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The Bronze Horseman #0A

Children of Liberty

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Children of Liberty, the much-anticipated prequel to Paullina Simons's The Bronze Horseman, is a story of love and possibility in turn-of-the-century America.

Gina Attaviano travels from Sicily to Boston to start a new life with only the clothes on her back. Harry Barrington is the son of one of New England's most successful businessmen. Despite their differences and the strong opposition of their families, their attraction is strong. Set against a time of transformation for a growing nation, Gina and Harry must find the courage to do what is right, no matter what the price.

Deeply emotional and satisfying, Children of Liberty features a cast of characters you'll root for as they fight against their feelings, but discover that true love can never be denied.

432 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2012

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About the author

Paullina Simons

38 books4,777 followers
Paullina Simons was born in Leningrad, USSR, in 1963. At the age of ten her family immigrated to the United States. Growing up in Russia Paullina dreamt of someday becoming a writer. Her dream was put on hold as she learned English and overcame the shock of a new culture.

After graduating from university and after various jobs including working as a financial journalist and as a translator Paullina wrote her first novel Tully. Through word of mouth that book was welcomed by readers all over the world.

She continued with more novels, including Red Leaves, Eleven Hours, The Bronze Horseman, The Bridge to Holy Cross (also known as Tatiana and Alexander), The Summer Garden and The Girl in Times Square (also known as Lily). Many of Paullina's novels have reached international bestseller lists.

Apart from her novels, Paullina has also written a cookbook, Tatiana's Table, which is a collection of recipes, short stories and recollections from her best selling trilogy of novels, The Bronze Horseman, The Bridge to Holy Cross, (also known as Tatiana and Alexander) and The Summer Garden.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 352 reviews
Profile Image for Misfit.
1,637 reviews289 followers
January 7, 2013
This book is a prequel to the wildly popular Bronze Horseman trilogy, a series I enjoyed a lot despite the need for a red-pencil guy (book #3 went on and on and on). Readers familiar with the back history of Alexander's parents have an expectation of what they're likely to find in this book, so I won't spoil for those new to the story. Unfortunately, this book ends where it should have been started, and I hear that there's at least one more book in the works to tell the story that fans of these books are waiting to read; a story that you aren't going to get in this book.

Children of Liberty begins in 1899 with the immigrant Attaviano family arriving in Boston Harbor to start a new life in America, and almost fifteen-year-old Gina is full of hope and promise. Harry Barrington and his friend Ben offer their assistance to the family (Harry's father owns several apartment houses that cater to Italian immigrants). The Attaviano family begin their new life with family (cousin? aunt?) in a nearby town, while Harry returns to his privileged life in Boston. The bulk of the book then alternates between dinner party after dinner party at Harry's family home with endless conversations talking about politics and socialism, and the struggles of Gina and her family to make a go of things, and whether or not Gina should work or go to school.


I'm the kind of reader that prefers a story to start when there's something interesting happening, and then backtrack and fill in the gaps. In this case, the book should have been started at page 375 and moved on from there (but then that's one less book to be sold). While I admire an author who uses dialog to set up the story instead of endless info dumps, the dialog here and the discussions contained therein were endless and mind-numbing. The same discussions over and over and over and over again, for almost 375 pages of this 422 page book. Add to this misery two of the most unlikable characters I've come across since those gawd-awful 50 Shades books. Harry is dull as dishwater and a spineless ninny to boot. Gina was a teenager for most of the book (we all know what teenagers are like), and she wastes no time in lying to her family and the nuns at school and sneaking out with a friend to meet the much older Harry and Ben in Boston. Perhaps they'll grow up and be more sympathetic characters in the next book, but you won't find much to care about here. Library only, then buy it if you love it.
Profile Image for Natalie.
287 reviews65 followers
February 27, 2023

★★★★ It's the start of the new century and Gina and her family have emigrated from Italy to start a new life in America.

"Never forget where you came from."
Before Tatiana and Alexander
Before Leningrad and Lazarevo
Before everything, there was Gina from Belpasso who came to Boston's Freedom Docks to find a new and better life and met Harry Barrington who was searching for his."

