All Anna Belko wants is a quiet cup of tea. For a young garment factory worker in the uneasy city of Dor, such moments of peace are few and far between. When she stops by a little cafe called Oxsana's on her way home from work, she has many things on her mind, but meeting the man who will turn her life upside down is not one of them.
After his cousin is killed, Boris Merkovich wonders if he will ever feel a moment of peace again. As the manager of Oxsana's, his family's cafe he doesn't have time for grieving. But everything changes when he stumbles and almost pours a pot of tea into his customer's lap. To his surprise, the young woman doesn't become angry...
Love comes in unexpected ways. Neither Anna nor Boris dreamed this unexpected encounter would change both their lives, but as Dor implodes, Boris and Anna's relationship, begun over spilled tea and a heartfelt prayer, only grows stronger.
However, it isn't long before Anna realizes the hatred destroying her city isn't just "out there." If Boris cannot forgive his cousin's killer, it will cost both him and Anna everything they've begun to hope for.
Reviewed by Jean Roberts, May 12 2020
Reviewers Note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I will also note that Romance novels are not really my thing. Still, I liked the blurb enough to give it a try.
Right off the bat, the setting caught my attention. The characters live in a violent city on the edge of war. Where was this place? I tried googling the name of the city, the ruler, a river named in the book, to no avail. This was gonna drive me to distraction. Luckily, I could email the author who explained that the city of Dor and the conflict were an amalgam of conflict zones around the world. Great idea and great job creating this world, I was convinced it was real!
The story explores a budding romance between Anna and Boris as they navigate a disintegrating world. Both have excellent conflicts in their lives that have the potential to botch the developing romance. Neither are perfect. I like that Boris is not the best looking guy on the block. The author does a great job of bringing out their fears and their humanity. Life goes on, even when missiles are flying overhead.
Overall, I thought the book was well written and well edited. The characters are realistic and believable. I enjoy the story from start to finish. The book is pretty short, only 130 pages so I was able to read it quite quickly. I would recommend this to romance readers who appreciate a different yet realistic setting. Non romance readers will also enjoy this book. It's a window into a world that many of us in the West have not looked through in many decades.