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The Bronze Horseman #3

The Summer Garden

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The Magnificent Conclusion to the Timeless Epic Saga

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 Summer Garden . . . their odyssey is just beginning.

752 pages, Paperback

First published November 1, 2005

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About the author

Paullina Simons

38 books4,774 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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Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,280 reviews1,654 followers
July 12, 2013
FINALLY. I am done with this series. I can put it to bed and never think on it again. There are times where the series was quite good, but more times where it was frustrating, puzzling, and rage-inducing. Unfortunately, the latter sort of moments almost entirely comprise the final volume of the trilogy, making this a painful read. And, fuck yes, there will be spoilers and profanity all up in this review.

The Almost Good
Simons obviously knows how to write well. She's got a great command of language, and can put together nice complex sentences. Of course, being able to write masterfully is worthless if you don't write awesome things with your pretty sentences. However, I think even the writing has gotten worse in this third book. There were also several typos that hadn't been edited out, perhaps because even the editor couldn't stand this shit and started skimming. In one scene, the quotation marks completely disappear for about a page for no reason. Another obnoxious trend in the writing, one obviously intended to be clever, is the narrator's tendency to get really excited and end sentences with exclamation points for emphasis! Exclamation points are for dialog or first person narration, not freaking third person.

The Bad
By this point in the series, there is literally no plot, just the unfolding of the rest of Alexander and Tatiana's sex-filled lives, until the last two hundred pages where it becomes another book entirely. In no way do I think of myself as a prude about sex in novels. In fact, I sometimes quite enjoy it, though some sex scenes are giggle and snort-inducing, because of the absurd descriptions. Simons' are okay in that they mostly do not result in hilarity. However, they're also not sexy. A little goes a long way with sex in novels, I think. There's so much more power and tension in novels that have just one good kiss than in this series where Tatiana and Alexander have sex countless times. If you played a drinking game by the number of orgasms had in this book, you would die of alcohol poisoning before you finished. While I cannot say quite for certain, I'm convinced that those two characters don't have sex a single time that the reader doesn't know about it.

Keep in mind that they have a young child, and, for much of his toddler years, they have just one bedroom. So they have sex with their sleeping child several feet away myriad times. What fun. I get that their circumstances are difficult, but have someone take care of your kid for a couple hours or something. There will not be enough therapy in the world to take on this kid's emotional problems.

Describing sex is obviously Simons' favorite thing, but she does also enjoy describing Tatiana and Alexander, perfect specimens that they are. Here's a sample out of the hundreds of descriptions offered:

"She's got a tiny waist out of which her hips extend like to halves of a golden delicious apple. Her flat stomach glistens, her breasts are heaving. He is looking up at her. She is golden delicious." (390)

If you're going to read this trilogy, I hope you're very interested in Tatiana's breasts, because you get to hear about them A LOT. Also about her tiny waist. Alexander's described too, so tall and manly and strong, but Simons sure seems to enjoy describing Tania's nigh impossible figure more. And, in case you didn't know they were hot, both of them get hit on constantly by everyone. Alexander's boss' girlfriend greets him with kisses on the cheeks, but always tries to get him on the lips. A coworker of Alexander's breaks into their house in the middle of the night to rape Tatiana while keeping Alexander at bay with a gun, but Alexander saves the day, of course. These are just two examples of many.

The Fucking Ugly
Now, in theory, I do support the idea of showing the difficulties in Tatiana and Alexander's relationship after she rescued him from a concentration camp, now run by the Soviets, in Berlin. Alexander underwent a lot of torture, and would no doubt be fucked up as a result. He's scarred, inside and out. However, that does not make it okay for him to do whatever he wants, and I do not appreciate the way he treats Tatiana, even if she's okay with it. While a husband treating a wife this way might have been deemed normal or acceptable at the time, that does not make Alexander any less of an abusive monster.

One of the main fights Alexander and Tatiana have is about the fact that she insists on working at the hospital, even after he's earning enough money to support the family. All the other women stop working even when they just have boyfriends, so why won't she stay home, which is, after all, a woman's place. He bitches at her about her job constantly, accusing her of letting him and their son Anthony down by being away from home so much, even though Tatiana does fucking everything. She cooks all the food, and she's a great cook, from scratch, she keeps the house spotless, and she has sex with Alexander a million times a day, all while working 40-60 hours a week. Rather than thanking his lucky stars that he married a damn goddess, Alexander accuses her of not caring enough and of having an affair with a coworker.

After they have fights, about her job or about the fact that she has yet to become pregnant with a second child, even though fifteen or so years have passed from the birth of their first, Alexander seduces her into doing whatever he wants. Then there's this fight. An asshole friend of Alexander's is finally getting married, and they're having a bachelor party with strippers. Tatiana tells him she does not want him to go see the strippers, and after a heated discussion, he promises to leave before the strippers and be home by 1 AM. He stumbles in drunk and smelling like cheap perfume at 5 AM. Tatiana goes out to the hen party at some club the next night, as she threatened to do if he went to see the strippers. She comes home early, and reveals she was actually at the hospital, because, unlike her husband, she doesn't actually want to do things that will make him uncomfortable. She tells him not to touch her right now, and he does. He has sex with her, even though she didn't want him to. Sure, she got into it because that's what happens with them, but, in my mind, this is spousal rape. He forced her. After lots of sex, the fight's over. Just like that.

Then, later, things get worse. Alexander, convinced his wife is having an affair with a doctor at the hospital, because he saw the doctor make her laugh (no joke), and because she works Friday nights, he starts going out with a different asshole friend. A married woman with huge breasts hits on him, and he ends up playing with her breasts and getting a subpar blowjob in her car, then making plans to meet up for the real deal later that week. He tells Tatiana he's working and goes, but ultimately chickens out of actually sleeping with the woman, who calls his house and asks Tatiana where he is when Alexander doesn't show up to meet her. Penetration or not, this is adultery, and Alexander is a rat bastard who deserves to die alone.

For freaking the first time ever, Tatiana is finally so pissed she's considering leaving him, taking Anthony and going. When she says this, he hits her, several times in the face, leaving her bruised and bleeding. Just wait, though, it gets worse. Here's what Tatiana has to say: "'Except for this--anything you do is fine with me . . . So if you raise your voice or hand to me, I bow my head and take it'" (510). The this in that sentence is adultery. So, it's totally okay with her if he abuses her as long as he doesn't fuck anyone else. No, Tatiana. No, it's not okay.