I never wanted to read this. What's the point when we know how the story ends, it can bring nothing but heartache? So I thought that I'd just skip this one and go directly to Bellagrand, to meet a young Alexander. What made me finally read this was that the author is my all time favourite, And I'm so grateful I decided to pick up Children of Liberty. It was so much better than I could have imagined. This is essential to read to completely understand Harry and Gina. And no, this first part of their story, isn't sad at all. On the contrary, I fell in love with this book from the moment a 14 year old- Gina stepped foot on American soil with her family in 1899. I adored being in that era. Learning how the filthy rich lived, seeing how immigrants, like Gina survived, it was fascinating. I was a little worried beforehand that the politics of this story would bore me, but it didn't at all. What little there was, was actually very interesting. The ratings are extremely underserving to this book. They have to be because people doesn't like the turn of events. It can't be anything else. It's extremely confusing to me. Nothing will ever be as good as The Bronze Horseman but the writing is just as exquisite. The passages are meaningful and deep. Are you a fan of Paullina Simons you will recognise yourself immediately and adore every second. This book really did consume me.

"Love is the strongest and deepest element in all life. The harbinger of hope, of ecstasy, the defier of all laws, of all conventions. Man has conquered nations, but all his armies could not conquer love. Man has subdued bodies, chained the spirit but he has been utterly helpless before love. High on a throne, yet he will remain poor and desolate if love passes him by. Love, ladies and gentleman, has the power to make out a beggar a king."

Paullina has such an amazing gift. Even though I didn't agree with everything that happened in this book, she somehow made me love it anyway. No one can do that but her. Not only was the writing astonishing, she also introduced us to the most wonderful set of characters. Harry's whole family, and his wealthy word, I eventually grow to love it all. Gina's whole family and their struggle to make a new world. I loved it all. The contrast between the two worlds was so much fun to spend time in. I instantly loved Salvo, Gina's brother the most. And I loved Gina, she reminded me so much of a young Tatiana Metanova. The fact that I knew from the start, how Gina and Harry's fateful love would end didn't take away from the story one bit. In fact, I think Paullina Simons is a genius for releasing this as a prequel when we already know the main story. It was the first time I've ever read a story in this order and I loved it. I have grown tired of stories with a traditional happily ever afters. I want angst and drama. Anyway, this had nothing sad about it but if you are avoiding this because of sadness, don't. Have you no interest in finding out how exactly the events leading to Russia or misery turns out, and are just curious to see How Gina and Harry ended up together? Then read Children of Libarty as a stand alone. It's so beautiful it's worth it.
Profile Image for Korrie’s Korner.
1,120 reviews13.6k followers
April 16, 2023
I'm breathless, stunned and I need a minute to process. My poor heart! This is what Paullina Simons does to me every time. A punch right to the feels, but yet you dare not stop. I love Gina "Jane" and Harry Barrington. That is all❤️

**Second read and it still wrecked me the same as it did the first time. I still love Harry so much! He just went down a wrong path that ended in tragedy, but man do I love him. I’m gearing up for my Bronze Horseman reread so I’m starting back at one with Alexander’s parents and their origin story. It helps me understand Shura so much and allows me to get in his headspace somewhat. Epic love story, between Harry & Gina, but oh what a tragic ending. If you’ve read The Bronze Horseman Trilogy then you already know.
Profile Image for Erin.
3,094 reviews484 followers
September 12, 2017
Prequel to one of my all time favorite series (The Bronze Horseman trilogy) This is where we meet Alexander's parents Gina and Harry. Gina, is the youngest daughter in an Italian family, recently arrived to Boston's shores. Harry is the only son of a wealthy American businessman. Slow moving storyline, but a lot of background information on the different political movements sweeping across America in the early 20th century.
Profile Image for Έλσα.
516 reviews105 followers
February 14, 2018
παει λοιπον ο τομος πριν την τριλογια. Τι κ αν εχει βαθμολογια 3 στο goodreads, τι κ αν δεν ειχε την αναμενομενη ενταση. Για εμενα το 4 το παιρνει επαξια γιατι λατρεψα τους χαρακτηρες. Ανθρωποι γεματοι παθη, γεματοι συναισθηματα. Ερωτες που μεσα απο δυσκολιες δυναμωνουν. Ανθρωποι που ζουνε την καθε στιγμη χωρις να τους νοιαζει τι θα πουνε οι γυρω τους. Τζινα και Χαρι σας λατρεψα!! ❤
Shelved as 'historical-fiction-romance'
October 30, 2019
Re-read..planning to get into The Bronze Horseman, and was hoping it would change my review.
Not really, but as I missed some things from the first time around..I gave it a 3 star instead of a 2.5 I might try "Bellagrand" But my opinion/review for this one stands.

