Kirkus Official Review
A woman recounts her traumatic experiences, her redemptive love, and her abiding faith in God. Nikolov’s debut memoir of her darkly traumatic past begins with her meeting a possible “Mr. Right,” an event she hoped might improve her life’s trajectory. The author, a Cuban-American with strong ties to the Dominican Republic, was on vacation there at Punta Cana with her free-spirited younger sister, Nicole, as the memoir opens. Nicole was eager to meet eligible guys, but Nikolov only wanted to relax and forget about men entirely—until she met “Dr. Boris,” a doctor from Bulgaria, whose gentle nature and dignified, respectful demeanor toward her won her heart and gained her trust. She found herself falling in love with “Bobby,” and this flows freely into the broadening of her memoir to tell her history of stark, almost unrelieved darkness.
As a young girl, she was repeatedly sexually abused by the men in her mother’s life. When her older sister, Michelle, decided to intervene and call the police, the family was broken up, and Nikolov had all of this to confess to “Bobby” in order to be as honest as possible as their relationship deepened. He was unfazed, and the two got married—but the author’s troubles didn’t stop there. The narrative moves through more recounting of domestic stress, including Nikolov’s enjoying crack, which she describes as a “manic speed train out of myself.” Through it all, the author is often restored by her personal religious belief, although some of her faith observations seem a bit facile, shoehorned into the story of a complicated and morally challenging life. That life story is the most effectively done element of the book: Nikolov has a good ear for capturing the interpersonal dynamics of families under all kinds of stress. And the story swings back to an uplifting arc that will work on readers who’ve themselves seen some dark days and wondered if the future could be a little brighter.
A faith-infused, uneven memoir about navigating a turbulent life.
"[Following is an official theusreview.com review of "Love is the Answer, God is the Cure" by Aimee Cabo Nikolov.]
by Aimee Cabo Nikolov
Inspirational Books Publishing
Nikolov’s complex, searching memoir details the severe abuse and trauma which impacted the trajectory of her life. It is also a cathartic account of the faith she holds steadfastly to for survival and how her belief in God enables her to transcend the darkness.
It begins with the remembrance of a call from her nineteen-year-old sister, Nicole, whom she hasn’t seen or spoken to for nine years. They journey together to the Dominican Republic—a vacation gift from their older sister, Michelle, who had an unused honeymoon trip due to her husband’s fear of flying. It is a familiar place for them both. It is also where the author meets her future husband, Dr. Boris, a Bulgarian man working there as a resort doctor. Nikolov’s burgeoning romance with Dr. Boris (Bobby) is clouded by uncertainty and unease that her past, fraught with pain and haunted memories, will be too much for him to bear, but Bobby convinces her with his love and affection to agree to tell him everything.
She revisits her past, beginning at the age of three when her mother meets a trio of men during medical school in the Dominican Republic. Her mother settles with nineteen-year-old Andres, a man the author comes to know as a father and whom she fondly calls Papi. But by age seven, troubling revelations of sexual abuse toward her at the hand of Andres come to light. At first, her mother confronts the abuse then shockingly ignores it, a defining point that marks the genesis of a lifelong struggle for Nikolov. After her sister Michelle discovers the abuse and helps her to safety, the family plunges into despair with the involvement of legal authorities and the infamous “Case from Hell” that splits their family apart.
As a vulnerable Nikolov works through her traumas, she recounts the terrifying dream of a charging “monstrous bull, sent by the devil,” a recurring, hellish vision that torments her. She succumbs to drugs and alcohol as “a very welcome escape.” Throughout her youth and young adulthood, the author confronts the varied men (and women) who take advantage of her as she wrestles with relentless abuse and neglect. She observes the convoluted relationships of her family, celebrates the birth of her children, and honors the love and support of her husband Bobby. She also imparts the significance of her faith and the resolute trust in God that allows her to emerge from unimaginable violence as a stronger woman.
This is a profoundly moving and gracefully rendered memoir of a broken woman’s triumph against the darkness surrounding her. Each chapter begins with prayers or words of inspiration, another clear reference to Nikolov’s faith. Weaving the narrative between past and present, the author juxtaposes them as she navigates through the highs and lows of her life. Her depictions of the harsh environment of her home and abuse as a young girl are arresting and perhaps the most memorable portions of the book. It is evident with each self-realization that Nikolov defies the odds even with “the decks stacked against” her. She grapples with the alienation from those she needs most. She addresses poignant moments of heartache, self-doubt, depression, and the legal machinations that nearly destroy her.
