Review of The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons

Happy Monday word nerds!! I used my weekend to finally (after weeks of dragging my feet and refusing to go on!) finish up the Bronze Horseman trilogy… You guys! I seriously gave Jen so much crap for making me read this series. I did not make it easy on her at any point in time. But I think it also really opened up a lot of awesome conversations that I loved! So without further ado….

Title: The Summer Garden
Author: Paullina Simons
Published: June 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction, Love (because it is not a romance!)

The Magnificent Conclusion to the Timeless Epic Saga

Through years of war and devastation, Tatiana and Alexander suffered the worst the twentieth century had to offer. Miraculously reunited in America, they now have a beautiful son, Anthony, the gift of a love strong enough to survive the most terrible upheavals. Though they are still young, the ordeals they endured have changed them–and after living apart in a world laid waste, they must now find a way to live together in postwar America.

With the Cold War rising, dark forces at work in their adopted country threaten their lives, their family, and their hard-won peace. To regain the happiness they once knew, to wash away the lingering pain of the past, two lovers grown distant must somehow forge a new life . . .or watch the ghosts of their yesterdays destroy their firstborn son.

The Summer Garden . . . their odyssey is just beginning.

You guys! I know I totally skipped the review for book two but I feel okay with that because I can do what I want… Well okay, I feel okay because this one really can include all of the books. I feel like I should warn you guys that this review may contain spoilers. I know *gasp!* but I don’t know if I can get out the words I need to get out without some form of spoiler, especially for those of you that like to go in completely blind. So now that you have been warned…

This book is one of the best books I have ever read and the trilogy has found a spot permanently on my favorites list. I have never read a book that has evoked such emotions and stayed so true to the story being told. I was really nervous because I accidentally saw a review when I was looking the book up on Amazon and it said something along the lines of “the way they (Tatiana and Alexander) act like their child is just an inconvenience is awful!” The reason I don’t read reviews on most books until after reading them is that I don’t want to go in with any expectations or clouded judgments which is what happened here. And then I read the book and laughed. That reviewer was a little crazy. If anyone has been a parent they have to know that sometimes when you want an intimate moment with the love of your life that you just got back after years of separation it can be a little hard to have a kid basically attached to your hip.  That is called being a parent. I hide from my kids regularly and I still love them. But back on point!

Paullina did not pull punches. Her characters stayed accurate to the time period and the story did not give false happiness just to be a good book. This is a raw and heartwrenching tale of two people who fell in love in an awful time with every obstacle against them but still managed to create a beautiful life.  At times I wanted to throw this book and yell at Alexander and Tatiana. At other times I wanted to hug them and tell them that it would all be okay. This was a raw and true telling of how hard life can be, even when you are married to the other half of your soul. Nobody is perfect and war causes trauma.

When I finished reading the last page of this amazing love story I texted Jen and told her I was sorry for all of the mean things I said because this ending was worth every single heartbreak it took to get there. This trilogy is not for the weak. It is awful and powerful. It will rip your heart out and dance on the ruined remains. But it will also remind you that love is worth the fight. If you are brave enough go get this book right now! I promise I will walk through it with you and take your angry messages when you absolutly hate what is going on.

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