Setting: Turn of the century Boston

Gina Attaviano sails with her family from Sicily to Freedom Docks Boston, where she meets Harry Barrington.
Although Gina only has eyes for Harry, he is the scion of a wealthy family and she feels there is no hope for her.
However, five years later Gina-now Jane-is a college student graduate and Harry is a struggling academic plagued by his parent's demands that he give up his career to join the family business.
A chance meeting alters their lives.
As they begin a secret affair, they must choose between family and love, duty and expectation, passion and loneliness.
But their choice has consequences, setting them on a path to ruin.
This is the "prequel" to The Bronze Horseman.
The telling of Alexander's parents and how they met.
Since the end is known of course, it is the beginning that first intrigued me and I had high expectations for this book I think.
I didn't find the characters well motivated.
I also found the story, as well as Harry and Jane not very passionately absorbing and started to skip here and there just to get through.
Do you really need to read this one before the other three?
I think not.
I haven't yet read the next three books, and I certainly could have done ok without reading this one as I felt it really didn't give me any extra interesting info into the past.
But this is just how this reader felt, it maybe just right for others who feel they need to read this before diving into the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,060 reviews220 followers
October 10, 2012
Children of Liberty is the prequel to Paullina Simons much loved Bronze Horseman series. Set in Boston at the turn of the last century, it tells the story of the forbidden love between Gina Attaviano and Harry Barrington, who feature as Alexander’s parents in The Bronze Horseman. Fourteen-year-old Gina, just arrived from Sicily with her mother and brother Salvo, first meets Harry and his best friend Ben as the young men try to drum up customers for their apartments for immigrants near the Freedom Docks. And although the family only stay for one night before making their own way to nearby Lawrence to live with other family members from Sicily, Ben is instantly smitten by Gina’s dark-skinned, dark-haired sensual beauty. Despite Salvo’s efforts to protect his sister and his obvious animosity towards her American admirers, Ben starts making frequent visits to the Attaviano family, dragging his friend Harry along for company. Gina, an enterprising young woman with big dreams for the future, falls head-over-heels in love with Harry, the son of a wealthy Boston businessman, who is also engaged to one of Boston’s most eligible socialites. Considering Gina’s youth and their vastly different backgrounds, her love for him seems doomed from the very beginning. But Gina does not give up that easily ….

The problem with prequels of much loved books is that they are being read with high expectations, and can easily disappoint when those are not being met. Since The Bronze Horseman features on my all-time-favourites list, I tried to put those thoughts aside when picking up this book, and to read it with an open mind and judge it on its own merits rather than in comparison with its sequels. And whilst Boston’s politics and turn-of-the-century history could never compete with the interesting and dramatic backdrop of the siege of Leningrad, I was soon drawn into the story and really enjoyed reading about Harry and Gina’s love story. As Alexander’s parents I had thought them rather foolhardy for trading the freedoms of American life for the confines of communism, despite trying to understand their idealistic political beliefs. Reading about their young love totally changed this opinion, and their characters gained much more depth as I read about their youthfully innocent hopes for a better future.

Gina Attaviano is a delightful character. Like Tatiana, she sparkles with youthful innocence and energy, and I liked her tremendously. Her scheme to win Harry over and ingratiate him with her brother was nothing short of ingenious. I could picture her vividly, this colourful Sicilian peasant girl, so different from her stuffy Bostonian counterparts. No wonder half of Boston’s bachelors would have fallen instantly in love with her. And how dreary a life it must have been for women at that time, despite their wealth and the nice clothes – not surprising that speakers like Emma Goldman drew such large crowds as women were fighting for recognition as equals in society. Simons does an excellent job at painting Boston society at the beginning of the 20th century – although I admit that a lot of the political details were lost on me, as I was mostly ignorant about Boston’s historical past and famous characters and had to google them to understand their background (I am a little bit wiser now :). And whilst Gina and Harry’s love story did not evoke the same roller coaster ride of emotions as the one I experienced reading The Bronze Horseman, I enjoyed every moment reading this book and finished it in one day.

