The Russian “mail order” bride meets a lonely American bachelor. Claudia is working hard as a nurse’s aid trying to make ends meet while living with her mother and sister whose husband left her with two kids to support. The five are living in a run down apt. while Claudia commutes by bus on a two hour journey to work everyday at Ambrosi Hospital a couple of towns away. Dr. Maddiwar, a new Indian doctor notices all the extra things Claudia does for the patients and the dedication she gives to her nursing. Ultimately, she falls for her boss, the Indian doctor, and moves in with him, glad to be out of the squalor she’s been living in. He has a deluxe and roomy apt. near the hospital. However this romance is short lived and she ends up back at the apt. with her mom and sister because the Indian doctor’s wife is coming for a visit. Once back home Claudia’s sister, Marina, talks her into entering her picture and info into a Russian “mail order” bride’s catalogue, which Claudia isn’t too thrilled about. Marina was always the pretty one and she was just ordinary and thinks it would be a waste of time. Nevertheless, she follows Marina’s advice.
Meanwhile, across the ocean in America there is Freddie, a cab driver in NYC that never has fit in with the family. He lacks self esteem and keeps trying to impress his parents through his various endeavors. They are somewhat appalled when he takes the job of driving a cab, but he becomes quite a good cab driver and learns all the ins and outs of the business. After dropping off a fare he finds a catalogue about “mail order” brides. He stuffs it away to look at later and when he does he decides to write to Claudia whose picture catches his eye because she’s different than the other girls and isn’t all made up and blonde like so many of the available women in the magazine. Claudia’s family is shocked when she gets a letter from Freddie in NY. After corresponding they decide to meet so Freddie goes to Russia on a tour sponsored by the people who put out the catalogue. Everyone in the small dilapidated village Claudia and her family live in become very excited at the thought of an American coming to visit, so in anticipation of Freddie’s arrival they go all out to prepare a feast for him
Deciding he needs a wife to impress his parents, Freddie ends up taking Claudia back to America where they marry and live in a small apt in NYC. She quickly makes friends with other Russians immigrants in town and starts to fit right in to her new life while Freddie is out driving his cab. All is well and good until Freddie decides it’s time to stop driving the cab, get a better job and to move closer to his parents. Of course by then he can afford the big house with the manicured gardens and swimming pool, etc., but Claudia is anything but happy. She had to leave all her new-found friends behind and there is no one to talk to in the area of big estate homes. She had grown used to the lifestyle of sitting around talking to your neighbors daily and seeing children playing in the street and the new environment was very sterile to her with not a soul around and something she can’t get used to. Of course there is a big fight and she feels awful because Freddy has given her money to send home to her mom and sister all this time.
They take off in separate cars after storming out of the big, new house. You’ll have to read this book to find out if Claudia and Freddie can pull their relationship together. This is an interesting, worthwhile read and is well written.