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Moonlight in Odessa by Janet Skeslien Charles

Selected by Sarah Broadhurst

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian meets Desperate Housewives in this wry and sparkling debut

If you like Janet Skeslien Charles you might also like to read books by Madeleine Wickham, Marina Lewycka and Paul Torday.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


Moonlight in Odessa by Janet Skeslien Charles

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. SHORTLISTED FOR THE MELISSA NATHAN AWARD FOR COMEDY ROMANCE


'A real treat: vividly told, wickedly funny and brave enough to confront the cliches and misinformation that still abound about life on both sides of the old iron curtain'

'Fantastically quirky, wry and funny'
Sophie Kinsella

'Comic, rich in atmosphere and full of irresistible Russian languor'
Wendy Holden, Daily Mail

'This novel is certainly romantic, and certainly witty - but very much more besides ... A novel that stays with you for all the right reasons'
Joanna Trollope

About the Author

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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Book Info

Publication date

17th January 2011


Janet Skeslien Charles

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Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


352 pages


Romantic Fiction
Relationship Stories
Debuts of the Month
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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