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on 16 November 2013
After really enjoying The Bronze Horseman (up until the last part), Tatiana And Alexander was a bit of a let down.

The Summer Garden lacks the gripping plot lines that were present in much of The Bronze Horseman, instead consisting almost entirely of overly-long, rambling sex scenes. The timelines are often hard to follow, and it lacks The Bronze Horseman's rich historical detail. The main characters are far too self-absorbed and sex-obsessed to be likeable, yet you get the impression that the reader is expected to idolise them.

The Summer Garden is readable, but the quality of the writing and the epic scale of the novel deserve a story of better substance and characters the reader can care about.
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on 23 June 2017
A good author who writes engaging romantic historical stories; this one is part of a trilogy.
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on 18 May 2016
Love Alexander and Tatia!!!
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on 18 June 2017
Amazing all three of the books
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For me, this was one of those books like the Stephanie Meyer Twilight (Twilight Saga) series that I kept wanting to resist but just loved anyway.

I loved The Bronze Horseman in the same way, was almost relieved that Tatiana and Alexander failed to live up to the original but completely succumbed again to Simmons spell in this book.

Fitting chronologically between the other two books, this tells the story of Alexander's return and the struggle for him to recover some kind of life and relationship with Tatiana after the war. It then moves onto the story of their children, especially Antony, the boy Tatiana was pregnant with at the end of Bronze Horeseman. Grown up, he goes to Vietnam in emulation of his father and has to fight his own war.

Ideologically this is so wrong: Tatiana is 'punished' for having a job and some form of independance, puts up with everything that Alexander deals out and yet loves him unconditionally anyway. But the strength of Simmons' writing carries you along with this despite the protests of your head and the tangible feel of the emotional between our protagonists makes this something really special.

So, as an almost reluctant reader, I completely fell under Simmons' spell again: not quite as good as the Bronze Horeseman but a novel that I completely adored anyway.
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on 16 December 2005
at long last...the finale to the greatest love story, of tatia and shura....
i realy wasnt sure i wanted to read more due to the love story of the two being young....to see them grow old was something that took my mind a while to adjust to. i did enjoy the book, paullina is brilliant. no doubt about it. i look forward to more from her and the ending saga of the barringtons was emotional. yet again we are under the paullina simons spell. sleepless nights whilst we read'one more chapter-then i will go to bed', the endless thoughts going through your head wondering whats coming up next in the book, it's sad it's heart wrencing. it's happy. thankyou paullina and goodbye tatiana and alexander i've had immense pleasure in being drawn in to your lives!!!
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VINE VOICEon 5 January 2008
'The Bronze Horseman' and 'Tatiana and Alexander' were two parts of a story that I thoroughly enjoyed - PS's characterisation and plot were faultless and it was with trepidation and surprise that I picked up this, the third novel to the series - I felt 'Tatiana and Alexander'finished off this tale nicely.
As much as it pains me to say, I just didn't enjoy it as much as the first two (...but then I LOVED the first two...) and found myself speed reading the flashbacks to Tatiana's childhood and wondering where else we could possibly be taken in terms of storyline. Parts of it were engrossing and everything I have come to expect of a novel from PS, but other parts were dull and lacking in movement. It also 'felt' different from the first two - whereas their love for each other made me weep then, in this part, I just felt it was all a little overdone and, dare I say it, bordering on tedious...
I know I'll be upsetting other diehard PS fans, but I feel I need to ne honest, buy the other two definately but save this one for a rainy day...
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on 11 February 2008
I'm absolutely enamored with this series!

In the first two novels in the Bronze Horseman trilogy by Paullina Simons, she throws our two protags, Alexander and Tatiana, into peril from the outset- starting with the siege of Leningrad during WWII on through their eventual escape to America in the late 1940's.

When the second book ended, I couldn't see how Simon's could squeeze any more gripping material out of Tatiana and Alexander's lives. But she wonderfully surprised me.

As the blurb for The Summer Garden states, their story was only beginning.

The Summer Garden starts where the story left off before the epilogue of Tatiana and Alexander(Or The Bridge to Holy Cross to you Brits and Ozzies!). Though Alexander has joined Tatiana and their son Anthony in the US, part of him is still in the gulag Tatiana rescued him from, unable to move forward and unable to allow himself to live after seeing, and causing, so much death and destruction.

But Tatiana is a fierce one and doesn't give up so easily. They travel all over the US trying to find a place they can call home, and along the way, bring him to a place of healing. I found this one to be much more sexual then the first two- almost erotic really- but that too had it's purpose, a metaphor if you will, for the spiritual melding their marriage so desperately needed after their time apart.

They travel all over the US trying to find a place to call home, and along the way, bring Alexander to a place of healing. They end up in Arizona, on a parcel of land Tatiana bought with the money Alexander's mother horded away after his father zealously gave up their US citizenship and hauled his family to the Soviet Union during the pre-war years.

