“Mordantly funny, deliciously human, Rubin’s tale of a self-possessed survivor brings zest to the literature of immigration and adaptation.” –Booklist
When Stalina Folskaya flees her native Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, she sets out for America with her dreams—and her painful past—firmly in tow. A trained chemist in Russia but disillusioned by her prospects in the United States, she becomes a maid at the Liberty, a “short-stay” motel on the outskirts of Hartford, Connecticut. Even here, gutsy Stalina sees opportunity, convincing the owner to let her transform the motel into a fantasy destination. Business skyrockets and the American dream is within her sights, but she cannot escape the ghosts she left behind in St. Petersburg. Obsessed with avenging her family while also longing for a new life, Stalina must choose between the obligations of the past and her hopes for the future.
“[Rubin] respects the often harrowing histories of her Russian characters and, most importantly, is true to human nature, to our weaknesses and superstitions, to the strengths and frailties of our friendships, and to the baggage of the past that we bring with us no matter where we go.”—Daphne Kalotay, author of Russian Winter