Above is the cover of my new novel – For the Love of a Poet – which is set in the Soviet Union of the 1930s when Josef Stalin was in charge. The novel’s narrator –Tanya – is a young copy editor on PRAVDA in Moscow when she meets a dissident poet – Beretzkoy – […]

Above is the cover of my new novel – For the Love of a Poet – which is set in the Soviet Union of the 1930s when Josef Stalin was in charge.

The novel’s narrator –Tanya – is a young copy editor on PRAVDA in Moscow when she meets a dissident poet – Beretzkoy – whom she has been admiring for a long time. He is married and the father of two sons, yet she allows her admiration for him to develop into a very deep love. He falls in love with her too.

Tanya, in narrating the story of their life together, also tells of life under Stalin, of his collectivisation policy when millions died either of starvation or in hard labour camps, of his Chekists (secret police), his purges, and his persecution of Russia’s intellectuals.

Tanya and Beretzkoy are based on people who had really existed. Some of the other characters in the novel also existed.

As I write in ‘Author’s Note’ in the front of the book:

You will recognise some of the names in the novel. For example the names Trotsky … Gorky … Krupskaya … Yaroslavsky … Yakoda … Tukhachevsky … Mussolini … Hitler, and of course Lenin and Stalin. It would have been impossible to have written this novel without having brought real people into it.

Josef Stalin

Josef Stalin

You must have been watching the news on television, or reading the papers, to find out what the latest news in the Ukraine is. You will therefore know that Vladimir Putin is being vilified as someone who is trying to revive the Soviet Union.

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

I’ve twice written about what is going on in the Ukraine and Russia on this website and you can read it here and here. I am sure that you have your own thoughts on what is going on there, but do read my novel and you will have a clearer view of what Russia was like once – AND IS NO LONGER.


You may wonder why I have written this novel.

This may be no reason at all, but Russia has fascinated me since my childhood. My family said that this interest was genetic. Yes, so it may be: my mother’s family hailed from Russia and from Poland when the latter was under Russian administration. I did not of course know these people – they had died before I was born – but as is said ‘blood is thicker than water’.

My real interest in Russia began with the Russian writers.

Who to mention?

Tolstoy – first of all. Pasternak; Dostoevsky; Chekov; Turgenev; Gogol. Shall I stop now? But no, there is Mandelstam, and Pushkin, and Solzhenitsyn. And so on and so on.

The young Boris Pasternak at work

The young Boris Pasternak at work

Then, I had become interested in Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas 11.

Next, I had to know about the Russian Revolution; about Lenin and Stalin. Trotsky. Etc Etc.

Of course I had to visit Russia. It was as a tourist. Russia was then still the Soviet Union and InTourist would not let me out of its sight.

And one day I began writing a novel set in Stalin’s Russia and now it has been published, and here I am, living in Paris and telling you about it.

So far For the Love of a Poet has been published only as a paperback, but it will, any day now, also be published as an e-book.

You can order the novel from any amazon site; for example here and here and here.

This is what someone on my facebook page today wrote  about For the Love of a Poet:

 This story is exciting for several reasons : the protagonists so endearing, the charismatic presence of a great poet, the scary atmosphere of the USSR, the terrifying grip of Stalin : this is a book which should have a film extension. Congratulations, Marilyn. Great achievement.

(Should you be French and a publisher, do know that For the Love of a Poet has been translated into French and is available for publication.)



Marilyn Z. Tomlins

5 Responses

5-13-2014 at 00:32:16

Hi Marilyn,

Thank you for writing about the Ukraine and Russia. Without a knowledge of history, the readers of the MSM are spoon-fed propaganda from all venues. Well, you know me, I find today’s political news quite interesting and kept me busy …

Making An Enemy – Demonizing Putin Endangers America’s Security

5-13-2014 at 09:12:36


Every day I have discussions with people who repeat, like parrots, what they’ve heard on TV news the evening before. When I try to explain the situation to them, they call me a ‘communist’. Therefore what can one do. Watch perhaps? For some time now I’ve known that this is a news network that gives another interpretation of the news.

5-13-2014 at 13:49:20

There are a few independent sources: Dutch entrepreneur Derek Sauer and The Moscow Times, Mark Ames writes about Putin and Russia, although his blog was eXiled by Moscow, and this article about the Ukraine written at Readers Supported News.

I’m bitterly disappointed by France24, BBC in UK, New York Times, Al Jazeera and indeed also Russia Today. I do watch certain shows and documentaries, as they can be all revealing or just to witness an opposing view.

Your PM Cameron made some astounding remarks a few days ago.

5-13-2014 at 17:31:13

Oui, is doing what Al-Jazeera did: taking the best reporters of CNN, BBC, Sky etc away. I suppose they are offering much higher salaries, longer holidays etc.

I used to watch Al-Jazeera English for another view on world news, but I now prefer to watch I do not like all their anchors and reporters, but on the whole, I like the network. There are times though that their Russian propaganda is just too much, even for me.

I also used to watch France24 English, but no longer do so. It is poor reporting.

BBCWorld I can no longer capture on my Cable TV. Ditto for Sky.

It will be interesting to see how Obama, Hollande, Merkel, Cameron etc will behave towards Putin next June 6 at the commemoration of D-Day 1944. I bet they will fall all over him (as usual) and many people who never search further for info than the popular news networks, will not understand what is going on.

I shared your boomantribune pieces about Putin on my fb page, twitter and so on.

5-13-2014 at 19:06:47


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