What's even more not okay is that she DOES forgive him, of course. She lets him stay, and you know what his punishment is for cheating on his wife and then abusing her when she has the audacity to be mad at him about it? He finally gets more children (she was actually going to tell him she was pregnant again the night he went to fuck that other woman) and she quits her job at the hospital to raise them. You know what, Paullina Simons? It is in no way acceptable to romanticize an abusive, cheating husband, or to convey that men can do no wrong and should in fact be REWARDED for such horrific behavior.

The Shit Icing on This Crap Cake
Then, after 500+ pages of their unhealthy relationship, the book suddenly turns into a novel about the Vietnam war for a hundred pages. Simons did similar awkward changes of pace in The Bronze Horseman, but this one was even more out of place. Tatiana and Alexander's oldest son, Anthony, enlists to go Vietnam, and they freak out. In his fourth or fifth tour of duty, he goes missing. Setting up an incredibly lame parallel with the second book, Alexander goes to Vietnam to find and rescue him.

In Vietnam, Alexander discovers that his son has been entrapped by a one-eyed, eight-fingered North Vietnamese whore, who he married believing her pregnant with his child (she may or may not have been). Alexander convinces a family friend, and Anthony's commander in Vietnam, to stage a rescue to get his son in enemy territory, where he may not even be, even though this is completely against the commander's orders. In the process of rescuing Anthony (because of course they do), the Vietnamese girl (who is evil, obviously) is killed, as are a lot of the men who helped Alexander rescue his son. Alexander is grievously injured (but doesn't die because I hate everything). For their actions, both Anthony and Alexander are given medals of honor, even though Alexander wasn't supposed to fucking be there and Anthony got himself captured by falling in a love with a whore who was working as a spy. More men died in this operation than were rescued. But who fucking cares about that? All that matters is Alexander and Anthony!

Finally, I'm at the end of this damn book, the Coda, a prissy way name for the epilogue. In this epilogue, we learn that 1999, Alexander, age 80, and Tatiana, age 75, are still in love and have the perfect lives. All of their kids are married and successful. Every single child in the family is exceedingly attractive, and all the men are tall. Most important of all, you should note, each one of their four kids had at least one son, because, you know, men are more important than women, in case you missed that from all of the other misogyny in this disgusting book, which gives a happily ever after to a man who abused his wife.

Fuck This Shit, I'm Out
Now can anyone tell me why the FUCK this book has a 4.16 average rating on Goodreads? Only 81 people out of 6273 thought this was a one star book, as of the time of this writing. You know what? I give up. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, of course, but I really do not get how this book fit the epic love story that is purportedly going on in this series. Spousal rape, infidelity, and abuse are not romance, yet this is subtitled "A Love Story." Unlike Lady Gaga, I do not want any part of this Bad Romance.
Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.9k followers
January 13, 2014

10++ stars

WOW!! Once again, I am writing this review through my tears (happy tears). What a beautiful book and wonderful conclusion to one of the greatest love stories ever told!!!!

The first part of this book is about healing. Healing from all the traumas WW2 has left on their bodies and souls. About finding a way to emotionally find their way back to the peace of Lazarevo. Their memories haunt them like scars - unforgettable souvenirs of a war neither of them wanted to fight as they struggle to build a new life in the States with their son.

I really viewed books 1 & 2 as one story. The first ended on a cliffhanger and the story bled right into the second which ended in a way that wrapped up that part of the story. That first story really defines LOVE . Falling in love, being in love, the extremes to which a person will fight for their love.... In book 1, Tania is 17 years old while Alexander is 22, and by the end of book 2, Tania is 22 and Alexander is 27.

But book 3 is different. By the end of it, Alexander is about 85 and Tania is 80. This book is about LIFE . Its about the realities of married life based on true, all consuming love. Tania and Alexander make good decisions and some bad decisions as they struggle to find balance in their lives and to heal from the war... but through it all, it always comes back to their endlessly deep LOVE for each other. It feels like a very realistic and true story - no fairy tale here. Its gritty and INTENSELY, EXHAUSTINGLY, DEEPLY emotional .... and it all comes back to that one day, in Lenningrad, where a young officer in the Red Army crossed the street for a beautiful blond girl sitting on the bench at the bus stop eating her ice cream <3

Especially after having read books 1&2, I felt SO deeply emotionally connected to the characters that when ever they would have memories or would mention the names of people/places that had memories attached to them, I found myself bursting into tears even without realizing it. This series really makes you FEEL more strongly than any other I have ever read.

The ending is beautiful and perfect. I sobbed through the last 10 pages. Their story comes full circle with no questions left unanswered. I read this book SO slowly, savoring every word, never wanting the story to end.

Paullina Simmons is a truly gifted author. She has a way with words that I won't even try to do justice to with my own but I really think everyone should, at least once in their lives read this trilogy. I know I will definitely be rereading for the rest of my life.

Alexander and Tatiana's story through all 3 books is by leaps and bounds my absolute favorite story I have ever read... Nothing else even touches it. I have NO idea how to move on from these books...

I don't know what else to say, except if you haven't read book 1, The Bronze Hoseman, you should all really bump it to the very top of your to-read pile.

My review of Book #1: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

My review of Book #2: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

CASTING: see above


For more of my reviews, book news and updates:
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Profile Image for Alyssa.
55 reviews
January 25, 2013
How can I explain my feelings for this book?

Do you know how every television show in the history of television has that one will they/won't they couple? At some point, they eventually come together... and it is totally underwhelming for viewers. The relationship just seems weird.

That is what happened here.

When Tatiana and Alexander first marry in The Bronze Horseman, it is damn near perfect. The second half of that novel focuses on their relationship and it is so well done. Perfect measures of pure love and pure angst.

Of course, they're no longer the same 18 year old girl and 23 year old soldier. I was looking forward to that. I wanted to see them grow up and grow together. Life has always been tough on them (maybe unrealistically so at times). There have always been sacrifices, struggles and obstacles from the very start. What makes their romance so great is how loyal, faithful and steadfast they remained.

Eh... not some much in The Summer Garden.

Did I really need to force myself to struggle through 3 decades of pain, anguish, sex to cover up said pain and anguish, more separation, infidelity, argument after argument after argument, domestic violence, jealousy, more pain, more anguish, more sex as a band aid, etc.? The bright spots in this novel could not make up for all the dreariness. This was just a dreary Tatiana and a dreary Alexander, struggling through one hell of a dreary marriage until they finally get a Happily Ever After in their 80s at the end of the novel. To me... they needed a therapist or a divorce lawyer.

And what the hell happened to Shura?

