The Boy on the Bridge
By: Natalie Standiford
This is a historical fiction novel taking place in Russia in 1982, a time when Russian people lived fearing their government knowing that they could do anything to anyone without explanation.
Laura is an eighteen year old foreign exchange student from California studying abroad at the Leningrad State University in Russia. She is there for one semester to improve her Russian speaking skills and observe the lifestyles of the Russian people. She has been warned by her chaperons that fraternizing with the wrong people could get her sent home and the possibility of Russian friends being arrested. Laura has also been warned that Soviets often seek out Americans in hopes of marrying them and escaping to the United States.
Shortly after arriving in Russia, Laura is rescued from thieving gypsies on a bridge leading to her dorm by Alyosha, a handsome Russian artist. Alyosha asks Laura if she would be interested in tutoring him in English and he would help her with her Russian and show her some of the local sites. Alyosha gives Laura his phone number and tells her to call him the next day, he also reminds her to be very careful that she is not being watched by anyone from the University. They meet the next day and from that day on they become inseparable. Laura ignores warnings from a few of her close friends and starts missing classes and not returning to the dorm at night, her best friend covers for her the best she can. Laura begins living recklessly, going to public places that she shouldn't be seen at with Alyosha, buying things for Alyosha that Russians are not allowed to have. Alyosha introduces Laura to his friends, takes her to parties, and even takes her away to a friends summer house for the weekend. Alyosha tells Laura that he loves her, she admits that she feels the same. Eventually Alyosha proposes to Laura and convinces her that he could become a famous artist in California and would support her for the rest of her life. Laura thinks that she is to young to get married but her heart tells her otherwise, she accepts his proposal. They must get married before Laura leaves to go back home. Laura goes wedding dress shopping with Olga who is Alyosha ex-girlfriend, Laura notices that Olga is wearing Calvin Klein jeans and asks where she had gotten them from. Olga explains that Alyosha had gotten them from American friends. Olga goes on to explain how every semester Alyosha goes to the university gates becoming friends with Americans with hopes of finding a girl to marry. Olga goes on to explain that he hadn't found the perfect girl until he met Laura.
I don't want to spoil the ending so you will have to read this book to find out how this love story ends!