You would think that after all they had been through- sieges, starvation and the total destruction of their families and homeland- that all the pain was behind them and that nothing could break them. But you would be wrong. They find that peaceful life can be way may more dangerous with it's insidious fingers plucking at them until they become something they never thought they would.

This is why I fell for this book in a much deeper way then even the first two. I have found in life that the big things, like death and pain, are far easier to survive then the little things that can eat you away before you even realize it. Like the slow dripping of water that erodes a massive stone, we are often unaware of the things that constantly hit us until all that we thought we were is almost totally gone. Although the big things define us and show us what we can be, it's the little things and how we deal with them, that show us what we are. And so it was for Tatiana and Alexander.

We follow them through the years, through bad decisions and successes, births and deaths, through children growing up and themselves growing apart ... and back together again, until the very end when we see them with their family, white haired but still in as much love as the day when Alexander crossed the street to meet a skinny blond hair girl innocently eating ice cream, waiting for her life to begin.

Alexander is the ultimate Alpha hero. Strong, brooding, flawed and intense. Despite outward appearances, Tatiana has a core of steel and an insight into human nature that matches him pound for pound. The little tidbits of Tatiana's former life that Simons throws into The Summer Garden, only reinforces that fact, and I for one loved that part of the story telling, though I can imagine some people would have found it extraneous.

Tatiana and Alexander's love was so deep, so intense, that it became their greatest strength as well as their greatest weakness and it became the strength of these novels as well.

Although I know these books are not for everyone- their huge, sweeping and daunting at times- they are so worth the time invested. My wish is for everyone to find a book that moves them as much as these have with me!
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on 6 November 2005
'The Summer Garden' is the third epic love story of Tatiana and Alexander, who were first introduced to us in 'The Bronze Horseman'. While it's content and style aren't to the standard of it's predecesors, fans of the first two novels will be gripped by the shocking plot and enduring love of the two central characters.
'The Summer Garden' tells the story that 'The Bridge to Holy Cross' (or 'Tatiana and Alexander') only briefly skimmed over - the period from Alexander's return onwards. It is largely centred around Alexander's battle with the emotional scars of war and his son Anthony's determination to prove himself to his father. The result is a tense and emotional drama, although it is likely to be more thoroughly enjoyed by those familiar with the characters.
Every sentence in the novel oozes the sentimental and almost haunting, emotional style of Paullina Simmons, so fans of the author will not be disappointed. Tatiana and Alexander are recreated so vividly for the final saga, and Anthony and Vikki, who readers will remember from the last book, were also well constructed by the author.
The one disappointing aspect of the novel was that, in my opinion, it continued for too long, resulting in a somewhat scrappy ending. A number of characters were introduced in the last few chapters of the novel, leaving the reader with little time to get to know them, which basically created confusion. The ending was also a case of telling the reader a bit more than we needed to know - some things are best left to the imagination, especially when the reader is so well acquainted with and fond of the central characters.
Essentially, however, it is another magnificent novel, highly recommended to fans and beginners alike. I would definitely recommend, however, that the first two books have been read before attempting 'The Summer Garden', or I don't think the plot can be appreciated at all.
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on 13 January 2010
The final book in the trilogy. I eventually finished it a couple of days ago (after putting it away for a bit) and didn't want to review straight away because I wanted to ponder it for a while.

The Bronze Horseman and Tatiana and Alexander were amazing. Though I never expected to enjoy them as much as I did, I thought they were incredible stories of love against a backdrop of war, which is maybe why The Summer Garden was a bit more... flat in my opinion. In this book, Tatiana and her Shura are finally reunited with their son Anthony (a bit of a mummy's boy but who can blame him?) in the US. Cue Alexander's nightmares of the horror of war and his adjustment to civilian life (which takes up practically half the book) and their struggle to basically make a new life together.

Don't get me wrong, aspects of this book I really liked- Tatiana and Alexander's determination to provide for their family, Tatiana's flashback's to growing up as a girl in Leningrad, the two of them growing older... and the eventual ending, whilst being a bit *too* fairytale and dare I say it, long-winded, was a satisfying conclusion to a remarkable journey.

What I hated: Alexander comes across as a bit of a b*****d through most of the story and Tatiana is depicted as fairly weak as she lets him booze with his friends and do what he wants when it comes to his working life. In neither of the other two books was she remotely weak, so that was a bit irritating. She does finally grow a spine again, but in my opinion it was too late. Also- whilst the Vietnam plot was fascinating, it was fairly predictable what was going to happen there. I can think of lots of other things, but these two immediately spring to mind.

I'm not sorry I read this book, not for one minute; just don't expect it to live up to the first two novels because it doesn't.
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