My suggestion? Read the first two and skip this one. Just end with the sense of hope and contentment that Tatiana and Alexander leaves the reader with instead of 60 years of a bad, desperate, dysfunctional marriage.
760 reviews131 followers
August 6, 2015
0 Star

I read this book a long time ago and I'm going to jump headfirst into this review. This is a rant. You can be damn well sure, this has spoilers.


Let us start with the 180 Alexander did in this book. I did not like many, many things in the first book, but I accepted them. They were part of the story and he did not have control over a lot of them. But what he did in this book?? Those were damn well his choices .

He emotionally abused Tatiana the entire time. And of course,the reason was given as him being emotionally damaged due to war.
Reason : Acceptable
His decision to not change his behavior : Not acceptable


He disrespected Tatiana by not listening to her opinion. He worked with a bunch of lewd, harassing and disrespecting men who made Tatiana uncomfortable at every instance possible. So she asks him to consider changing his job . But of course why will he listen to her? He is the man of the house and is making good money.
Reason : Not respecting your wife's opinion for money? NEVER acceptable
Letting Tatiana live in misery : Oh hell no

He disregarded Tatiana's request to not go to a bachelor party. She felt uncomfortable with the idea of her husband going to a bachelor party where there would be strippers. Now please take into account that they both are from Russia in that time where this is not a custom. So her discomfort is justified. But what does Alexander do? Oh obviously he goes to the party as his friend needed something from the place and stays there till 4 in the morning because he or his friend was drunk or something.
Reason : Staying there for WHATEVER reason when his wife is up at home worried. NOT ACCEPTABLE

Oh and did I mention he came home smelling like women's perfume. But that was just because some woman came and rubbed herself over him. And he being 6 feet tall and so strong, couldn't push her away ,right ?


He physically abuses his wife multiple times.
Reason : Doesn't matter. Abuse is wrong.
his behavior : If you find it acceptable, I PITY YOU.

The the prize worthy thing he did......guess what??

HE CHEATED ON HER BECAUSE HE THOUGHT SHE DIDN'T LOVE HIM ANYMORE. He sees his wife laughing and talking with a co-worker and assumes she doesn't love him. So he lets another woman give him a blow job and touches her boobs and SCHEDULES a time, place and day to fuck her. Great guy huh ?? But of course as at the end moment he gets a conscience, we readers are supposed to ignore the aforementioned BJ and touching right ?
Reason : His assumption is totally invalid . No man with INTEGRITY AND BACKBONE , no matter what the reason cheats on his wife. So his reasons are not acceptable.
His actions : Those of you who have given this book good ratings, I sincerely hope you do not consider such behavior ideal in real life.

And when he suddenly realizes what he has done to her all these years is wrong, what does he do? Does he make up for it? Not that he can make up for decades worth abuse. But does he even try? NO. You know what he does?? HE CRIES. Yeah you read that right. He cries. And as far as I remember, it was written that he cries for the first time since his teenage years. Guess what.


I don't care whether he cries or commits suicide. Tatiana had to bear this egoistical, arrogant, disrespectful, abusive, piece of shit's behavior all because she loved him?? Because she forgived him time and again ?

I only have one thing to say about Tatiana. That strong, independent, free spirited girl we met in the first 2 books now resembles what we call a DOORMAT.

And the cherry on the top ?? They solved ALL of the above mentioned things (add hundred's of arguments and jealously and pain to it) with sex . All of those who gave this book 4 and 5 stars are way more optimistic and forgiving than I am. I wish someone would have burnt this book before publishing it. Harsh? Yeah well, its nothing compared to the torture of reading it is.
Profile Image for Mikee (ReadWithMikee).
203 reviews1,310 followers
April 14, 2017
❝He is thinking of sailboats in distant oceans, the desert from dimmest childhood, the ghost of fortune, the girl on the bench. When he saw her, he saw something new. He saw it because he wanted to see it, because he wanted to change his life. He stepped off the curb and out of the deadfall. To cross the street. To follow her. And she will give your life meaning, she will save you. Yes, yes—to cross.

'We’ll meet again in Lvov, my love and I…' Tatiana hums, eating her ice cream, in our Leningrad, in jasmine June, near Fontanka, the Neva, the Summer Garden, where we are forever young.❞

I'm a little torn on how I should rate his book. Majority of the book was a solid 4 stars but once we got towards the end, sadly, the story felt way too dragged on. Alexander and Tatiana's story should've ended a LONG time ago. After a certain point in The Summer Garden, after what Alexander did, I was ready to put the book down once and for all. But I binge read and stuck around for three books, I needed Alexander and Tatiana's happy ending like I needed air.

Going into this book, I knew Alexander and Tatiana we're going to have problems with their marriage. I just never thought that things would get so ugly. For majority of the book, their ups and their downs were understandable. Alexander and Tatiana were damaged after everything they went through during the war. Everywhere they looked they saw Leningrad. They saw death and loss. They saw Lazarevo. They saw June 22, 1941. Alexander had been a soldier for all of his life. He didn't know how to be anything else. They were separated longer than they've even been married. Slowly, but surely, they began to recover. They were finally starting to be the happy family that I was desperately waiting for them to be. Things weren't always pretty but they were so in love and so happy with very little. Until one Friday night.

Tatiana has always been stubborn since the very first page of The Bronze Horseman. But I've never been this infuriated with her until The Summer Garden. Alexander included. I understood why Tatiana wanted to keep working. In a time where women were expected to stay home and be a housewife, I think even I would defy the norm and go to work. But Tatiana took it a bit too far. She loved her work and loved helping other people all her life but even I felt as if she put her job before her family. She did her duties cooking and cleaning but she was still absent from her husband and son's lives. At that point, I wasn't surprised that Alexander went out and sought attention from other women, but even he took it too far as well. After that Friday night... After Carmen... Cheating is an all-time deal breaker for me. I was prepared for fights. Yelling. Even pushing or shoving. We were expected to forgive and forget, but I couldn't do that. Cheating taints and corrupts a relationship, most especially a marriage. There's no going back from that no matter how much I wish I could.

After the cheating incident, I felt like the story just went downhill but picked back up in the last few pages of the book. Everything in between was dreadfully boring. I didn't really care for the rescue mission or conversations about SDI so I skimmed pretty much the last part of the book. I did love seeing everybody grow up and grow old and the last few chapters were heartwarming and bittersweet but I just wanted to conclude Alexander and Tatiana's story already. After so many years, I just want that happy ending... And alas I finally got it. I'm still bawling my eyes out just writing this review. I honestly don't know how I'll be able to move on a read anything else that isn't this series. It's taken over my whole life and yet it's only been 3-4 days!

