Hotel Moscow by Talia Carner
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 2, 2015)
Paperback: 464 pages
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours for an honest review
From the author of Jerusalem Maiden comes a mesmerizing, thought-provoking novel that tells the riveting story of an American woman—the daughter of Holocaust survivors—who travels to Russia shortly after the fall of communism, and finds herself embroiled in a perilous mafia conspiracy that could irrevocably destroy her life.
Brooke Fielding, a thirty-eight year old New York investment manager and daughter of Jewish Holocaust survivors, finds her life suddenly upended in late September 1993 when her job is unexpectedly put in jeopardy. Brooke accepts an invitation to join a friend on a mission to Moscow to teach entrepreneurial skills to Russian business women, which will also give her a chance to gain expertise in the new, vast emerging Russian market. Though excited by the opportunity to save her job and be one of the first Americans to visit Russia after the fall of communism, she also wonders what awaits her in the country that persecuted her mother just a generation ago.
Inspired by the women she meets, Brooke becomes committed to helping them investigate the crime that threatens their businesses. But as the uprising of the Russian parliament against President Boris Yeltsin turns Moscow into a volatile war zone, Brooke will find that her involvement comes at a high cost. For in a city where “capitalism” is still a dirty word, where neighbors spy on neighbors and the new economy is in the hands of a few dangerous men, nothing Brooke does goes unnoticed—and a mistake in her past may now compromise her future.
A moving, poignant, and rich novel, Hotel Moscow is an eye-opening portrait of post-communist Russia and a profound exploration of faith, family, and heritage.
Since I grew up during the Cold War and have always been fascinated with the Soviet Union and Russian history, Hotel Moscow seemed like a perfect read for me. I was immediately pulled into Brooke's quest to help the women of Russia learn business skills that could help them in their new economy. Unfortunately, Brooke and most of the women who went on the mission were a bit naive and very unprepared for the situation that awaited them in the former Soviet Union.
I really appreciated that Brooke decides to go to Russia for several reasons - there is certainly a desire to help the women of Russia, but there is also a big incentive to put herself in a better position to keep her job and to get a jump on the new emerging market in Russia. The conflicting emotions and motivations made the story real and made Brooke a much more interesting character than some of the other Americans with her.
There is so much about Hotel Moscow that I loved, but I hate to give too much away. I loved the details of the hotel itself - what a nightmare that place was! So different from what most Americans expect from a hotel when they travel. I was consistently upset by the prevalence of the mafia everywhere the group went, but appreciated that the author didn't try to sugarcoat the situation.
The bleak situation for the Russian people - and the women in particular - is another upsetting, but very educational aspect to the book. I found myself quite distressed while reading certain sections of the book, but found myself pulled along in Brooke's mission to help these women fight for what was right. Two of the Russian women who really stand out in the novel are Olga and Svetlana. Each has difficulties to deal with on a daily basis, but each is willing to do whatever is necessary to survive.
Honestly, there were many characters that stick in my head - some for good reasons and some for bad reasons. I think that is one of the hallmarks of a good book -- I feel strongly about the characters - whether I hate them or admire them. There is much in Hotel Moscow that would appeal to many different readers. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in modern Russian history, economy, or politics. I also think it should appeal to general fiction readers as well.
Talia’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, June 2nd: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, June 3rd: Dwell in Possibility
Thursday, June 4th: Raven Haired Girl
Friday, June 5th: Charmingly Modern
Monday, June 8th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, June 9th: A Utah Mom’s Life
Wednesday, June 10th: As I turn the pages
Monday, June 15th: Lavish Bookshelf
Wednesday, June 17th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, June 22nd: Bibliotica
Tuesday, June 23rd: Mel’s Shelves
Wednesday, June 24th: A Book Geek
Thursday, June 25th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Thursday, June 25th: Doing Dewey
Friday, June 26th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, June 29th: Book Dilettante
TBD: Luxury Reading