My advice to readers is to read this story in its own right, not as a prequel to the Bronze Horseman – and to let it take you on its own unique journey.

Thank you to The Reading Room for providing me with a copy of this book!
Profile Image for Paiman.
23 reviews
October 11, 2012
For fans of Paullina Simon's work, in particular her Bronze Horseman series, this book was both to be excited and nervous about.

Since this can be thought of as a prequel to TBH series, many already knew how the story of Jane and Harold Barrington ended, but not the "beginning" and "middle" part of their story. I would say that Children of Liberty is about the start of their story. It didn't ruin the book for me, but I thought this book would be more of their life together and their is still plenty of their story left to be told, I believe. If Paullina ever wants to write another book about the "middle" of their story, I'm all game.

Having said that, the "beginning" is pretty good. It has the classic Paullina Simons slow build up and burn. I got more invested in the story and characters the further I got into it. The longing and the denial of feelings and what is expected of one, the culture and class clashes, old school thoughts and traditions during and start of a new century and industrial revolution. Both Harry and Gina rebel in this respect, hence the title Children of Liberty.

That's another interesting aspect of the story. How Gina Anttaviano becomes Jane Barrington and how Harry Barrington becomes Harold Barrington. As someone who read The Bronze Horseman series it was interesting and fun to see how characteristics from both mother and father are in their son, Alexander.

Another minor complaint I have is all the dialogue and passages about politics and economics. I see Paullina's background as a financial journalist and political science major really coming through here. I understand with the era that the novel takes place in, and we know later on how politically involved both Harold and Jane become, the importance of showing the beginnings of this mindset and way of life they decide later on is important. It could just be me, but I thought a few times it brought the pace down and I would have liked more scenes with Gina and Harry just being Gina and Harry- young and love.

There is beautiful writing (as expected by Mrs. Simons)that is just like poetry. One particular passage that stuck out for me:

"Love is the strongest and deepest element in all life. The harbinger of hope, of ecstasy, the defier of all laws, of all conventions. Man has conquered nations, but all his armies could not conquer love. Man has subdued bodies, chained the spirit but he has been utterly helpless before love. High on a throne, yet he will remain poor and desolate if love passes him by. Love, ladies and gentleman, has the power to make out a beggar a king."

I wish once again that goodreads would do half stars, but alas, the site doesn't so a solid instead.Having said all this, if you are fan of Paullina Simons work or want a good story of two people coming together and finding love, this is for you.

September 30, 2012
Sadly the anticipation was the only form of pleasure here. Simons forgot to make her characters likeable before they started behaving badly and I was grateful when the weak plot (full of weird inclusions at the the end, added in attempt to make it all come together?) finally ground to a halt. Preachy, tedious and utterly underwhelming. I am not sure I can put it on the shelf beside its much-loved cousins from the same author.
Profile Image for SissiReads.
153 reviews311 followers
June 24, 2017
This is my sixth books by Paullina Simons and it just once again shows why she will forever remains to be my favourite author of all time.

I finished this book with a throbbing heart. I don't know how to make of my feelings and my emotions. I don't know if I should be glad or sad, should be anger and hurt, or should be happy and hopeful. It makes me so conflicted that I really don't know what to do with myself!

I came into this book thinking I would not love Harry and Gina for what they have done in The Bronze Horseman series, for their choices. But I can't help but have fallen deeply in love with both of them! I love their passionate and carefree young love! Oh how glorious are those days! But the consequences? I can't even begin to think about this without having an anxiety attack! I just know for sure that book 2 Bellagrand is going to be hard to read, the agnst that's going to come!

The writing in this book is phenomenal. I know a lot of readers are not fond of all the political discussions in the book but lucky for me, I love politics so that totally is a bonus for me in this book. The way Paullina wrote about family dynamic is just out of the world! The banters, the insults, the subtle hidden agendas, each character development is just so well done and polished, all of them mix so well together, I have laughed out loud so many times and cringed so many time equally! Those parts are so refreshing to me and new to me from other Paullina's books that I feel like i am reading another author's work!

It won't be a Paullina Simons' book without an all consuming and angsty love story and oh my world, that's exactly what this love story to me! From page 1 to the end of the book, I feel it all! The angst, the longing the hope the angry the desire, all of it. When I read those parts, I saw the Paullina Simons writing that made me fall madly in love with The Bronze Horseman series! The beautiful prose, those whisper words! Those stolen moments! I can't get enough!