The Bronze Horseman became my favorite book of all time. I was told that the events in the first book were historically inaccurate and although that disappoints me a bit, I was still able to love The Bronze Horseman as a romance. For me, Alexander and Tatiana's story was truly the greatest love story ever told. I lost, I broke, I cried, I triumphed, I loved, I grew, I lived... A life beyond my own all because of these two characters. My soul felt like it aged fifty years and more as I brought The Summer Garden to a close. Reading this trilogy has touched my heart in ways I never expected it would and no matter how bad or ugly things got in the end, I am truly grateful that The Bronze Horseman found its way into my life. Thank you Paullina Simons for taking us on this life-changing journey.
Profile Image for Floripiquita.
1,378 reviews159 followers
March 4, 2018
Me ha costado muchísimo hacer la reseña de este libro, que quizá es -aunque suene increíble- el más duro de los tres que componen esta maravillosa saga. Si ya de Tatiana & Alexander decía que no era un libro nada fácil, este lo es aún menos si cabe. Esta historia es eso que pasa tras el felices para siempre, es la relación de pareja de unos personajes con el alma torturada, que se aman con locura pero que hasta ahora nunca habían convivido ni vivido juntos-más allá de ese breve paraíso que fue Lazarevo-; de unos personajes complicados e imperfectos con un pasado incruento e imposible de borrar, con sus claroscuros, su dependencia uno del otro, su cabezoneria y sus malas decisiones -ay Shura, lo que me has hecho llorar no está escrito-. Es la VIDA, así con mayúsculas: la vida, con sus miserias y tristezas pero también con esos destellos y momentos de indescriptible felicidad. Todo ello bellamente narrado de forma magistral y con un punto cruel -la vida, de nuevo- por esa increíble autora que es Paullina Simons.

Mención aparte merece para mí en este libro el personaje de Anthony, que como primer hijo de sus padres sufre tanto o más que ellos, y cuya triste historia me ha llegado al corazón.
Profile Image for Natalie.
287 reviews65 followers
March 4, 2020
The Summer Garden is Paullina Simon's magnificent conclusion to Tatiana and Alexander's epic and timeless love story. It's her masterpiece. Tatiana and Alexander have forever imprinted themselves on my heart.

While the first two books, The Bronze Horseman and Tatiana and Alexander is about their madly- all consuming- crazy - doomed love, The Summer Garden is about what happens after you get your supposedly happily ever after...it's about LIFE. It's smiles, heartbreak, tears, passion, pain, grief, redemption and joy. This is the most important book in this triology. It's the book you'll need the most. It's the most important one.

Tatiana and Alexander have survived the worst of the 20th century - from Hitler’s invasion and siege of Leningrad and starvation and death to the war camps in Germany- and I've cried a river for them but it's The Summer Garden which was the most challenging to read. We've been waiting for so long for this couple to reunite and be happy, and when they finally do they can't seem to break through the wall of war between them. They love each other so much and Tatiana and Alexander has gone through fire, they have bled - for each other. That’s why it’s so heart wrenching to see their struggles. They both know too much, have seen too much. Something they can’t seem to overcome. And how can we expect them to? Love don’t always conquer everything.

I didn't expect this, but when I was at the finish line, I cried and cried and cried. It's the end of a wonderful era, which I'll carry with me for the rest of my life. I love these characters with a blind, stupid passion. I soak up every detail like a thirsty sponge.

My only complaint was that it was too short, 752 pages and still too bloody short. These books are my heart. There's no way I can articulate just how much I love them. No author never has to write anything, ever again. That's it, I'm done. I found the series that will take me through life.

In my heart and soul, Tatiana and Alexander are forever young in Lazarevo...

This is my absolute favorite series in the world. There's no question. I fall so madly in love with them I can't tell you. Yes, they're pretty big for the untrained eye, but its one of the reasons why I love them so much, it made me have extra time with the characters and the story. There's not often a series comes a along that will change ones life forever, but The Bronze Horseman, Tatiana and Alexander and The Summer Garden have. In ten, thirty, fifty years....this will still be my number one love story.

These books aren't something I can tell you about, they need to be experienced. I urge everyone to read this triology. These are the kind of books that make everything else you read fade in comparison.


"We thought the hard part was over—but we were wrong. Living is the hardest part. Figuring out how to live your life when you’re all busted up inside and out—there is nothing harder.”

"This is days and days and months and years, and all the minutes in between, just you and me, one man and one woman in one marriage.”

Tonight was a night of many firsts. Alexander did something he had not done since 1943 when he found out whose blood was coursing through his bloodless veins.
He wept.

“Do you remember what you’re supposed to do now? Kiss the palm of your hand and press it against your heart.”

"We didn't read about the war. We lived through it, and you did too. You do know that boys die in war, no? And those are the lucky ones."

They stared at each other. Every ocean, every river, every minute they had walked together was in their gaze. He said nothing and she said nothing. She kneeled by him, her hands on him, on his chest, on his heart, on his lungs that took air in but could not move air out, on his open wound; her eyes were on him, and in their eyes was every block of uncounted, unaccounted-for time, every moment they had lived since June 22, 1941, the day war started for the Soviet Union. Her eyes were filled with everything she felt for him. Her eyes were true.

“To cross the street. To follow her. And she will give your life meaning, she will save you. Yes, yes-to cross.”

“I don’t want this life to end,” said Alexander. “The good, the bad, the everything, the very old, to ever end.”

“Do you see the Field of Mars, where I walked next to my bride in her white wedding dress, with red sandals in her hands, when we were kids?”

“I see it well.”

“We spent all our days afraid it was too good to be true, Tatiana,” said Alexander. “We were always afraid all we had was a borrowed five minutes from now.”

Her hands went on his face. “That’s all any of us ever has, my love,” she said. “And it all flies by.”

“Yes,” he said, looking at her, at the desert, covered coral and yellow with golden eye and globe mallow. “But what a five minutes it’s been.”

"We'll meet again in Lvov, my love and I....in our Leningrad, in jasmine June, near Fontanka, the Neva, the Summer Garden, where we are forever young."
Profile Image for Kristin (KC).
251 reviews25.1k followers
July 23, 2016
My Tatiana and Alexander whirlwind has officially (and reluctantly), come to an end. I must admit to feeling slightly lost right now, and confess my emotional fatigue brought on by the tremendous heartache of this beautifully touching trilogy. 

