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The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

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lindymc
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Post by lindymc » Wed March 18th, 2009, 3:58 pm

I enjoyed parts of The Bronze Horseman, mainly the first and last parts; got tired of the repititious and near monotonous sex in the middle of it. I read the second book, Tatiana and Alexander, and liked it better than TBH. From what reviews I've read, I'm opting out of reading book three. I enjoyed the novels, liked Tatiana and Alexander and some of the other secondary characters, particularly in book two. The descriptions of Leningrad during the blockade provided a real education for me, having not read much else about that period.
She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain. (1873) -- Louisa May Alcott

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Tanzanite
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Post by Tanzanite » Wed March 18th, 2009, 6:52 pm

[quote=""diamondlil""]Who here has read all three books?[/quote]

I have. I liked the second book (Tatiana and Alexander a/k/a The Bridge to Holy Cross) but was rather disappointed by the last book (The Summer Garden).

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Ludmilla
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Post by Ludmilla » Wed March 18th, 2009, 10:27 pm

I haven't read this series yet, but have it in the towering TBR. There's something about love affairs during wartime that especially resonates with me for some reason. I debated whether to buy only the first one or all three when I purchased them. I knew if I liked the first, I'd kick myself for not having the others. The logic that prevailed in the end was that these aren't readily available on swap sites, but in demand, so if I didn't like the first one, I could easily trade them. I hope to get to these this year. My reading plan is really out of control at this point.

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diamondlil
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Post by diamondlil » Thu March 19th, 2009, 7:59 am

[quote=""Ludmilla""]I haven't read this series yet, but have it in the towering TBR. There's something about love affairs during wartime that especially resonates with me for some reason. I debated whether to buy only the first one or all three when I purchased them. I knew if I liked the first, I'd kick myself for not having the others. The logic that prevailed in the end was that these aren't readily available on swap sites, but in demand, so if I didn't like the first one, I could easily trade them. I hope to get to these this year. My reading plan is really out of control at this point.[/quote]

Ludmilla, a love affair set against war, any war really, is something that resonates with me as well! Love them!
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MrsMorland
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Post by MrsMorland » Mon March 23rd, 2009, 10:04 pm

I've heard so many good reviews of this book, and I tried it recently and could not get into it. Maybe I should give it another try. I love anything with a WWI or WWII setting normally.

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Tue March 24th, 2009, 12:01 am

[quote=""MrsMorland""]I've heard so many good reviews of this book, and I tried it recently and could not get into it. Maybe I should give it another try. I love anything with a WWI or WWII setting normally.[/quote]

Give it another go but don't try too hard. There are just times when a big doesn't work for me when everyone else is going ga-ga over it. It just happens, and life's too short and there's too many books to read.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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Misfit
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Tatiana and Alexander

Post by Misfit » Sun April 19th, 2009, 1:27 am

****If you haven't read The Bronze Horseman you might not want to read further****

Image

Published in the UK as Bridge to Holy Cross, this book takes up Tatiana and Alexander's story where the first one left off. Alexander is presumed dead in Russia while a pregnant Tatiana was able to escape to sanctuary United States as WWII rages around them. As Tatiana builds herself a new life as a nurse and raises her son, the not-so-dead Alexander finds himself at the very front of the lines commanding a unit of convicted prisoners. The author also goes into background detail of Alexander's parents and how they came to live in Russia, their lives there as communists and their subsequent imprisonment and death. Tatiana eventually comes across a couple of clues left by Alexander and sets her on a dangerous path through enemy territory that....

More than that, I am not willing to tell as I'd be giving away the whole plot, I am not into spoilers. Both our lovers are heartbreaking as they pine for one another and their lost love, and Simons does keep you sitting on the edge of your seat until the very end wondering if you're going to get a HEA after all (story continued in book #3, The Summer Garden). The good - the scenes at the front lines and the prison camps were chilling - most especially when Alexander's troops came across one of Hitler's concentration camps and realized what had really happened there.

The not so good - for some unknown reason Simons felt the need to flashback and rehash Tatiana and Alexander's entire relationship, albeit this time from Alexander's POV (Editor, wherefore art thou?). While one does gain some additional background aspect seeing their romance from Alexander's eyes, it really does not add to the story line at all and one could easily skim quickly past those 100 or so pages - especially if you picked up book two right after finishing the first. Despite its flaws, it was a very enjoyable read and as in the first I had a hard time putting it down. A shaky (almost gave it three) 4/5 stars.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Sun April 19th, 2009, 9:51 am

I have both the first and the second on my TBR. Still not sure that they'll ever get read (one false start so far) but I have them in case, so thanks for the review!
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Misfit
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The Summer Garden

Post by Misfit » Sun April 26th, 2009, 10:40 pm

***Do not read further if you haven't read the first two books****

The Summer Garden continues the story of Tatiana and Alexander after Alexander's escape from Soviet Russia and they begin a new life in the United States. Scarred both emotionally and physically from the tortures of prison camp, Alexander is dark and moody and keeps it bottled inside, as Tatiana hopes her love is enough to get them through it. Living in the Cold War Climate of post WWII doesn't help matters as they can't speak to people about their background in Soviet Russia, nor can Alexander explain the tattoos from Gulag. They move about from place to place exploring the US and taking odd jobs, finally settling in the Arizona desert where Tatiana had wisely purchased those 97 acres.

Alexander starts work for a custom homebuilder and eventually starts a successful business of his own, but Tatiana's career as a nurse along with another man's bored wife raises mutual jealousy between the two and threatens to destroy everything they've built. Years later, Alexander's past and the grudge held against him by the Soviets threaten the next generation and send Alexander on a life and death rescue mission into North Vietnam. Interspersed throughout the book Simons continues her flashbacks, this time into Tatiana's childhood and her relationships with her siblings (yawn).

That all sounds well and good and I have to admit I was looking forward to going beyond the HEA from the end of Tatiana and Alexander and reading "the rest of the story" and seeing our lovers grow old together, but I have to admit that this book has a serious case of TMI (too much information). The first section as they dealt with Alexander's scarred psyche and settling into life in the US (let alone getting past the questioning of members of the House Un-American Activities Committee) was very compelling, as was the third section as Alexander returns to active duty in the 1960's for a personal mission behind the DMZ.

As in the first two books, despite a compelling story of two star-crossed lovers, there are some serious flaws and I have to wonder what kind of clout Simons has to get this stuff by an editor. The flashbacks to Tania's childhood had no impact on the story or the make-up of her character that I could ascertain, and while I understand that the author was using the sexual relationship between the two to reinforce the struggles in their early days back in the US - eventually it was all too much, let alone all that blow by blow excruciating detail. Less is more.

**Spoiler warning** And last, as much as I complain about authors cutting a story short and not giving us a bit of a glimpse at what life was like after the HEA, Simons has to go on and on and on and on at the end for almost 50 pages of how many kids, grandkids, who married who and who graduated from which college and got which prestigious job ad infinitum. TMI. **End of Spoilers**

Honestly this behemoth of a book could have been cut in half and the story would have still had plenty of punch for a satisfactory conclusion to the trilogy. I'm only recommending this for die hard fans of the first two who have to know what happened next but for most of you, let the ending of the second book be enough. 3/5 stars.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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Tanzanite
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Post by Tanzanite » Mon April 27th, 2009, 3:54 am

I agree with you Misfit, 100%.

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