I should have known better to prepare myself before I read this book, I should have known better that it is going to make me ache my heart out with the angst! It makes me feel so conflicted and that's why I love Paullina Simons, she truly makes you feel all the emotions that you have never felt before with her words. I need to brave myself into Bellagrand, my poor heart, will it survive?
Profile Image for Mollie.
333 reviews5 followers
August 18, 2015
"It’s late afternoon on the wide Hampton beach; it’s gray and foggy when he kisses her. He’s never kissed Sicilian lips before, only Bostonian. There is a boiling ocean of contrast between the two. Boston girls were born and raised on soil that was frozen from October to April and breathed through perfectly colored mouths that took in chill winds and fog from the stormy harbor. But his Sicilian queen has roamed the Mediterranean meadows and her abundant lips breathed in fearsome fire from Typhonic volcanoes.
He kisses her as if they are alone at night—as if she is already his. His arms wrap around her back and press her to him. They become suspended, he floats like a phantom around her in the moist air. He won’t let her go, he can’t."

This is fine quality writing. Paullina Simons crafted a beautiful beginning to Harold & Gina's non-traditional happy ending.
My heart absolutely melted for this couple. They were fools, but fools in love. They have a love to desire, but not one you can easily respect. It's doomed from the start. We learn about their demise in The Bronze Horseman series, so you're reading into this with an ending in hand. We know what's coming. I think I relished in this love affair because of that, no matter how messy the circumstances, and because I see this as the calm before the storm. The dream before their reality, Bellagrand, that is.
Children of Liberty is the first part to Harold & Gina's journey and Bellagrand the second. I know I will visit this story again in the future. To me it is epic. What is the saying? All great love stories must end in tragedy.
107 reviews8 followers
October 8, 2012
I want to give this 5 stars because I just smashed the last 100 pages and am on a total high! But I can't forget the slow, sinking and eerily disappointing feeling I had for the first half of the book.

There was a lot of character development and introductions to get through. In true Paullina Simons style she does not hold out with her pen. But after about 100 pages I was losing interest and getting VERY worried about where this whole thing was going.

But I knew I shouldn't have stressed about it too much, because finally when Gina and Harry's affair began to really get started things got better. Gina is a lively and lovable character. Harry was very mysterious in the beginning. A closed book almost. He didn't offer much. But as the story went on and I got to know him better I really fell in love with him. He had a smart, witty and yet sometimes dark sense of humour. I loved his jealous streak, and his courage and passion.

Turning the last few pages made me sad as we all know where these star-crossed lovers meet their final fate. Or do we? I'm hoping in the next book (or two?) Paullina reveals Gina's true undoing.
Profile Image for Athena Macmillan.
297 reviews27 followers
November 13, 2012
I am a big fan of Paullina Simons and as such had huge expecations for this book, thinking it would draw me in as her others have so successfully.

Honestly? I was bored. The book droned on terribly with a very predictable run, including the long expected 'plot-twist' at the end. It almost seemed as though Simons wanted to see how much political diatribe she could fit in one book and still call it a romance, which is a terrible pity because the beginning chapters held so much promise!

Because of the ending one can only assume this is part of a trilogy, so lets hope things improve for our characters! This is about Alexander Barrington (of the Bronze Horseman)'s parents, so we know at the outset that eventually they meet a tragic end because of their communist ideals and subsequent travels to Russia, so let's hope that this first book is merely a slow build for a coming exciting ride of hope, intrigue, passion and despair...!
Profile Image for Abs.
219 reviews12 followers
October 6, 2020
4.5* my heart needed a few days to process this one. That ending broke me.
I haven't been able to read anything in months, and knowing how I already felt about these characters because of The Bronze Horseman series, I was hesitant to read this. But, it's Paullina & of course I fell in love with these flawed and doomed characters. I went into it with an open mind and regardless of how much I wanted to hate them, I didn't. Not one bit. Some of the scenes between Gina and Harry are unforgettable. Gina was such a scheming and compelling character, and I couldn't get enough of her. Harry intrigued me because I needed to know what was going on in his head, he was mysterious and I missed him when I wasn't reading about him. I didn't trust anyone (except maybe Rose --- LOVED her), so the suspense and the way the story slowly unfolded with the different points of views and side stories had me completely invested.