The final installation to The Bronze Horseman was all that I had hoped it would be and more. At first- I was unsure where this book was headed; Alexander's character had changed dramatically due to the trials of war, and I was afraid the old "Shura" would never return. But my worries proved to be in vain as I watched Alexander and Tania slowly rebuild their lives together. 

Never before have I felt the kind of love and admiration as I have for these two characters, and in their ability to overcome the seemingly impossible. "The Summer Garden", although filled with its share of angst, provided much needed healing and offered the perfect, most lovely ending to a passionate journey that I am not likely to ever forget...

Profile Image for Beatriz.
834 reviews722 followers
November 2, 2016
No es una novela a la usanza, es… la vida misma. Con momentos altos y bajos, con problemas, con discusiones, con frustraciones, pero también con un amor tan profundo que les permite sobreponerse a todo. Su historia nos afecta tanto porque son Tatiana y Alexander, dos personajes con los que hemos sufrido más de lo indecible, y que hemos llegado a querer demasiado. Debo reconocer que abordé la lectura con bastante cautela, porque había leído muchos comentarios repudiando principalmente algunas acciones de Alexander. Claramente él no es un angelito, yo lo tengo calzado desde la primera novela, pero, como en todo matrimonio, las culpas siempre son compartidas.

Paullina Simons demuestra una vez más una sensibilidad apabullante al momento de traspasarnos los sentimientos y emociones de ambos personajes. Creo que pocos autores logran influir tanto en mi estado anímico, incluso cuando no estoy leyendo. Por lo mismo, cuando llegaba ya a las últimas páginas, tenía una terrible sensación de pérdida por estar terminando esta maravillosa trilogía. Son pocas las veces (y esta ha sido una de ellas) en que tenido que esperar 2 o 3 días antes de poder comenzar con otra lectura.

Esta última entrega es realmente conmovedora y, aunque la acción tarda un poco en arrancar, tiene muy merecidas mis 5 estrellas.
Profile Image for Mishelle LaBrash.
114 reviews54 followers
January 25, 2010
Phew... Well I'm EXHAUSTED!!!

Seriously! Never in my life have I read a novel, that forcefully strips you of all strength with its sheer emotional instability.

Many times, while turning the pages I was sorely tempted to put it down. To find contentment in the ending of it's previous installment 'Tatiana and Alexander'... But I'm a trooper, and I'm not a fan of not seeing things through.. So I persevered.

Thank God for small favours!

Eventhough, there were times I could literally hear my heart breaking, and the words were so blurred, I couldn't even decipher them, and sitting still, was an absoloute impossibility, my foot in constant agitated motion.

Eventhough, there were times I felt like I could personally phone one, Ms. Paullina Simons and scream 'WHY', and 'HOW COULD YOU'!

I adored every page of this book.

Enduring everything they endured.. Suffering as they both had suffered. Every syllable, of every word, that created a sentence, turning into a paragraph, eventually completing the series was most definatly worth it.

The message is simple

In a world, where divorce is epidemic. Broken famillies are the norm. Where, once the honeymoon phase is over, and life brings with it all its profound difficulties, a staggering percentage of couples raise there white flags and simply walk away.

Two amazing people, loving eachother to distraction, refusing to allow the pressures of life destroy the very reason they've survived, simply REFUSE to raise their white flags.

This, Ladies and Gentlman, is a real love story.

Profile Image for Kelly .
755 reviews22 followers
July 5, 2015
While this book is my favorite from the series it is also the most difficult emotionally to read. Tatiana and Alexander embark on a journey that is life.. Trying to put themselves back together as individuals as well as lovers.

So many twists and turns in this one. I can only say if you haven't read it run out and buy it! (if you can find it in the U.S.) Perfect closure to a wonderful series.

Alexander will break your heart but I found that I would allow it to break 100x just to find the love that he and Tatiana share.

My favorite quote shows Tatiana's capacity for love and forgiveness and Alexanders devotion and love for her. Amazing!

"Alexander, you broke my heart. But for carrying me on your back, for pulling my dying sled, for giving me your last bread, for the body you destroyed for me, for the son you have given me, for the twenty-nine days we lived like Red Birds of Paradise, for all our Naples sands and Napa wines, for all the days you have been my first and last breath, for Orbeli- I will forgive you. "

*In June of 2011 a new edition was released you can find it at Amazon.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews46 followers
February 21, 2020
The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3), Paullina Simons

The Summer Garden is the third book in Paullina Simons' The Bronze Horseman trilogy. The novel continues the story of Tatiana Metanova and her husband Alexander Belov.

Four years have gone by since World War II has ended; and Tatiana and Alexander are married and living a life together with their son, Anthony. Yet, they are strangers to each other. Having been separated from each other for years, they do not know each other anymore.

They live a satisfactory life, with Alexander working as a lobster-man - coming home each day smelling of fish. Tatiana is now known to outsiders as 'Tania'. They move from place to place.

After Alexander confesses to why he was so cold to her, they reconcile and move houses. Finally living in a place that they've dreamed of, Tatiana's friend Vikki phones her to say that the USA government is looking for Alexander. Fearing for her husband's safety, she does not tell him. Finding out himself somehow, he goes to Washington to make everything right - also finding out that his supposedly executed mother "is still alive" in a concentration camp. Realising though, that he has been tricked by an enemy, he does not go to search for her. He meets Tom Richter - a lieutenant colonel - and earns himself a job in Yuma as a captain of the Military Intelligence arm of the U.S. Army.

تاریخ خوانش روز بیستم ماه دسامبر سال 2017 میلادی

عنوان: باغ تابستانی؛ کتاب سوم از سه گانه ی اسب­ سوار برنزی، نویسنده: پولینا (پائولینا) سیمونز (سایمونز)؛

داستانهای سری «اسب ­سوار برنزی»، در روز بیست و دوم ماه ژوئن سال 1941 میلادی، یعنی روزی که آلمان علیه شوروی، اعلان جنگ داد، آغاز می­شوند؛ اینروز زندگی دو خواهر، و خانواده ­شان را، دیگر می­کند. یکی از خواهرها، «تاتیانا»، آنگاه که پی خوراکی می­گردد، با «الکساندر»، سربازی جوان از ارتش سرخ، دیدار می­کند، و این دو عاشق هم میشوند. اما عشق­شان رازی با خود به همراه دارد، که برای هر آنکه از آن راز خبردار شود، به مرگ محکوم خواهد شد. در این کتاب چهار سال از پایان جنگ جهانی دوم بگذشته، تاتیانا و الکساندر ازدواج کرده اند و ...؛ ا. شربیانی
30 reviews25 followers
April 7, 2010
I absolutely loved The Bronze Horseman, the first book in the Tatiana and Alexander trilogy, and was looking forward to reading the conclusion to their epic love story.

