“This book is so rich in strong imagery and powerful characters with authentic voices, that it may easily be adapted into film. Irina definitely has a way with words and keeps her readers reading since they lay their eyes on the title of the book to the last paragraph.” Ileana Marin, Ellison Center, UW
“Fascinating book. I devoured it!” Sarah Harris, artist
An Unlikely Love Story
Mail-Order Family, the Silver Award Winner at the Spring 2022 BookFest in category True Stories & Memoir is an unlikely love story that doesn’t follow the usual rules, and even defies geography. It’s a story about difficult times but also one of triumph and hope, even when people are literally two worlds apart!
Irina, a spunky divorcée with two young children, is trying to build a new life on the ruins of a collapsed Soviet Union empire in a small Eastern European country called Moldova, where the world around her has turned upside down.
The nouveau riche with golden chains are running the new country, the police are no longer able to protect their citizens, and a polite taxi driver preys on women. Irina’s desperately looking for a way out when, by chance, she finds out about online dating. Suddenly, she discovers a world that was nothing like she expected, and it’s full of characters. The Herpes Man, the Silicon Brains, and the Casanovas are swarming the Internet. It takes a while for Irina to adjust to this new reality and trust someone.
Finally, she captures the heart of an American named David, who’s planning to come to Moldova to see her despite his family and friends’ objections. When they finally meet, the East and West collide as the tall, loud, and constantly smiling David tries to fit in with Irina’s family, and Irina is baffled by Harry Potter’s popularity and why adult men play Dungeons & Dragons.
Nevertheless, David is ready to marry Irina. When he returns to America and begins looking for an immigration lawyer, Irina watches in horror as the Twin Towers in New York go down in flames on television. The world around her has turned upside down once again.
Will David still keep true to his word? Will she and her kids ever make it to America? Despite the dramatic twists and turns, Mail-Order Family is written with a lot of humor, heart, and undying hope. You will laugh and cry as you hold on to the edge of your seat as you follow Irina’s journey.
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Irina VanPatten is an American Pacific Northwest writer with Eastern European roots from R. Moldova, neighboring Ukraine. Her writing style marries the best of these two worlds. She draws from the reach roots of her culture, but bakes her own American literary cake with a blended sense of humor: sharp, yet warm; edgy, yet tender.
Irina VanPatten is American Pacific Northwest writer with Eastern European roots. Her writing style marries the best of these two worlds. She draws from the reach roots of her culture, but bakes her own American literary cake with a blended sense of humor: sharp, yet warm; edgy, yet tender.