The Summer Garden: A Novel

The Summer Garden: A Novel

by Paullina Simons

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The epic and monumental love story Paullina Simons began with her adored international bestseller The Bronze Horseman comes to a breathtaking conclusion. The Summer Garden is the third volume in Simons’s magnificent trilogy—a Russian Thorn Birds—which follows a love that survived the terrible siege of Leningrad during World War Two, a heartbreaking separation and a glorious reunion in America, only to be supremely tested by the hatred, fear, and uncertainty of the Cold War. You will never forget the lovers Tatiana and Alexander and their story of enduring love and commitment, and you will cherish every moment spent in The Summer Garden.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062087973
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/21/2011
Series: The Bronze Horseman , #3
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 752
Sales rank: 65,879
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Paullina Simons is the author of Tully and The Bronze Horseman, as well as ten other beloved novels, a memoir, a cookbook, and two children’s books. Born in Leningrad, Russia, Paullina immigrated to the United States when she was ten, and now lives in New York with her husband and an alarming number of her once-independent children.

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Summer Garden 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 114 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now this book is very different from the first two books, but still very good. Instead of seeing your sweet love story you saw in the first book, the relationship is now more realistic, dealing real life problems. Their relationship has their problems (what relationship doesn't), but you still see that they love to each other. I don't agree with the other reviews on this story, that not only ruin the book before you read it, but claims disappointment that their love is not an 'oh so perfect love'. However, I think the author tries to make their relationship more like the relationships you do see around your own world. She has them overcome problems and shows their agony and disappointments in each other and how they deal with it. Now my only problem with this book is towards the end... too many things going on with the children and their children's children that it gets a bit chaotic, but by the time you make it to the last chapter, it ends quite simply, it ends how we all imagine true love, 'oh so perfect love', to end... to grow old with each other...
nyauthoress More than 1 year ago
The intensity and passion of the first two novels is shifted as Tatia and Shura, forever changed by years of war-torn separation, relearn who they are as a couple. They survived terrible upheavals in The Bronze Horseman and distance and loss in Tatiana and Alexander. Now, two very changed people doggedly renew their enduring love, seize the happiness they once knew, and forge ahead in America to reclaim their life together. Sound like a fairy tale? It is not because the adjustments necessary to rekindle their lost love are heart wrenching and difficult. Their commitment to each other, however, is unfailing. Their young son, Anthony, captures the irony of his parents' transitions early on when he says, "My dad was a major (in the war), but now he's a lobsterman." They live in Maine. Shortly later, they move to a houseboat in Miami. San Antonio, Texas. New Mexico. The Napa Valley of California. Each move brings excruciatingly slow healing. Alexander recovers from PTSD. Tatiana strives to soothe him and reignite their former passion. Their son, Anthony, tries to make sense of the emotional rollercoaster his parents ride. Their lives are rife with conflict, compassion and compromise. Freedom in their new home is impeded by the political complications of a US citizen who served as a Russian officer living in Communist-wary America. Finally, they settle in Arizona on the land Tatiana wisely purchased in the previous book. Can they ever carve out a normal life after what they have been through? Although part of a trilogy, the book stands on its own. Slower paced, it is richly drawn. Flashbacks from the two preceding novels fill in the story for the reader. Within its pages lie hate, happiness, intimacy, betrayal, struggle, war, peace, the joy and pain of children. Simons concentrates on the two main characters. Even if you haven't read the first two books, you will care about Tatiana and Alexander deeply. Although stubborn, passionate and wounded, they simply do not give up on their love for each other. The development of secondary characters was cast aside, except for the son, Anthony. At age five, he learns to sing in Russian and English-and to change the magazine cartridge in his father's Colt M 1911 in six seconds. He eventually makes his way to West Point, Vietnam and into the presence of President Reagan. Despite its unique emotional and suspenseful qualities, the book's focus on unnecessary minutiae dulls its impact. The incessant love-making scenes, although perhaps a metaphor for the healing in the marriage, become tiresome. The emphasis on the education and marriages of grandchildren seems a digression. An editor's pen could have condensed the rambling wordiness into a fast-paced epic. The book is highly recommended to devotees of the trilogy. If you haven't read the first books, but love an unpredictable romantic melodrama which yanks your emotions to and fro, you will enjoy The Summer Garden. The review copy was graciously provided by William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the realist books I have ever read. It is so emotional and this is definitely a must read series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And on and on it goes. 50 pages left will this ever end?