mail order bride no more

Natasha B. Pravda
Outskirts Press, Inc. (2014)
ISBN: 9781478725138
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/14)

“Mail Order Bride No More – Road to Freedom or Escape from Reality” by Natasha B. Pravda is a hypnotic memoir sure to haunt your thoughts long after the book is finished.  Natasha’s story begins in Russia as she endures a traumatic childhood, full of abuse, neglect and loss.  Through it all she remains optimistic, yet realistic about things to come.  When she nears the age considered to be an “old maid” in her country she sets her sights on finding an American husband through an agency that matches eligible American bachelors with Russian brides.  Her hopes for a bright future are pinned on the American dream and she will give up very much to achieve this dream, including the love of her life, citizenship in her home land, family and everything she loves and holds dear.  Her character will be tested immediately upon landing in America, as her fiancée is nothing like the picture he painted of himself, and keeps Natasha as a prisoner and slave in the house he lives in (with his parents).  Natasha will have to use all of her strength, faith and determination to restore her dreams and save her life. 

My emotions were really pulled in all directions by Natasha’s story, and I was shocked by the harshness of life in Russia, not just hers - everyone seemed to place very little value on people and life itself.  Some of the things Natasha endured before the age of six were incomprehensible!  I have to admire her strength and determination to make a better life for herself, often having to start over and rebuild her entire life - time after time.  Where many women would have crumbled, she conquered.

The book was divided into three parts:  Childhood, Teenage Years and Adulthood.  Each chapter was a specific memory from her life and written as a short story.  The short stories were then compiled in chronological order to create a memoir.  It is over 500 pages long but in my opinion, this layout of short stories made for a very enjoyable read.  I would have liked to hear more about some of the experiences as I felt some of the stories left the reader wondering, but overall I would have to say I recommend “Mail Order Bride No More” by Natasha B. Pravda to anyone interested in a nicely written, heartfelt story.

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