The vivid descriptions of the cruelty inflicted upon her are brutally honest, and Nikolov holds nothing back. The symbolism of the bull threaded throughout her chronicle is a startling image that’s hard to ignore and becomes an unforgettable metaphor for all of her sorrow and agony. Though as unsettling as her past must be, she finds joy and beauty through the gloom with the birth of her daughter, Danielle, whom she protects and nearly loses. She seeks higher education and travels the world. She welcomes the birth of her other children and her marriage to Bobby, a loving relationship that heavily contributes to her success today.
While this lean book doesn’t allow the author much room to explore every detail, person, and event which are only mentioned briefly, the book is structurally sound. Nikolov maintains a mastery over a narrative she never loses control of. It is a timely book and one that joins the ranks of well-remembered memoirs. It is a candid story of a woman’s fight with the demons that torture her and the victory over them. She skillfully explores within these pages the horror and the goodness of our humanity and how one can persevere in the face of tremendous odds. By its end, the reader no doubt will respect her and feel compelled to share her story.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review
"[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Love is the Answer, God is the Cure" by Aimee Cabo Nikolov.]
She could not bear it any longer. The beatings, the violations of her body, it all had to stop. Her older sister, Michelle, was her only hope. She would have to beg Michelle to take her away from this madness for good. Author Aimee Cabo Nikolov tells her life story of pain and triumph in Love is the Answer, God is the Cure.
Aimee met the man of her dreams and fell in love on a relaxing vacation in the Dominican Republic. Bobby was kind, gentle, a doctor. Aimee hoped to marry a doctor. Still, it was only fair for Aimee to let Dr. Boris Nikolov know what he was getting himself into with her. If he could love her after learning about her past, he would be a keeper.
The only place to start was at the beginning. Aimee’s mother, a respected neurologist, married 19-year-old Andreas at the age of thirty. She left Aimee and her brothers and sisters in her new husband’s care as she worked long hours. The molestation began when Aimee was seven, and her step-father began to regularly rape her when she was twelve. Aimee’s older sister, Michelle, was now married with a baby of her own. She came home to check on her younger siblings and was horrified to find out that Andreas was not only molesting Aimee, but he was violating her to the worst possible degree. Michelle and Aimee could not trust their mother. She had protected her husband in the past. Now, to save themselves and their siblings, the two sisters begin an emotional and legal battle against the two people who were supposed to keep them safe.
Aimee’s story captivated me from page one. To be perfectly honest, I became somewhat obsessed with this story for days. This family was prominently featured in local Miami, and at times, national news for almost thirty years. Not only did I read this book, I read as many news articles that I could find about Aimee and her family. I truly admire Aimee’s strength and bravery. She has endured unimaginable pain and devastation but maintains a strong sense of faith and optimism. This is an engaging story and a thrilling read.
This book is skillfully written and organized. There were a few minor grammar and editing errors, but these did not cause a distraction. I recommend this book to non-fiction readers who enjoy intense memoirs.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This is a well-written and well-organized book. Aimee’s story is a thrilling, yet in many ways romantic, page-turner. This memoir highlights the importance of true love and the power of faith.
Love is the Answer, God is the Cure
View: on Bookshelves, www. onlinebookclub.org"
Aimee Cabo Nikolov’s memoir, Love is the Answer, God is the Cure, is a story of true grit, courage and impenetrable faith. It is not only an apropos title, but it’s also a beacon of light to shine on how to overcome and cope with egregious tragedies bestowed upon a human life.
There are certain events that change the course of a life irrevocably. After enduring terrible sexual abuse as a child, Aimee Cabo Nikolov had to overcome homelessness, substance abuse, and years of custody battles to create a better future for her first daughter. In her debut memoir, “God is the Answer, Love is the Cure” Nikolov tells her story with honesty and vulnerability. What in the beginning reads as a tragedy transforms into a story about falling in love—with the right man and with life itself—showing the reader that no tragedy is too great to overcome and how hope and faith can guide us through even the darkest of times.