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not sure how true lovers of TBH and T&A could review this badly. Yes, its different from the first two, but its real and relatable. These people are real people in the US and after all theyve been through, they need to heal. They face struggles of the everyday. And yet their love prevails. Beautiful in such a different way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved the first two books of this series. Unfortunately I read the third one. I would have been very happy leaving my imagination to fill in the happy ending from the second's ending. The writing style is fairly consistent to her first two books... Too much so, its as if the characters don't age. By the end of this book, Tatiana and Alexander are in the 70s and still so in love, and physically attracted to each other - not something I really want to picture. This books focuses much more so on Alexanders distress dealing with PTSD and then later on his self-imagined martial problems. You end up being very angry with his character... Their relationship is a train wreck, not what you would have imagined after what they'd been through in Russia. And the absolute worst part, is there is so much fluff in this book! The entire flash back chapters to Tatiana's summer in Luga are pointless, annoying, never-ending, and drawn out extensively. Then the end of the book takes forever describing a holiday dinner and every single detail to every single one of their 30 grandchildren. I wish this book concentrated more on telling the story of how to deal with a husband with PTSD, rather its a taking you in circles to no point or end. Again, LOVED the first and second. Might as well read this book if you're a fan, but be ready for disappointment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put the first two books of this trilogy down. "The Bronze Horseman" has become one of my top five favorite books of all time, and I m a lifelong voracious reader. I loved the second book, but "The Summer Garden" was, at times, most difficult to get through. The day to day existance of Tatiana and Alexander could have been condensed into another 200 pages of the second book. Too much dialog, too much sex, waaay too much sex, and too much minutia of going to the grocery store and eating in restaurants, and swimming in their swimming pool had me nodding off on more than one occasion. And the vietnam senario was, to me, overkill and a bit unbelievable. Then there was the author's need to provide us with details of the grandchildren and great grandchildren. While I kept reading to the end because I was devoted to the characters of Tatiana and Alexander, I found myself wishing that their story had been wrapped up at the end of the second book. Still...I will be forever grateful I discovered this wonderful author and her "Bronze Horseman". That truly beautiful book will stay on my shelf of favorites for a long time.
Alicia Bartak More than 1 year ago
I loved the first book in this much so that it's my favorite book now. The second book wasn't as good, but I still enjoyed it. I wish I didn't read this last one. I've actually tried to forget it by rereading the first, bc the events in this book almost ruin their entire story. First, it was boring. While I couldn't put down The Bronze Horseman, I could barely read through two chapters of this before setting it aside. I had to force myself to finish it, and I wish I hadn't, because I started to hate Alexander for acting in a way that was completely out of character and unbelievable. He was amazing until almost the end, then does something horrible, and I'm supposed to love him again by the end? Also, the ending had way too much going on, trying to introduce their entire family. I'm so upset with how this ended...I wish she would write a new ending and throw this one out.
djDL More than 1 year ago
A great trilogy!! A must. I couldn't put it down. All three were great. I do think the first one "Bronze Horseman" was my favorite. all three deserve a 5 star rating.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Having survived the 1941 Nazi siege of Leningrad and Stalin's brutal response, Tatiana and Alexander were kept apart but with WWII over they fled the Soviet Union. They reunite in the United States becoming Americans. Accompanied by their son Anthony the duo decided to stay in Arizona. The couple struggles to overcome the reality of being strangers in many respects to one another. Still they believe they belong together. As they learn who each other is, Anthony joins the army to fight for his country in Vietnam. When Tatiana and Alexander learn Anthony is missing in action, the former Soviet officer travels to Nam to find his son and bring him home to his mother. This is a fabulous finish to the strong romantic trilogy of the two Russian expatriates. Their post WWII drama in the States differs from the harrowing danger of surviving hostilities including from their homeland as now the tsuris is personal. As the couple deals with battle fatigue, matrimonial problems caused by their separation, and their son's MIA status, readers will appreciate the end of their ballad as the Cold War becomes frequently heated. Using flashbacks, Paulina Simons provides an epic twentieth century saga (see The Bronze Horseman, and Tatiana and Alexander). Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a satisfying ending to an amazing series
Jeanomario on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book as an early reviewer, but have not read the first two books of the trilogy. In spite of that, this book is impossibly long and verbose. Being of a certain age myself, I found pretty glaring errors in time and place. RV's and double-wides...really? A quick lap around Google would have shored up those sloppy blatancies. I love a good story and there are elements of that in this volume, but this was slogging.