I was greatly (and grievously) disappointed. Yes, Simons delivered by giving an incredibly emotional ride but (and this is a HUGE but), there was just one scene which totally and UTTERLY made the whole trilogy feel like an epic waste.



Dear Paullina Simons,

You have balls.

WHY, why? I have invested a lot of time, and you have allowed me to build a strong attachment to both Tatiana and Alexander but why on earth would you write an event which basically undermined Alexander's whole character and one of the great foundations of their whole relationship and why I adored Alexander so much. His devotion to Tatiana, the fact that he would do anything for her, and his FIDELITY to her, after his years of numerous sexual debauchery, was one thing that made him utterly awesome. I can never resist a reformed rake. One thing I cannot stand is an adulterous hero. *throws book out of window*

True, their troubles reflected those a 'real' marriage may go through, but it was not realistic to Alexander's and Tatiana's personalities, especially not after all they have been through together.

I will now attempt to forget that this novel ever existed and remember Tatiana and Alexander as they were in The Bronze Horseman.
Profile Image for Marisa Sauco.
302 reviews260 followers
January 21, 2018
Trilogía emocionalmente ARROLLADORA. ���️
Argumentalmente SUBLIME. ���️

Después de 2372 páginas y 17 días de vivir y sentir cada momento, cada lugar, cada situación, cada sentimiento, cada personaje de esta maravillosa, extraordinaria, preciosa e inolvidable historia, yo me pregunto... ¿Cómo se sigue ahora?
Profile Image for Zeek.
870 reviews149 followers
April 20, 2010
I can't tell you how much I adore Simons for this book!

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 for any Brits and Ozzies out there!). 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 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 insidious, with it's ghostly 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, death and birth, through children growing up and themselves growing apart, 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 haired 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- but so worth the time invested. My wish is for everyone to find a book that moves them as much as these have with me!
Profile Image for Annie.
Author 2 books104 followers
October 25, 2020
Don't let the size of this tome put you off - you should find yourself flying through the pages. If you've gotten this far and read The Bronze Horseman and The Bridge to Holy Cross then you'll be dying to finish the series and reach a resolution for Tatiana and Alexander. You won't be disappointed.

I don't want to give anything away but this was definitely written at the same calibre as the first novel. It was just as gut-wrenching and just as powerful. Finishing these three books, gave me such a feeling of satisfaction. This story, of two people in incredible times, THIS is what reading is all about.

This is the kind of book you dream about at night. These are the kind of characters who infiltrate your thoughts all day. This is the kind of story that stays with you for your lifetime. I may never have lived in Lenningrad during WWII; I may go to my grave having never seen Russia but I have experienced it with a ferocity that only an imagination can conjure. I have lived someone else's lifetime within my own...and what an incredible lifetime it was.

These are novels I will revisit again one day. I cannot praise them highly enough. I wish I could read them for the first time again!

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Profile Image for ★ Larissa ~ book crusher ~.
239 reviews80 followers
September 24, 2017

So it´s been weeks since I finished The Summer Garden and I haven´t been been able to write this review at all. But why? You ask. What in the world is going on with you? This is your favorite romance of all time. After all, this is Shura we are talking about... Shura with the sled and the copy of Pushkin and Shura with the creme-brulee eyes and delicious tanned skin with that faint scent of nicotine in the morning after endless bouts of hot Lazarevo sex. Didn´t you love this book and rate it ALL THE STARS in the universe? What is wrong with you?

Well, this freaking trilogy is what is wrong with me. Shura wrecked me and now I can't recover. I have spent the last few weeks thinking about this book, getting my hands on as many WW2 wartime romance movies and shows as I can, scouring the internet for recommendations on what to read after this trilogy. And now I come here defeated, head down because, alas, seems like I'm screwed. I wish someone had warned me this series was going to ruin all other romance novels for me.

Like, for real people, who is going to compare to Alexander Barrington? Jamie Fraser you say. Read Outlander, you say. Well, I already read Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager years ago and while I enjoyed them very much - Outlander is one of my favorite romance novels of all time after all - let's face it. It's no TBH. Fellow Alexander lovers will understand what I'm talking about. I want Shura in the tent and the cabin in Lazarevo levels of epic romance. That's what I want. I want Tatia with the Red Cross, in the wolves den of the Sachsenhausen Prison Camp trying to hide the emotions ravaging her insides levels of epic angst. I mean, if you don't have potato shelf levels of hotness, I don't know what to tell you.

So I'm going to turn this review, which let's face it, I'm doing an awful job of actually reviewing The Summer Garden, into a desperate plea for recommendations on what to do with my life reading-wise post TBH. I can't pay you, but you'll be doing the Lord's work. I've heard whispers of other books out there, like the Tea Rose series by Jennifer Donnely and The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet, or Florencia Bonelli's Year of Fire trilogy. I just don't know, guys. I kind of just want to go reread The Bronze Horseman. I already read From Sand and Ash earlier this year and although a worthy contender, TBH is still better.

Just a quick note regarding The Summer Garden because I will feel guilty if I don't actually touch upon the actual story. No, it did not ruin Alexander for me. Was I close to bitch-slapping the ever loving life out of him (virtually speaking) more than once in the book? Oh hell yes. Not so much for that thing with

So no, it wasn't that particular issue that threatened to ruin my love for my Shura, but

That ending did a number in my heart. Damn you, Paullina Simons. Oh, and there was a surprising amount of sex in this one. Guess who you'll find complaining? Yep, not me.

Also, I'm going to need a Napa-sized, brothel bed.

And just one more tidbit. It still surprises me how few people realize what The Bronze Horseman is really about. This book is really about Communism vs. the free world. Take Communist Russia out of it and you've got nothing.
Profile Image for Helene Jeppesen.
688 reviews3,626 followers
June 9, 2016
This conclusion to The Bronze Horseman series, which I have been reading for years, was perfect. Once again, Paullina Simons delivers a beautiful love story that is a continuation to the first two books, and I loved seeing where things were going with Tatiana and Alexander.
This trilogy has taught me a lot, and it hasn't seized to take my breath away time and time again. It's brutal, but it's honest, and I think you can learn a lot from reading it. Sure, there are some moments which you might question because they make you feel uncomfortable, but the thing is that those moments make sense in the bigger picture of Tatiana's and Alexander's story.
I, for one, am going to proclaim this one of my favourite series of all time <3
Profile Image for Smitten's Book Blog.
337 reviews318 followers
May 18, 2013

Jeez, I feel like I've run a metaphorical marathon!!! I can't believe I'd finished it. I was beginning to wonder if perhaps I would be reading this books forever more.