G. W., author
Aimee Cabo Nikolov’s book begins with the start of a love story where both people trust their gut and move forward only after knowing each other a very short time. The two lovers just knew that they had met “the one.” In the story, she warns him that there is much to know about her. And then Ms. Nikolov begins her story of having been so abused as a child that it made national newspapers, was abandoned by her family, accused of being a liar, and only a team of lawyers and therapists believed in her. She had nowhere to go and went on the run. She has a child and that child is what keeps her head above water, even when Ms. Nikolov is in some stormy seas. She gives her child what she never got herself. Along the way, she has to do whatever she can for money to support them, fight drug addiction because of all the pain she is in, and fight the cruelty of the child’s father who ceaselessly sues Ms. Nikolov for child custody for not one year, but sixteen years. Along the way, Ms. Nikolov never loses her pure spirit. Why? Because of her belief in God. She always pulls through. She builds a life with the strong, loving man she meets and together they continue battling for her daughter, in more ways than one. Life keeps throwing terrible struggles at Ms. Nikolov, but she always stands up to them and overcomes, with her faith, and her understanding that the priority in life is love, not bitterness. The story is told honestly, clearly and without frills. Each chapter takes you further on her journey and, just when you think she is safe, she isn’t. Ms. Nikolov’s honesty and kindness always shines through and the book inspires with how a soul that believes manages to always find the way to the Good. Ms. Nikolov built a life all of us can admire, with having had everything against her. The book, even with all the sadness of her life, is upbeat and a beautiful romance. It proves that all of us can overcome with an insistence and willingness to go toward Love.
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Love is the Answer, God is the Cure" by Aimee Cabo Nikolov.]
4 out of 4 stars
A heartrending memoir that brings to light the terminal effects of child sexual abuse. In Love is the Answer, God is the Cure, Aimee Cabo Nikolov suffers under the hands of her step-father. When she turns to her mother the blame shifts to Nikolov. She lives feeling guilty of exposing her pain and the actions of her perpetrator to the public and jeopardizing her family.
This begins a cycle of destruction. Multiple times she suffers sexual abuse from other rapists. In a bid to escape the horrors she experiences at home, she moves in with Brent, a nice-looking young man who seems to have everything together. The abuse turns physical and she runs from him to protect her unborn baby. By this time, the horrendous effects of the physical and sexual abuse have caught up with her and the only way she can numb the pain is through drugs. Still, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The memoir is well-written, providing glances, scenes and painful moments of the author’s life through years of custody battles, sexual and physical abuse, addiction and loss. I was able to feel Nikolov’s determination to survive it all sometimes barely pulling through. When her daughter, Danielle fights for her life in hospital, it is Nikolov’s faith and the love of her husband, Bobby, which pull her through.
In between the fast-paced account of the author’s life, Nikolov exposes the atmosphere that allows child molesters like her step-father to escape their charges, the unconcerned parent, the exposure to potential child molesters, the absence of someone to approach or freely talk to, the continuous blame game where the child is made to feel “guilty” as if they have done something wrong. She brings to light the devastating impact of a heinous crime that many choose to ignore and look away from. It is frustrating that even after she got irrefutable proof of Andres’ actions, he did not suffer the full measure of his crimes.
The account was truly inspirational to me and I believe that it will help victims who have suffered similar circumstances in their lives. They will be able to relate to Nikolov’s experiences and gain strength and insight from them. Her relentless faith in God and her love for her daughter are heart-warming amidst the pain and fight for survival.
Love is the Answer, God is the Cure by Aimee Cabo Nikolov is an affecting memoir of one woman’s journey to find her place in a cruel world. Any reader interested in memoirs will find her story deeply impacting while victims who have battled the effects of child sexual abuse will find the book more than inspirational. I rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
In Love is the Answer, God is the Cure Aimee tells us of her difficult life. We start with her reconnecting with her sister Nicole from whom she's been mostly estranged. Michelle (another of her sisters) has given them a honeymoon package to use to get to know each other again. It is there that Aimee meets the love of her life, Bobby. It's at this point she starts telling Bobby (and consequently the reader) her story.
Aimee's life has not been easy. In fact, it's been highly publicized in a case most would know as "The Case from Hell." Her mother and stepfather fight against the system - and Aimee herself - to win back custody of Aimee and the rest of their children. Why? Aimee's mother doesn't believe that her stepfather has been abusing her. And this is only the beginning of the author's difficult journey.
First, I would like to say that the author's tale is a harrowing one. It's unbelievable all that the Ms. Nikolov goes through, and the writing itself was a catharsis. Therefore, no matter what I say about the book, I applaud the author for having the courage to put herself out there in this way. I believe that there are others who have been in the same spot - or perhaps are IN that position - that would greatly benefit from the courage that Aimee shows. That is one of the biggest strengths of this book.
I also appreciated the fact that, while the abuse is in no way minimized, the explicit details are mostly left out. I don't believe it's of much benefit for us to know play by play what happened as some are wont to do in their stories. For that reason, this book appeals to a wider audience, both those that are squeamish as well as older teenagers.
Overall, Love is the Answer, God is the Cure is a remarkable tale of survival that has its place in literature. I would recommend this book to those that have gone through, are going through or have family members suffering from abuse.