lollypop917 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is the last in a series which follows the lives of Tatiana Metanov and Alexander Barrington as they battle through World War II Leningrad in an epic tale of love and suffering. If you are unfamiliar with this series than you want to pick up The Bronze Horseman first and then Tatiana and Alexander before you start this book. I don't think it's a necessity but you will definately appreciate the characters much more if you have started from the beginning. This book is written in a series of mini books starting where the second book left off and follows Tatiana and Alexander's lives as they move across the States and try to establish their post war relationship. This is a fairly lengthy book that you should go into knowing that once you finish one of the mini books you certainly can take a break for awhile or read on like I did enjoying each part as a different experience with these wonderful characters.There are some flashback sections from Tatiana's past with her family in Luga which are interwoven throughout the book and seem a little out of place at first. I thought that the author did manage to pull them into the story as a whole at the end of the book and I enjoyed this glimpse of Tatiana's past. I'll have to say that I truly loved this book and I was completely satisfied with the conclusion to this series. At the end of the book Tatiana says "Do you know what a happy ending is to a Russian? When the hero, at the end of his own story, finally learns the reason for his suffering." If you have ever read any Russian literature this will really hit home. I highly recommend this book as well as all the others in this series to anyone who loves Russian history or historical fiction. Some books are read and forgotten but this one will stick with me forever.
booksandbutter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. It follows in the footsteps of the first two of the series, The Bronze Horseman and Tatiana and Alexander. I loved seeing where Tatiana and Alexander were and what was going on with them. I love the authors style of writing and couldn't put it down!
agjuba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I actually didn't finish this book, and for me, that's very telling. Because I generally enjoyed "The Bronze Horseman," I requested this ER book. Before I received it, I read the second book in the trilogy, "Tatiana and Alexander." Overall, I think the whole series deteriorated as it went along. The story line in the first two, was pretty enjoyable and interesting, but as far as I can tell (320 pages in), the storyline of this third book is mainly about the couple traveling around the country, fighting, and passionately making up. After a while, it got old, repetitive, and uninteresting.
gmathis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As the grown-up version of a middle school bookworm who chose library books solely because of their length, I was initially pleased to have a 742-page historical saga to immerse myself in. Images of Gone With the Wind, The Winds of War, anything by Michener came to mind.Those images dissipated pretty quickly. For those who read the first two novels in this series (I didn't, but pulled up synopses to bring myself up to speed), reading about the later stages of Tatiania's and Alexander's relationship--postwar to Vietnam and beyond--may be immensely satisfying. Closure and all. But, diving into this one, I found nothing to make me really, really like either main character. For folks who care about language and adult content, there was more than I cared to read.With all that said, Paullina Simons writes well. Her prose is very spare--action and conversation propel the story forward. None of those big, beefy paragraph-long Margaret Mitchell descriptions or chapters full of exposition. Wouldn't recommend this one unless you're a huge fan of its predecessors.
pjhess on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good ending to the trilogy but really could have done with at least 100 pages less. Would make a great long summer beach read. Am hoping the finished edition comes out with a little bigger print. Simons is a great writer and look forward to her next book.
lorimarie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I too had no idea this was the third book in a series and was quite overwhelmed at the thought of reading the last book first! Not to mention the fact that it is so long and the type is tiny. That being said, it is a great novel and I now must have books one and two. I think Paullina Simons is a very talented writer but we really could have used a lot less to get the idea across.
honeybemelissa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not having read the first two books of this trilogy, I did have some problems getting into the story of Tatiana and Alexander. The Summer Garden begins after the second World War and tells the story of Tatiana and Alexander¿s new life in America with their young son. The book takes us through their lives and into the couple¿s elder years. I wish I could say that I enjoyed this book, but I found it overly long with an unsatisfying ending. I feel people who are fans of the entire series will probably find it more enjoyable.