My only tiny reason for not giving it a perfect 5 star review was because of the politics. II didn't hate them, but there was a lot. Thank God it was Paullina writing this or it might have been torture. She just has a way. I laughed so much, esp the banter between Ben & Harry & the Thursday night dinners etc. I just loved this one. I feel closer to Shura because I know more of his history and I'm one step closer to reading my beloved The Bronze Horseman. On to Bellagrand.
Profile Image for Melanie.
278 reviews7 followers
June 18, 2014
I was lucky enough to meet Paullina Simons on her recent book tour in Sydney as she promoted Children of Liberty and as I loved The Bronze Horseman and The Summer Garden I was really excited about this book.

Children of Liberty is a prequel to The Bronze Horseman and is set in Boston in 1899 and is about Harold Barrington and Gina Attaviano (Jane) who became Alexander’s parents.

It is about how they met when Gina and her mother and brother first arrived in the States and how against all odds, they fell in love defying the social class system of the wealth (the Barringtons) and the lower class of immigrants.

I loved reading about how they met and fell in love and I could actually see Tatiana in Gina. The carefree and often rebellious nature of Gina is the same as Tatiana.
Profile Image for Perla The IB Teen Book Blogger.
505 reviews34 followers
Want to read
May 29, 2012
Oh God, I am bracing my heart to be broken. The pain of loving this series is so great, I can't live without it. A prequel- it will be so sad!!!
Profile Image for Kathi.
26 reviews1 follower
October 18, 2012
A bit disappointing. Still enjoyable but nowhere near the intensity of how I feel for all of her other stories. Have no idea whatsoever what Gina saw in Harry. None. He was a spineless idiot.
Profile Image for Nicole.
180 reviews13 followers
July 5, 2017
What happened to my review? It has disappeared. So...review to come....

1st read: July 17-18, 2015
2nd read: June 17-20, 2015
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,280 reviews1,655 followers
March 20, 2013
From what I can gather, Children of Liberty is the first book in a new series, which leads up to her most popular series, the Tatiana and Alexander trilogy. I haven't read that series yet, though I plan to begin it in the next week or so, but my research indicates that the main characters in Children of Liberty, are the parents in The Bronze Horseman. Sadly, while an okay read, all signs indicate that Children of Liberty pales in comparison to Simons' previous works.

By far, the biggest problem here is the writing. So much of it is odd, sentences strung together in strange ways that don't add to the narrative. Much of the dialogue is stilted and unnatural. Characters will be discussing one topic and then suddenly veer off onto another one without any warning or natural progression. These weaknesses are especially prevalent in the first half of the novel, but continue throughout.

The novel is also quite slow to begin, as I did not care at all about any of the characters right off the boat. Gina is 14 when Children of Liberty begins, and she acts it, her thoughts and words childish and naive. Her mother, the annoyingly named Mimoo, never serves any purpose but to worry. Her brother, Salvo, is an asshole who treats everyone with disdain, especially his sister. Even worse, he turns out not to matter a whole lot in the overall story, not appearing once after about the halfway point. Why spend so much time on him if he doesn't matter? I suppose if the rest of the intended series is published he'll matter again, but it's awkward for now.

The historical setting at the turn of the century should have been enthralling. Ben, Harry's friend, is working to get the Panama Canal constructed to revolutionize exporting around the world. Radicals like Eugene Debs and Emma Goldman are often referenced and even make appearances. As a history nerd, these elements should have left me feeling more educated and curious, but they were poorly integrated and I found myself sorely tempted to skim. Ben just kept going on and on about his bananas. Ben's mom kept getting on her soapbox about anti-imperialism. Later, Gina becomes interested in anarchism. Yet, none of these seem to matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. So far as I can tell, the anarchism only matters because it loosened Gina's morals.

Speaking of Gina's morals, we're coming to the stumbling block that really mattered more than most of those other things: I really hate Harry. Gina wants Harry from the moment she first meets him, when she's 14 and he's 21. She pursues him for six goddamn years. That's pathetic enough all on it's own, but, worse, he's in a serious relationship the entire time, engaged for five of those years. Of course, since the book is about their romance more than anything, he eventually capitulates to her charms and they have a whole lot of sex. While he's engaged to another woman. There is nothing that can make this okay with me, and Harry was already a weak-willed, annoying, whiny liar to begin with. Gina's attraction to him made me dislike her, even though in every other respect her older self is actually fairly likable.