Ok, now, I'm going to be totally honest about this book... there were parts I absolutely adored and there were parts I really struggled with.

It is long. It is very very very long. And I will admit that I do think it is too long. I think there is a lot in it that could have been cut. I know that there are flashbacks and scenes that are included for certain reasons, but some of them definitely could have been shorter.

At about 80%, I really felt that the book could have pretty much finished there. I struggled from about 80-95%. I just felt like it was going on forever.

The other thing I struggled with is going to be difficult to write about without spoilers... there were some questionable moral decisions made at around 62% in... and I wasn't sure I was going to overcome them. And in some ways, I didn't.

Alexander, you broke my heart. But for carrying me on your back, for pulling my dying sled, for giving me your last bread, for the body you destroyed for me, for the son you have give me, for the twenty-nine days we lived like Red Birds of Paradise, for all our Naples sands and Napa wines, for all the days you have been my first and last breath, for Orbeli - I will forgive you.

So, I was ready to knock a star off of this for the length, the wayward moral compass, the dragging... and then came the end.

Just a breath ago, an eighteen-year-old nurse was bending over Rebecca's father's father, a wounded soldier in a Soviet hospital, saying, yes, Shura, we are going to have a baby.

Oh my goodness. I cried and was covered in goosebumps for the whole of the final 2%... and in a book this long, trust me, 2% takes a while to read!

The ending was so beautiful, in every way, that I couldn't help the tears that fell. There was nothing monumental or shocking, just a stunning end to an unbelievably emotive, heart wrenching story.

You know, that, don't you? Alexander whispers. I love you. I'm blind for you, wild for you. I'm sick with you. I told you that our first night together when I asked you to marry me, I'm telling you now. Everything that's happened to us, everything, is because I crossed the street for you. I worship you. You know that through and through. The way I hold you, the way I touch you, my hands on you, God, me inside you, all the things I can't say during the daylight, Tatiana, Tania, Tatiasha, babe, do you feel me?

This series created such real emotions in me, like nothing I've ever experienced before. I tend to be quite an emotional sap when reading books as it. Someone dies, I cry. Someone has to leave, I cry... I'm wimp. But this series completely shredded me. It's impossible to convey everything you will experience in this book, in one review.

"I want amnesia! I want a fucking lobotomy. Could I please never think again? Look what's happened to us, us, Tania. Don't you remember how we used to be? Just look what's happened."

Obviously, with a book this long, soooo much happens. There are good parts, painful parts, frustrating parts, heartbreaking parts... yes, some dull parts... steamy parts, exciting parts... there is everything!

"I have maybe a half-hour before the next surgery. Want to go and get a cup of coffee?"
What I want is to meander eight kilometers down the canals with you from Kirov to your Fifth Soviet door. I want to get on the tram with you, the bus with you, sit in the Italian Gardens with you. That is what I want. I will take the cup of coffee in your hospital cafeteria.

But what you will get, above all else, is a feeling of true love, so palpable that it will seep into everything you are for the entire time you are reading it. It's why those few unnecessary parts, the flash backs, the history lessons, the political talk, etc. frustrated me. All I wanted, as you can feel is all they want, is Alexander and his Tatia.

This book is a real 'life story'. It follows two young lovers through, to the end of their lives. It was the reminiscing, the nostalgia, the memories of young love, youth, strength, hardships and togetherness that had me in tears. It's the inevitable. The one truth we can count on with everything we have. Life moves on. And in that, lives come and go and eventually, are no more. And the book reflects that so emotively that I felt as if I had lived every second with them.

Where was he, her Alexander, of once? Was he truly gone? The Alexander of the Summer Garden, of their first Lazarevo days, of the hat in his hands, white toothed, peaceful, laughing, languid, stunning Alexander, had he been left far behind?
Well, Tatiana supposed that was only right.
For Alexander believed his Tatiana of once was gone, too. The swimming child Tatiana of the Luga, of the Neva, of the River Kama.
Perhaps on the surface they were still in their twenties, but their hearts were old.

So, for that, I can't give it any less than five, raw, unexplainable, must-read stars! Every book lover should read these books. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to nurse my monumental book-hangover. I see wine and chocolate in my very near future.

"I don't want this life to end," said Alexander. "The good, the bad, the everything, the very old, to ever end."

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September 18, 2013
4.5 ★'s

So if you've read the blurb, you know that now Alexander and Tatiana are finally reunited and in America. Unfortunately, not all their problems are solved. They both have changed so much in their time apart and they are parents now...trying to find a way to make their family and their lives work.

I was sooo happy when I started reading this book and finally got to the parts I've been waiting for..Shura and Tania back together! I have to admit that I'm a little upset that we didn't get the big reunion with Anthony...WTH? And I would've liked to have some story about how Alexander felt about New York especially because as you read further in the story, it's very obvious he has some issues with it.

They've decided to buy a camper and move from place to place staying a month at each location and getting to see and know America. Usually they ended up staying way longer than a month and for the most part that was a good thing. Of course, there were some problems though.


Alexander is pretty messed up and luckily Tania doesn't let up working her "magic" to get him back to his old self. Alexander also has to insert himself into Anthony's life and become his Dad which is a little hard because he's been so used to Tania. Tania also ends up keeping a huge secret from Alexander and that causes a lot of unnecessary drama.

Finally, they end up at the property that Tania bought with Alexander's mother's money in Arizona. I was really surprised that they ended up living here because Alexander seemed so against it. But things started coming together for them. Alexander finding something that he enjoyed doing and Tania nursing. Unfortunately, still more red flags!

And then...well, you knew it was coming but it's just sooo heart breaking! And to be honest, I felt it was very out of character for Shura. I get his reasons but they were flimsy at best and heck, I can even understand the first part but the car and especially then the Wednesday and his best suit!!...horrible, just horrible.


And then....it's the big blow up! I had a hard time with how women were treated during that time period and while certainly Tania doesn't hold her punches, I was totally shocked at what Shura did. I think I might be more upset with him about this....naw, they're both really, really bad.

But I do love all that drama...it literally made the book and in a weird way, it cemented their relationship even more. Sadly, after this, it became a big snoozefest for me. I just don't like all that military stuff and I could care less about all the names of the different weapons. *BIG YAWN* The actually mission was good and the twist regarding Anthony was a big surprise for me.

