Her friendship with Nicholas continues to grow, and she encourages him on his quest to start his own restaurant someday-one that will be better than the Russian Tea Room in New York City. After Hallie witnesses Nicholas participating in an old Russian ritual at his father's funeral, she senses a change in him-something that he himself cannot begin to describe.
Hallie's own life is also changing. She can no longer stay in her marriage, and she asks her husband for a divorce. But when she and Nicholas begin a torrid affair, Hallie cannot begin to imagine where her life will lead. In Nicholas's arms, she feels treasured and safe. But can the power of love overcome their differences?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“Every Town Needs a Russian Tea Room” is a departure from the other works of Anne Steinberg that I’ve read (such as “Manroot” and “Elias’s Fence,” both horror), but it’s actually my favorite of her books so far. It’s a romance as well as a tale of healing, both for a grieving mother and a young man who needs to escape his parents’ superstition and folklore. Hallie is broken over the loss of her only child, Peter—she moves to New York to try and escape her grief and ostensibly to work (she is an artist). At first, she hates the young Russian man who comes to cook and keep house for her—but when she loses her temper with him the ice is broken, and soon they begin to draw closer together, despite their age and cultural differences. As Hallie’s marriage fails and Nicholas falls into a relationship with a young girl named Olga that may leave him trapped, the relationship between Hallie and Nicholas deepens and she decides to help him with his dream of owning a restaurant. What I liked best about this novel was that it was so full of realistic and relatable emotion—the author writes Hallie’s grief so that you as a reader feel it too, and she also manages to convey Hallie’s reluctance at her attraction to Nicholas as well as the gentle sweetness of falling in love. (You get many of these insights into Hallie from Hallie’s writing, which is included every few chapters or so.) I also liked that the romance was unexpected but totally right between them—even though Hallie’s agent doesn’t understand and Hallie herself might not even understand. Nicholas is young and full of hope and dreams, and Hallie needs that optimistic influence to pull out of her own shell once more. Nicholas’s young friend Anouska brings a sweet presence to the book, as well, while his girlfriend Olga supplies some tension over whether or not Nicholas and Hallie will ultimately make it. I also liked the pace of the story—it’s very deliberate and allows you to get to know and appreciate each of the characters to that you care about them, which makes the ending impactful and the book as a whole emotionally resonant. If you enjoy contemporary fiction that’s primarily driven by character development and what it means to deal with grief, love, and change, you will enjoy “Every Town Needs a Russian Tea Room.”
Every Town Needs a Russian Team Room by Anne Steinberg is an emotional tale of two very different people who come together against all odds to find love and happiness in a world that doesn't believe they can have that love and happiness. It's not your typical romance novel and doesn't have the typical romance novel ending and I think that's what made this book so enjoyable for me. It was very real. The emotions were raw and most of the circumstances were very believable. Hallie Remington was a wife and mother. After the recent loss of her son, she retreats from her loveless marriage and lives the life of a hermit in an apartment in New York City. She's our poor little rich girl. She comes from money but is the very picture of the addage that money doesn't buy happiness. She is withdrawn, depressed and very close to losing her mind until the day she lets someone in. That someone happens to be Nicholas, the houseboy that came with the apartment. Nicholas is a Russian immigrant who has come to America to become a Master Chef and realize his dream of opening a Russian Tea Room, he believes every town needs one and is willing to travel the blue highways to find the perfect spot for his dream. Slowly a friendship forms between Hallie and Nicholas, they both fill a spot in each other's heart and slowly that friendship develops into something more. This isn't just a torrid affair. They have seemed to find something that seems to be elusive for many people...true love. Can love overcome the vast differences between Hallie's and Nicholas' worlds? Can they truly find happiness together in a world that is so concerned with money and superficial standards? Take the journey with Hallie and Nicholas and find out if they do find that happiness. The characters are vivid and complete. You find yourself going through a whole range of emotions toward them as the book goes on. You want to yell at them, comfort them and encourage them and most of all, you really want them to succeed.