sringle1202 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best, and most emotional stories I have ever experienced! The length of the book was a little daunting, but I flew through it with ease, not wanting to put it down! The settings were described so well, I could see them and feel them clearly. I felt as if I were standing by the characters as the story moved right along. The characters were so lovable and I grew very attached to them. Each with their unique and strong personalities, flaws and all. I have to say, I can't remember the last time I read such an emotionally gripping story. I found myself feeling everything that Tatiana and Alexander were feeling, and crying or laughing or loving right along with them. I am now dying to read the first two books in the trilogy. Way to go!
reader247 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book three in the Bronze Horseman trilogy. Once I started this third book I was hooked. Paullina Simons captures the familial emotional essence of war so closely you feel part of the Alexander and Tatiana story. This is such an emotional read if you just want a love story to read. This trilogy, however, is so much more. The final chapter of the trilogy is exceptionally wonderful. Savor and enjoy!
sunqueen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I first started this book I was confused by all the references to the past adventures of these two. I didn't realize that this was the third book of a trilogy until checking in LT reviews and had to go back and look at the original LT give a way posting. Nope, no mention that this was the third in a trilogy. I would probably not have requested it had I realized, not having read the first two. Moving on to this book. The writing was good, and there was a lot of it. I think this book would have been better with a bit of editing. This couple really love each other, and you can tell because they have sex. Alot of sex. Graphically descripted, detailed sex. I understood what the auther was trying to convey (I think), but after awhile it was a bit much. Overall, not a bad story, I enjoyed their life in AZ. I don't really feel compelled to go back and read the first two books though.
Clara53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the third book of the trilogy (and the weakest one of the three, in my view) - the first 2 being "The Bronze Horseman" and "Tatiana and Alexander". The plot was the main attraction for me in the first two books, the writing being so-so, but in "The Summer Garden" both the plot and the writing seems to be lacking, except for the last one quarter of the book where the plot picks up a bit. Still, all in all, this 3 book saga of Tatiana and Alexander is quite inspirational, and fantastic at times.
Fourpawz2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved "The Bronze Horseman" and "Tatiana and Alexander". Sure, there were some truly quaint turns of phrasing that I might not have tolerated in another book, but in these two books they did not take away from my enjoyment. They had heart and hope and love and I enjoyed them hugely.The Summer Garden is not a worthy successor to those two grand adventures. In this third book, Tatiana and Alexander are in America, living their post-war life with their son and it seems as if coming to America changed the two of them - and not for the good. They don¿t talk to one another. Alexander broods and Tatiana hides things from him. There was little sign of love between them. There is plenty of physical love ¿ endless bunny-rabbit sex that gets old after not very long and interminable quarreling between the two of them over their future, Tatiana¿s career as a nurse, his job, his unhappiness over the hours she works, the kind of house they will live in ¿ everything. By the 490 page mark there was so much anger and unpleasantness that I could hardly recognize Alexander any more and Tatiana was just way too `good¿ to be bearable any longer. I can only think that Simons got a three-book deal from her publisher and wrote this mess to fulfill that contract. She should have stopped at two.I¿ve always thought that in works of Historical Fiction it is especially important not to have things that are out of time or place. For me they stick out like two heads on a chicken. Simons is guilty of several instances of not getting parts of her time period right. The first one happened almost immediately when she has the Barringtons tooling around in an RV. Really? It¿s 1946. The Winnebago does not come into being until the 1960s. When they finally settle down in their `double-wide mobile home¿ while the Korean War is raging (another thing that I kind of thought was out of place and time) the Barringtons have air-conditioning and a hot tub. And there are lots and lots of other things that were just very bothersome to me. But most especially, I think that the biggest problem with this book is that is missing a very important major character ¿ World War Two ¿ and without the war this book has no backbone and no reason for being. It¿s just a big sexy bore.It was a huge disappointment and I could not finish it. I will do my best to forget every word I read so that I can go on re-reading the first two books in the series.
wagner.sarah35 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
*I received this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.*The epic love story of Tatiana and Alexander continue in The Summer Garden, the third installment in Paullina Simons' trilogy. The Summer Garden tells the tale of the life built by the couple after the Second World War and the challenges faced in post-war America. Paullina Simons excels at creating a vivid portrait of life in the United States after WWII, just as she did in portraying the Soviet Union and Europe. While not as gripping and enthralling as the previous two novels, The Summer Garden was an excellent read and I was happy to continue Tatiana and Alexander's story and see how their lives turned out.