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33 Reviews
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4 star:
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3 star:
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scammers, sexists and scoundrels
I just read this over the course of two tube journeys, and it's brilliant. It's the tale of a week that Shaun Walker spent with a coach-load of (mainly) elderly (mainly) westerners as they were shown around Odessa on their quest for a bride. At first you sympathise with the women, then you sympathise with the men, until finally you just sit appalled at the terrible mess...
Published 13 months ago by O. Bullough

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No great surprises
As in my title, I wasn't really surprised by what I read, but it was interesting all the same. I found the descriptions of the men who repeatedly went back to Odessa to find their apparent soulmate quite fascinating - and their total lack of any irony about their situation - seemingly devoid of any self awareness. (Beautiful young girl falls completely in love with...
Published 11 months ago by Kimberly Sims


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scammers, sexists and scoundrels, 16 Jan. 2014
By 
O. Bullough - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Odessa Dreams: The Dark Heart of Ukraine's Online Marriage Industry (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
I just read this over the course of two tube journeys, and it's brilliant. It's the tale of a week that Shaun Walker spent with a coach-load of (mainly) elderly (mainly) westerners as they were shown around Odessa on their quest for a bride. At first you sympathise with the women, then you sympathise with the men, until finally you just sit appalled at the terrible mess being laid out before you. It's well written, with a very amusing turn of phrase, and has an unexpected redemptive twist in its tail.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Odessa Delight, 20 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Odessa Dreams: The Dark Heart of Ukraine's Online Marriage Industry (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
Walker takes you on a journey, a group romance tour even, down to Ukraine's southern port city of Odessa and around. If Walker himself sometimes feels like an uncomfortable observer, albeit getting involved in proceedings on occasion, so well-rendered is the writing you acutely share these sentiments yourself.

It's a giddy ride through self-deception, deception, love seeking, far less love finding, segueing into a serious piece of investigative journalism, as Walker takes on, and outs, the dirty secrets of the online bride game.

Walker's sharp ear for dialogue, and gift for vivid scene-setting, combined with a nice bit of Odessa back-story, come together to make this a terrific read. Interest in Odessa, Ukraine, or no, this tour through the dark side of love is a seductive, didactic delight.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and well observed view of a social condition, 25 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Odessa Dreams: The Dark Heart of Ukraine's Online Marriage Industry (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
This is an interesting insight into the working system of a well-oiled multi-million dollar money making scam and the individuals willing to be relieved of their money. If anyone had any doubts about the company Anastasiadate they only have to read this and do a google search to realise the organisation for what it really is.

I have been to Ukraine and passed through the areas mentioned on a touring holiday to the Crimea (great wine but disappointing cuisine) and can attest to the beauty of the classical architecture in the centre of Odessa and the crumbling drabness of the suburbs. The many outstanding women, mostly well-educated and smart too. It would have been interesting to have a comparison with the capital Kiev. Also how this company operates and the luckless tourists who embark on tours organised by Anastasiadate to other countries and regions.

This is a huge and expanding industry and a wider exposé of the business and the emotional trauma and financial fallout affecting its willing ‘victims’ would be interesting social study.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharp, funny, poignant, 17 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Odessa Dreams: The Dark Heart of Ukraine's Online Marriage Industry (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
A wonderful piece of reportage. This twisted journey through the seedy underworld of post-Soviet dating scams makes you think again about the human capacity for delusion and self-delusion. An addictive read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Backward bachelors & double-dealing dyevushki, 1 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Odessa Dreams: The Dark Heart of Ukraine's Online Marriage Industry (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
A darkly humorous examination of the online marriage industry in Ukraine. Walker introduces us to a cast of backward bachelors and double-dealing dyevushki whose courtships fail to end in marital bliss. You will laugh and wince in equal measure.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars would highly recommend, 16 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Odessa Dreams: The Dark Heart of Ukraine's Online Marriage Industry (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
This is a great read - hilarious and disturbing in equal measure, and a poignant window to the human condition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That supposedly 'intelligent' people can be so 'stupid'..., 4 Aug. 2014
By 
Jean Acre (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Odessa Dreams: The Dark Heart of Ukraine's Online Marriage Industry (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
An easy and informative read. What fascinated me was how stupid some 'intelligent' people can be, and the level of selective logic that these stupid-intelligent people can apply. Many of the men that Shaun Walker describe have taken several trips to Odessa and will continue to do so. Each time, they fail to meet the women they 'connected to' online, and walk away having had a series of sexless dates where they are fleeced of thousands of dollars. But they continue to trot out the mantra that they are doing it because 'Ukrainian/Russian girls are "less flakey"..."more reliable"..."less materialistic"...."uphold traditional values" better than Western women'. Shaun Walker sums it up in one sentence: Maybe they deserve each other - these young women whose options for making a decent living are limited to scamming delusional old men.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different, 8 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Odessa Dreams: The Dark Heart of Ukraine's Online Marriage Industry (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
I would not usually have chosen this type of book but I found it intriguing. It shows the dating trade from both sides. A real eye-opener. I can't believe how desperate people can be!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good follow up to article, 2 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Odessa Dreams: The Dark Heart of Ukraine's Online Marriage Industry (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
I bought this as I had read Walker's newspaper article on the same subject. It was good to get a more detailed account on the subject. Its hard to have any empathy for the men in this story who want a 'family focused' woman who is prepared to leave their family and move to the USA. Unlike other accounts of similar bride markets there are no profiles of the women involved and it is told from the viewpoint of the men which is interesting as there are many accounts of why women would be involved in the industry. I enjoyed the book and learning how the scams to relieve these men of their cash worked. Altogether a good interesting read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragicomic, 20 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Odessa Dreams: The Dark Heart of Ukraine's Online Marriage Industry (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
Having been to Odessa before (though not as a bride hunter), I was aware that there was a thriving marriage agency business going on there. I didn't appreciate, however, just how lucrative this surreal world is. Walker's skill is bringing out the story from all sides, from the agencies selling the dream, to the men searching desperately for a fantasy and the leopard print clad women who tantalise and disappoint. In between, there are some great characters whose stories leaves you wondering who (if anyone) deserves your sympathy.
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