Title: Affair in Athens
Author: Matina Nicholas
Genre: Literary Fiction
Release Date: April 1, 2013
Fulfilling her mother’s dying wish to discover her roots, Athena Vallas journeys to Greece and finds more than history as she reunites with a part of her family she didn’t know existed. While documenting her grandfather’s heroic role as a Greek Orthodox priest in Plaka, sheltering Jews during the Resistancein WWII, Athena meets Luke, a dangerously charismatic man who sees her as the ideal wife. Drawn into an extravagant lifestyle, her attraction to Luke is intense until she discovers that he plays a high stakes game of illegal pursuits. When she attempts to distance herself, Luke refuses to relinquish his plans. Ruthlessly, he keeps his eye on the prize—Athena—who won’t compromise love for wealth or fidelity for lifestyle. Affair in Athens includes a set of authentic Greek recipes at the back of the book, passed down through Matina’s family. Read, eat, and enjoy!
The old priest’s Byzantine chant, the heady smokiness of burning incense, the power of icons hundreds of years old staring down on her intoxicated her senses. She looked about the ancient Greek Orthodox church tucked under the Parthenon with a deep sense of awe and respect. This was where her grandfather had been priest for fifty years, where her mother had been christened and prayed and left behind so long ago. There were no pews, no chairs in this church. After all, “orthodox” meant upright. Dozens of candles in ornate brass candelabras flickered and cast mysterious shadows.
Athena’s eyes brimmed with tears. The altar swam before her. She was overwhelmed with a sense of coming home, of belonging. She knelt, covering her face with her hands, remembering her mother’s last days. Filled with love for her daughter, Amalia grieved that she would not live to see Athena married or have children. How could any daughter deny her mother’s last wish? Athena had promised to visit the tiny church in Plaka, learn of her Greek roots and her grandfather’s role in sheltering Jews during the Resistance.
Tears slipped through her fingers and dropped to the stone floor, the same stones where her grandparents had stood when they married, baptized their children, where their coffins had rested before they were buried. This was where her grandfather and his parishioners heroically stood when the Nazis trained their machine guns on them—Father Peter, in his black robes, face and arms raised in prayer, radiating strength and courage to his parishioners as they stood facing him. They had done God’s will by hiding and smuggling the Salonika Jews out of Athens into the remote countryside. “Pater Ev-lo-i-son Emas. Father bless us,” they chanted, their voices abruptly silenced by the sharp, staccato bursts of the machine guns.
“My daughter.” Athena felt strong hands on her shoulders. She raised her tear-stained face to see an old priest in the customary black robes, looking down at her. His bright blue eyes peered over his wire spectacles, his face creased in concern. “I am Father Nicholas. My child, how can I help you?” His English was quite good.
With a background in English and Education, and a dedication to transmit her love of writing to her students, Matina Nicholas taught writing and literature at university and high school levels. She has been published in educational texts, professional periodicals, and journals. Currently, she writes for the Condo News under the name Tina Chippas. Her writing pieces can be read at condonewsonline.com under Commentary and Essays.
A confirmed dog-lover, Matina is involved with her two dogs, Chelsea, a geriatric-but-far-from-over-the-hill toy red poodle and Lukie, a spunky, stubby Miniature Pinscher. Their eagerness for adventure and fine canine dining is the source for some of her essays for the Condo News.
This is her first novel.