Friday, June 14, 2013

The Summer Garden Book Review

Rawr Reader,

   I read a review saying this was the most emotional of the three to read. Hold on let me grab my box of tissues. Okay I'm back. Let's do this. *sniffs*

   This is the final book in the Bronze Horseman trilogy by Paullina Simons. The Summer Garden's synopsis is provided by Goodreads:

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 first and second books in the trilogy. I first heard of the first book by the booktuber Littlebookowl. The first two books have reviews and can be found in May's reviews.

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
    Wait a second. Wait-- what? Is that tears? Holy crap, I never thought a book could make me cry. And here I am. Ugh, I'm such a baby. No, seriously, the emotions from this book are too much for me to handle. I'll come back in a little while I wait for the story to sink in.

     Alright, after a couple hours I'm back, and yes, the emotions were too much. While I took a break following the second book after immediately starting after finishing the first book consecutively, I needed a break. While the books for the most part aren't sad sad, they can be a little overwhelming and emotionally stick with you. So, I needed a break before I finished this epic love story. And I'm so happy I did, because the ending was just what I hoped for-- a simple, straightforward ending.
     In the weeks it took me to read through them, I've lived a lifetime with them, growing and loving this couple so much. They have their flaws, both of them, but with these flaws are just what made them have flesh, have scars, have wounds, have memories. These memories made their lives extend, tearing down the fourth wall and charging into the real world. Out of all the books I've read, I've never been so completely flummoxed because everything I read about was fictional. This charming Alex and loyal Tania aren't real. They fought against war, winter, starvation, against years of separation, against post-war scars, against governments searching for them. 
    Something I had the most trouble with was the dialogue for the children. At first I didn't quite catch it, but this book is very long and the more I read the more I began to notice it. While I believe Anthony to be a smart young boy, in the beginning he was only 4 and I thought he was very smart, he spoke to articulately for his age. Speaking in grammatically correct sentences and was so perceptive like he was ten years his age. I don't know if it was just a nit picky thing, but it bothered me until he was older and it was more natural.
     I can definitely understand why I've read this book is the most emotional. After the first and second book, where they meet in the first and then are separated in the second, the third one they are reunited and need to function by raising their four year old. The first couple years are rough since they need to adjust, especially Alexander since he was in the middle of war for years and was pretty scarred by it, but their love prevails and against all odds they fight to stay together. Yes, there are moments where their loyalties and affections are tested, and I won't spoil what happens, but they are definitely suspenseful, very emotional moments. 
    While the first book is set in a time frame of a year and a half, the second is set in a frame of about four years, but this one transcends past a handful years, beginning from when Alexander returns to America and follows their lives for years onward. A lot of years.
    But no matter by the end of the book, you'll have grown with Alex and Tania and be as perplexed at I am at how the author was able to create this world. While yes, is the same world as our own, but it's a world where our protagonists are so closely affected and involved in wars and movements in the 20th century. And how they grow with them, how they're changed by them, and if they choose whether to choose their love over the turmoils of life.

I give this book 4/5 stars. I like the first book the most, but I still really liked this one.

I give this amazing love epic 5/5 stars. (I'm just ignoring the second book even if it is important.) :P

Author's Quote:
"Tatiasha, I know you won't believe this, but if I'm looking at the sheets when I'm making love to you, we've got a bigger problem than what damn color they are.” 
― Alexander, Paullina Simons, The Summer Garden

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
finish Under the Dome by Stephen King
Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
    Guess which part I teared in? I'll give you a hint-- it wasn't when Alexander was trying to save their marriage after cheating on Tatiana (though that was a very suspenseful chapter)-- it was at the end. I absolutely love the ending, the author was so smart to loop the ending with reenacting their first meeting. Not only was it adorable, it 
    As the story progressed from the beginning, I want to guess not 100 pages, I really felt bad for young Anthony. Maybe because the author focused mainly on Alex and Tania, but I felt like they neglected Antman most of the time. The only time we really spent time with him was when Alex and Tania were fighting, or when he was trying to separate them when fighting, or when he walked in on them having sex. Which I found as hilarious as awkward. Even when he defended his mom from the strong father, she still sided with Alex.  
    I know that I live in the era where the right for people to speak and express their opinion is openly and encouragingly practiced, so it was really hard for me to grasp why Tania never spoke up for herself. Every time I wanted her to argue with Alex or defend herself, she would just stay quiet. What angered me even more was when the author would blurp a chapter in Tania's youth where she would be living with Dasha and Pasha near Lake Luga I think it was, and she would show Tania standing up for herself. It really just showed how submissive, almost how easily submissive she was to Alex and I felt myself disliking Tania so much throughout the book. Actually books, but particularly this book. Because apparently all Alex had to do to shut Tania up was have sex with her. Like seriously, making us women look bad to the men folk! :P
     While at first I didn't understand why the author kept blurping chapters from Tania's youth several times in the book, by the end when she told the story of Tania lost in the woods for several times it made sense. And unlike the chapters earlier, I was curious as to what happened that almost cost Tania her life. In fact, I remember detesting the chapters in the second book too because so many chapters were blurps of Alex's youth and sometimes Tania's and they seemed very irrelevant. But in this book, I didn't mind as much.
     When Anthony was reported missing, I had a feeling at some point it was going to be Alex who would leave to go find him. And then it happened! I felt so smart. And I was plunged back into war again. I followed most of the action, until they were running away from the Kum Kau village and back to a helicopter I became confused. Although not as confused as when the men were standing around kitchen island and discussing Anthony taking the President's offer. Stuff about SDI and space signals and I was so lost. Which brings me to something that wasn't explained-- Anthony said he had good news and bad news, but we only heard the bad.
     Another thing I didn't really understand that was not fully explained was the inclusion near around page 200, when Dennis Burck told Alex that his mother was still alive. I figured, oh great, Alex is going to go back to Russia to look for her. But then 50 pages and nothing. 100 pages and nothing. 200 pages. After which, many years has passed and I just figured that he just wasn't going to go. Sad yet it wasn't wrong, why should he trust the man who wanted to send him back to Russia in the first place, the fact that it might be true was hard to ignore-- since it was Alex's mother they were talking about. The mother who saved $10,000 which opened the doors for Alex ever since he learned of it (from Dimitri helping him, buying land which in the future became a good investment, allowed Tania to begin a life with their newborn son). I felt the mother was probably the most player who allowed so much for her only son, and she was dismissed so easily. I thought maybe Alex would ask around, but he didn't. I can see why Tania would be so dismissive of it, even if it was from a guy like Burck, but still, without the mother there wouldn't be an Alex and there would be no Bronze Horseman trilogy. And that would be a sad world indeed.

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

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