GHOSTS, GHOULIES AND THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE MOSCOW NIGHTS
Privet! (That’s Russian for “Hi!”).
I’m Nelli Rees and my first novel “Ghost Love” is out now, published by Phaze, billed as a ‘romantic thriller with a flavoring of the supernatural’. “Ghost Love” has two intertwined stories set twenty years apart these following the adventures of a Russian girl, Tonia, as she discovers that true love really does conquer all … even death.
Being Russian I guess it’s inevitable I should be drawn to the supernatural. The Russians’ love affair with the paranormal goes back a long way. In Norse legends there were two races of people: the warlike Aesir and the fey Vanir. According to the Icelandic chronicler Snorri Sturluson, the source of our knowledge of the Norse myths, the Vanir lived in Vanaheimr that he etymologizes as the “Land of the Don-People”, and the Don is one of Russia’s great rivers. The inference is that Russians have Vanir blood running in their veins.
So it’s hardly surprising that one of the major figures in the psychical ‘sciences’ is a Russian, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Blavatsky came to prominence in the late nineteenth century, as an occultist who claimed to possess powers enabling her to commune with the spirits inhabiting the Summerworld, the transcendental world beyond human consciousness. Whilst she was unmasked in later life to be something of a charlatan there is a strong body of opinion that when she was young Blavatsky had immense psychical abilities, these diminishing with age. This, apparently, is why Blavatsky resorted to trickery in later life, unable to bear the thought of being seen as “normal”. Whatever the truth, I have much sympathy with the teachings of the Theosophical Society she founded whose motto, “There is no Religion higher than Truth” is one all of us − scientists included − would do well to follow.
And then, of course, there is Rasputin. The rumor is that Rasputin was a starets – a Holy Man – of the khlysty sect active in Russia a century ago. Deep in the Siberian forest the dividing line between Christianity and paganism became blurred, the peasants there following dvoeverie – dual faith – the merging of Seidr magic (the magic of the Norse) with Christianity. The khlysty taught that sin is the most effective means of finding God: in a righteous person sin is always followed by great suffering, this resulting in repentance thus bringing the soul nearer to God. This is why the khlysty indulged in radenie or group sinning (better described as an orgy where the participants’ sexual inhibitions are eliminated by dancing, scourging and alcohol). This ecstatic dancing is an echo of the seething of Seidrkonas, the Vanir witches who were the most powerful exponents of Seidr magic.
So with this sort of cultural heritage to draw on is it any wonder I had to flavor “Ghost Love” with a hint of the paranormal. That’s what we daughters of the Vanir are apt to do. Isn’t it...?
Genre: Romance (with a hint of the paranormal)
Date of Publication: 20th January 2015
ISBN: ISBN-13 978-1-60659-849-8
Number of pages: 332
Word Count: 90,000
Cover Artist: Niki Browning
In the madcap, chaotic days when Communism crumbled in the USSR, Tonia meets and falls in love with Englishman, Peter Monroe. Despite the protests of her family and the more strenuous
objections of the KGB Tonia agrees to marry Peter only for him to mysteriously disappear.
Twenty years later a life-toughened Toni must revisit these bitter-sweet memories when she finds herself and her daughters endangered by the consequences of that love affair.
In her despair Toni comes to realise that true love really does conquer all … even death.
Present Day: Dorset, England
Excitement being a kindred spirit to fear, Toni was undecided as to whether it was a trickle of fear she felt shivering down her spine or a trickle of excitement.
As she sat staring at the screen of her laptop, the darkness shrouding the room seemed to draw in on her: her head swam, her palms became clammy. Tears welled up in her eyes. She blinked them away, hoping that by doing so the message on her screen would disappear. It didn’t.
Peter Monroe wants to be friends on Facebook
Hesitantly she maneuvered the cursor over the ‘connect’ button and pressed ‘enter.’ The screen mutated to show the Facebook page for ‘Peter Monroe.’ It was Peter! She recognized the profile photograph instantly. She’d taken it. She remembered posing him in front of the bandstand in Gorki Park on that spring day back in 1990, remembered laughing at the stupid faces he pulled, remembered the way his long chestnut hair flopped over his forehead, remembered…
How could she forget? He had been her one true love.
Love. A word made empty by misuse…by overuse. She wondered how many had ever endured the touch of real love, that soul-eviscerating sensation that comes when you know you have found your soul-mate. Very few, she decided. Perhaps this was all for the good: true love brought anguish in equal measure to joy. As the last twenty years had taught her, finding true love was a bitter-sweet blessing. Her fingers trembled as she typed.
Is it really you, Peter?
The reply was instantaneous.
Yes…I’ve missed you, Tonia.
She couldn’t stop herself: the tears flowed down her cheeks.
She paused, terrified that what she would type next might cause this marvelous mirage to vanish.
But I thought you were dead.
The seconds ticked by, then:
About the Author:
Nelli Rees, born in Moscow, trained as a linguist and a musician. With her future husband Englishman Rod she worked and travelled around Russia, finally coming to live in England in 1998. Nelli has had several successful careers: recording a critically acclaimed nu-jazz album “Jazz Noir”, becoming an award-winning jewellery maker, writing a book “Glass Bead Jewelry Projects”, and doing all this whilst being a mother and a wife. “Ghost Love” is Nelli’s first novel and draws heavily on her own experiences as a young woman in Soviet Russia and the obstacles she and her husband-to-be faced during those difficult times.
Video of Nelli performing "Falling In Love Again":https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2J5Phukc8Y