Feuding sisters Nadia and Vera haven't spoken since their mothers funeral two years ago, but unite when busty, gold-digging Valentina bursts into their lives. Desperate for a slice of Western wealth - and a visa - this Ukranian divorcee is determined to marry their elderly father to get her cut at any cost. But the sisters' mission to save their father stirs up some dark family secrets and memories they'd rather forget.
The writing style is very easy to get on with (although the paragraphs are oddly broken up) and interjected with sarcastic digs and nicknames from Nadia about her unruly family. The novel is threaded will short passages about tractors from a manuscript the father is writing (hence the title) which appear to mirror the plot, and reveal that Nikolai is more intelligent than his daughters give him credit for.
The tension between the sisters is authentic and their increasing frustration at their fathers actions believable. And as for Valentina, can she really be as awful as she seems, with her penchant for boil in the bag meals and fluffy high-heeled slippers?
This is a warm, funny and sad novel all at once, and the story blends well between the humorous and serious parts... at times the author dilutes the serious undertones with a little humour, which I think is how we all deal with sad parts of life in reality – looking for a little scrap of humour in a difficult situation to make it more bearable.