Still, Children of Liberty was a decent read on the whole. I appreciated the banter between Ben and Harry at least, and it was fairly fast-paced. I didn't quite dislike it, but there is so much room for improvement. I really hope The Bronze Horseman is better, but every review I've seen assures me that it is. If you're a fan of that series, don't embark on this one expecting it to be anywhere near as good.
Profile Image for Edee Fallon.
Author 7 books81 followers
November 8, 2013
Okay...So hear me out. I've not yet read a raving review and I get it. I get it. I get it. But, I have my own opinion on Children of Liberty. I rated it five stars and this is why...

Anyone who knows me or that follows me on gr, fb or my book blog knows that The Bronze Horseman series isn't just a book series to me. I don't even know how to put into words what these books are to me. It's just impossible. Believe me, I've tried. Words fail me every time. I believe, and this is not an attempt to sway or argue anyone's opinion, but I believe that anyone who has really read deeply into TBH, especially T&A, would understand that Children of Liberty is NOT supposed to be an all consuming heart wrenching epic love story like TBH is. If you took the time to reflect on Harry and Jane's part in the series, you'd already know that they made awful, terrible choices that they felt were the right ones at the time. Well, obviously Jane/Gina didn't have complete faith in the choice to renounce her citizenship or she would not have taken $10,000 dollars with her to communist Russia or taken the train with Alexander to the U.S. Embassy to try and get him passage back to America. Even Harold understood his folly at his end, even if it was too late to change anything.

I believe Mrs. Simmons did an amazing job of setting up this story arc and the character traits that were necessary in propagating the thought process and behaviors that we learned in T&A about our beloved Alexander's parents.

Harry is a fool. I don't think any of us could argue that. He is also selfish and cowardly at times. And Jane/Gina well she is also quite foolish, yet I do believe they truly loved each other. Children of Liberty keeps Harry and Jane/Gina in true character of what we've learned from their parts in TBH. What else would you expect from COL? If you were expecting anything else, than I can understand why you'd be disappointed.

I loved Children of Liberty and cannot wait to read Bellagrand.

PS. I loved that we got to know Esther as well and can now understand better why she turned Tatia away at first.
Profile Image for Renee Werthwein.
162 reviews3 followers
October 8, 2020
4.5*** Absolutely loved this book!! I'm sitting here, trying to get myself to start reading the next book and I just can't. I can't move on yet. I love a book that has me so wrapped up in the characters. I'm thinking of all the things I want to scream at them for, cry with them, hug them. I'm just so emotional over this book. I know what happens in TBH, but that doesn't matter to me. I'm so wrapped up in Gina and Harry's story. All I care about is them and the choices they are making now, I don't care how it affects the future. I was borderline going to give this book a 5*, but there were a couple parts where the political stuff kinda dragged on. Overall, I obviously love it and it's a MUST read!
Profile Image for Keighley.
186 reviews21 followers
Want to read
November 8, 2013
Woah cant believe the reviews for this!! Think I will skip it & go straight to Bellagrand .

