Love and pride have never been at greater odds with each other. 

In Maryl Damians debut romance novel, Nikolai, my love (CreateSpace), Nikolai Mendeleyev, Russian physics professor, has fled his country after disobeying the governments orders to take part in a secret weapons project. He has no money, no job, and no legal documents in America. 

Beth Winters lives with her ill, bedridden mother who needs consistent care, and with a full-time job as an English professor, she has no time to stay home with her and keep up her house. Nikolai arrives at the perfect time — and serves as caretaker.

Is it fate that brings them together?

Nikolai and Beth are like fire and ice; they can never agree on a single topic, and every conversation between them results in one insulting the other. Beths preoccupation with status and intellect keeps her from giving Nikolai the time of day. He has kept his past and true identity a secret and tells the family he is a carpenter. So Beth sees him as nothing more than an uneducated peasant whose ideals are outdated and opposite to her own. Beth has lived her life as an independent woman who finds purpose in her career, and is hesitant to be vulnerable to anyone. 

Very gradually, Beth discovers there is more to Nikolai than she ever could have anticipated. Nikolai takes up English classes at Beths university, and the reader gets to witness his broken English become more and more fluent as the book progresses. Even when he cannot articulate his thoughts as clearly, it is still apparent that Nikolai thinks deeply about the world — more deeply than Beth realizes.

We are treated to a heartwarming relationship between Nikolai and Beths mother, Mrs. Winters, as they share many stories and philosophical conversations by her bedside. He reassures her not to be afraid of death as together they imagine what could be waiting for her beyond them.

But the true heart of the story is the taut tension between Beth and Nikolai, which is prolonged primarily because of Beths stubbornness. However, when their chemistry is too strong to deny, Beth finally gives into her emotions when she realizes she has fallen inexplicably in love with him.

This love is tested when Beth discovers that Nikolai is not legal in the U.S., and becomes paranoid that he is only with her so that she will marry him and he can become a U.S. citizen. Nikolai does everything in his power to prove his love and faithfulness to her, but, as he laments to Beths mother, her mind rules her heart.

Damian paints a cozy, snowed-in picture of wintery Connecticut as Nikolai, Beth, and Mrs. Winters grow closer and share the holidays around the hospital bed at home, complete with a miniature Christmas tree placed in her room.

Will Beths heart finally outweigh her strong-willed mind? Or will Nikolais lies catch up with him and eclipse his love for her? Grab a blanket and steaming mug of hot chocolate and find out as you turn the pages of this enchanting multicultural tale.

Nikolai, my love is now available for purchase. Visit Maryl Damian’s BookTrib author profile page.

Maryl was born the oldest of five children in an Italian-American family in 1946. She started out as an art student but eventually got a job at a local community college as an English tutor. Eventually, she joined a writersgroup, which gave her the courage to start sending her manuscripts out to romance writing contests. She won third prize in a national romance writers contest and got a lot of positive feedback from judges. From this, Maryl gained the confidence to publish Legacy of Love and Nikolai, my love. She is currently working on her third novel, Glimmerglass Autumn. She also enjoys knitting, reading and caring for her numerous flower gardens.