Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Sasha is a Russian man who grew up in New York, but moved back to Russia with his mother when her marriage dissolved. He loved the American life and has longed to return to New York where he could love a partner openly and honestly. Sasha met Elliot, a successful, if older, businessman, online several months ago and they have corresponded via chats and Skype since then, developing a strong rapport. Elliot has now paid for a flight and filed the necessary paperwork for a 90-day fiancé visa to allow Sasha to come meet him in person. If they hit it off and marry, Sasha will not have to return to Russia.

Brimming with hope, Sasha is thrown off nearly from the start. Elliot is too busy to pick him up from the airport and sends a driver. Sasha has to check himself into their apartment alone, and though he makes the best of it, he’s not terribly encouraged by Elliot’s late arrival and rather boorish manners. They do spend a good couple of weeks together and Sasha’s hopes began to rise again. Then, for many days, Elliot is too busy to come by and his vague excuses get to be too many. It’s disappointing, and Sasha’s high hopes are unraveling.  He’s bored, but with Elliot’s credit card at his disposal, he starts doing a little shopping for housewares and gifts for Elliot, hoping to entice him into further intimacy. Maybe even that proposal.

Sasha’s hopes finally do crash when he overhears that Elliot has no intentions of marrying, and Sasha’s crestfallen. Knowing that he’s likely to return to Russia in about 6 weeks, Sasha decides to make the best of a bad situation and explore the city he loved so much as child. And that’s when he meets Daniel, a boy from his old neighborhood who has never forgotten him.

Daniel is a year younger than Sasha, but they went to the same schools and Daniel definitely admired Sasha’s preteen self. It turns out that Sasha once saved Daniel from a bully, and he had heart-eyes since then and was saddened when Sasha left school to return to Russia. It is Daniel who recognizes Sasha while exploring the Met. They reconnect, kindling a friendship. Sasha is so grateful to meet all of Daniel’s friends who are generous and genial. They swoop around Sasha, helping him explore the city and the nightlife, planning adventures that really lift his spirits. And Daniel, well, it seems there is a spark between he and Sasha. But, Sasha’s stay is coming to an end and their tenuous connection can’t keep Sasha in New York, even if Daniel proposes.

This turned out to be a tender and touching look at the life and situations of foreign visitors would hope to remain in the U.S. By virtue of his visa, Sasha’s hamstrung in his rights and abilities, currently depending upon a man who seems to be exploiting the immigration system to his own ends. Sasha acts respectfully and kindly throughout, even knowing that he’s not being respected by Elliot, and it was so easy to wish for his happiness. Daniel seems like a miracle to Sasha, because, even in friendship, he shows Sasha how beloved he could be by the right man. His admiration and affection promise a lifetime of happiness without settling. Legalities are a hurdle, but not one too great for Sasha to surmount once he knows that he’s going to follow his heart. The connection that Sasha and Daniel build is the fairy-tale experience that each man has truly longed for, so it’s worth waiting to do it properly. Expect a low angst, low steam, sweet love story with great pacing and a well-deserved happy ending.