Shuras parents might be awful, awful people but I want to know what happened to them!
17 reviews
December 6, 2012
Very disappointing. I loved the bronze horseman for the historical setting and was expecting more of the same from the prequel. Instead the book plodded along with Harold's indecisions and then ended prematurely.
Profile Image for Alexis Farley.
3 reviews1 follower
October 27, 2012
Too much talk about politics, slow moving plot, unlikable boring characters - very disappointing.
19 reviews
Want to read
April 25, 2012
I think I just got tears in my eyes...a bronze horseman prequel!!!
Profile Image for black_cat_reading.
107 reviews34 followers
September 3, 2018
Εντάξει δεν ξετρελάθηκα αλλά ούτε μπορώ να πω ότι δεν ήταν καλό.Ωραίο ύφος γραφής,σε ταξιδεύει σε μια άλλη εποχή στην οποία δε θα ήθελα να ζούσα για κανένα λόγο!Γυναίκες που κυκλοφορούν με μακριά φουστάνια που σέρνονται στο δρόμο έτσι ώστε να μη φαίνονται ούτε τα παπούτσια που φοράνε, έφεραν στο μυαλό μου γυναίκες του σήμερα που καλύπτουν τα πρόσωπα και τα σώματά τους διότι έτσι ορίζουν οι κανόνες της κοινωνίας τους.Άνθρωποι διαφορετικών κοινωνικών τάξεων,διαφορετικών ιδεολογιών και τρόπου ζωής συναντιούνται και οι ζωές τους μπλέκονται.Μοιραία ορισμένοι ερωτεύονται ενώ κάποιοι άλλοι μισούνται θανάσιμα.
Διαβάζοντας αυτό το βιβλίο και σκεπτόμενη την υποκρισία που διακατέχει τις "υψηλές" κοινωνικές τάξεις αηδίαζα.Άνθρωποι του φαίνεσθαι που ζουν και αναπνέουν για το τι θα σχολιάσει ο κόσμος,γονείς που επιβάλλουν στα παιδιά τους τα πρέπει και τα θέλω τους και παιδιά δυστυχισμένα με σκοτωμένα όνειρα.Και κάπου εκεί μέσα δύο άνθρωποι έρχονται να κοντράρουν τους πάντες και τα πάντα για να βρούνε την ευτυχία τους.
Δεν ξέρω τι ακριβώς ήταν αυτό που με χάλασε...ίσως το γεγονός ότι ενώ με είχε βάλει στο mood μιας άλλης εποχής και κάπου κάπου το ευχαριστιόμουν,κάποιες πληροφορίες τις έβρισκα ανιαρές.Δεν τσουλούσε το ίδιο ευχάριστα όλο το βιβλίο.
Profile Image for Romanticamente Fantasy.
6,552 reviews187 followers
February 15, 2023
Emanuela - per RFS

Sono molto preoccupata nello scrivere questa recensione perché, ancora una volta, questa autrice mi ha lasciato spiazzata.

Figli della libertà sembra, al primo approccio, l’affresco della vita di una famiglia di immigrati italiani che approda a Boston e inizia faticosamente a costruirsi un futuro nel paese delle grandi opportunità.

La vera protagonista della storia è la giovane Gina Attaviano che, con la passione e la volontà caratteristiche della sua giovane età, incarna perfettamente lo spirito della donna artefice del proprio destino.

Insofferente alle regole imposte, vuole affermare con forza il desiderio di avanzare nella società e di migliorare le proprie condizioni di vita a dispetto di un fratello possessivo e maschilista e da quel mondo americano che, lungi dall’essere progressista e paritario, relega le donne al ruolo di mogli decorative e madri efficienti.

In una Boston in pieno sviluppo industriale, stringe amicizia con due giovani rampolli della società ricca, Harry e Ben, che rimarranno legati strettamente alle sue vicende e della famiglia e rappresentano il contraltare dello status di immigrato: sono americani doc, discendenti dai primi padri pellegrini e appaiono in tutto il loro benessere preimpostato.

Gina, piena di vita e di entusiasmo, trasferitasi a Lawrence, inizierà da subito a fare i lavori più umili cercando sempre di migliorare la propria condizione e compensando la mancanza di studi con la volontà di emergere.

Suo malgrado, la sua vita si troverà al centro di un triangolo amoroso perché sia Harry che Ben l’ammirano e la seguono sempre da vicino ma non osano pensare di poter essere qualcosa di più che amici, poiché strettamente legati alla società dalla quale provengono e destinati a matrimoni già decisi.

In questo romanzo viene evidenziato particolarmente bene il clima puritano, razzista e classista degli States che si maschera dietro alla facciata del paese dove ognuno può avere la sua grande occasione, ma in realtà non perdona chi ne tradisce le regole.

Come al solito la Simmons fa dei suoi romanzi un potente mezzo di denuncia politica e sociale con uno stile asciutto e descrittivo in un’atmosfera sagace e coinvolgente resa dall’uso preponderante dei verbi all’imperfetto.

La storia d’amore che nascerà tra Harry, sognatore e intellettuale, lontano dal destino da industriale deciso da suo padre e Gina, giovane studentessa alle prese con un’evoluzione stravolgente, costerà loro molto cara, ma un finale completamente sospeso lascia sperare in una svolta.

Siamo ormai largamente abituati alle trilogie di questa bravissima autrice.
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