February 2010, was inspired by her two years in Odessa as a Soros Fellow. It is her debut novel.

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