The book ends with a sort of very long epilogue. The time has fast forwarded very quickly and we get caught up on what everyone is doing. It was a bit hard to keep track of who was who but I liked how things seem to come full circle especially the part where Shura and Tania were in town. (But what the heck was up with the mobile home?)

Overall, I enjoyed the series very much....definitely an epic love story. However, there are things that are too realistic and not realistic enough. There are things left unsaid and unanswered and then there are things that we find out too much about. We get Shura's POV when I want Tania's POV and vice versa. It's hard not to be picky when something affects you as much as this series does. I wish I could say more and talk about all the things I want to but those are spoilers! One way or another, this series will affect you...it's hard to quit thinking about it and even dreaming about it. Definitely a series that will be one of my favorites for a long, long time.

Favorite quotes:

♥ "Shh…Tatiasha…shh…I’m looking at you…and what do you know, it turns out that blonde…is my favorite color.”

♦ “Dad, why are they showing us their boobies?”

“I’m not sure, son. It’s a strange ritualistic custom common to these parts of the world.”

♥ “Are You a Match Made in Heaven, Crabby Cancer Girl and Chatty Gemini Guy?” (“They got us all wrong, Shura, didn’t they? It’s so the other way around.”)

♥ “And what kind does my own wife like?”

“I like,” she said, grinning back through the mirror, “the baddest boy of all.”

Shura & Tania's song
Profile Image for Έλσα.
515 reviews103 followers
February 22, 2018
Αυτο ηταν λοιπον... Τελειωσε αυτο το μαγευτικο ταξιδι. Ισως το τελος το ηθελα λιγακι διαφορετικο αλλα δικαιολογω το μηνυμα που ηθελε να περασει και το οποιο ειναι εμφανες. Η αγαπη τα νικαει ολα!!! Για εμενα ειναι ο πιο ομορφος ερωτας που γεννηθηκε κ φουντωσε κατα τη διαρκεια του Β' Παγκοσμιου Πολεμου. Ανθρωποι που δε φοβηθηκαν τα δεινα του πολεμου, που αγωνιστηκαν, θυσιαστηκαν, τραυματιστηκαν σωματικα κ ψυχικα και επεζησαν. Περασαν απο πολλες δοκιμασιες, αντιμετωπισαν καθημερινα προβληματα αλλα παλεψαν ενωμενοι και τα ελυσαν. Προδοθηκαν και συγχωρεθηκαν. Ειμαι σιγουρη πως θα μου λειψουν πολυ οι ηρωες της τριλογιας. Στο μυαλο μου ομως θα μεινουν για πολυ καιρο.
Profile Image for Nicole.
180 reviews13 followers
April 3, 2017
THIS! BOOK! I am so in love with this series and these characters that it seems impossible that my love for them could continue to grow. And yet...
Every time I reread their story my love grows deeper and deeper. This book and this series deserves 100+++++ stars from me. I will be rereading/reliving it until the end of time. I will never grow bored of my beloved Tatiana and Alexander. Ever. They live on forever in my heart and soul.

*First read: March 14-24, 2014
*Second read: August, 2014
*Third read: Sept. 10-Oct. 11, 2015
*Fourth read: July 26-Aug 12, 2016
*Fifth read: March 28-April 3, 2017 (audio)

Fourth read notes: As usual, every time I reread a Paullina Simons novel, I find new meaning and new favorite quotes. This time I was so emotionally devastated by the things that occur with their son. That section of the book hit me so hard this time around. I think it's because I'm in a different place in my life than I was my first read.

CODA IS LITERARY PERFECTION. I'm sorry but there is absolutely no better way that Paullina Simons could have ended this book. I could live happily in that chapter til the end of time. It's so beautifully and brilliantly written. PERFECTION!!!

Fifth read notes: my heart is so full right now. I loved the audiobook. It's going to get a lot of use. Every time I reread these books different parts stick out for me and I pick up something new. I'm already looking forward to my next reread.

Profile Image for Alejandra.
270 reviews50 followers
February 19, 2018
Lo mismo que la primera vez (solo que ésta es la sexta) soy incapaz de cerrar este libro. Después de sus emocionantes, desgarradoras y maravillosas 960 páginas, sigo sin poder cerrarlo.
Esta historia de amor, guerra y vida es demasiado grande para el corazón de cualquiera.
Insuperable, nada se le compara.
Volvería a leerlo un millón de veces más.
Profile Image for Kimberly Carrington-Fox.
736 reviews167 followers
February 20, 2018
“I don't want this life to end," said Alexander. "The good, the bad, the everything, the very old, to ever end.”
Yo tampoco, Alexander, ni vuestra vida ni vuestra inmortal historia ni este fantástico y maravilloso libro que cada vez que lo leo me emociona un poco más (aunque ponga que es la segunda vez que lo leo realmente son un par más...). ¿¿¿Dónde está la opción de poner diez estrellitas a un libro??? ¡Este trilogía necesita esa opción!
Es increíble cómo puedes conectar con un libro de un modo tan profundo, cómo se te puede meter en las venas, en la cabeza y en el corazón, acampar ahí y no moverse nunca más. Eso es lo que me pasa con la historia de Tatiana y Alexander y con este libro, que yo adoro a más no poder, tan duro y tan precioso a la vez... Mi sufrimiento es directamente proporcional a mi disfrute lector.
No creo que haya mejor final para esta pareja y su amor, una pareja inmortal, un amor inmortal y mi llanto sin fin cada vez que lo leo.
Absolutamente maravilloso.

//1ª LECTURA//
A pesar de los sufrimientos, de las decepciones, de las hostias y de la sobredosis de realidad que encierra este libro, es un perfecto final para esta maravillosa historia de amor. No soy capaz de expresar con palabras lo que he sentido al leerla pero me ha llegado al alma.
Profile Image for Ariannha .
1,048 reviews
February 1, 2020
“Creímos que la parte más dura ya había terminado... pero nos equivocamos. Vivir es la parte más dura. Aprender a vivir tu vida cuando estás roto por dentro... no hay nada más duro que eso…”

Desde el primer libro Tatiana y Alexandr se ven como personajes complejos, que van madurando y evolucionando conforme a la historia y a los hechos que les toca afrontar.
Al terminar el segundo libro, Tatiana y Alexander (el cual me pareció increíble), pensaba que ya no podría haber nada más en esta historia y entre estos personajes, sin embargo me equivoqué. Leí con pocas expectativas esta tercera entrega, y hasta hoy sigo teniendo sentimientos encontrados.

En este libro vemos a los personajes a afrontar nuevos problemas: la convivencia del día a día, el emprender una vida juntos dejando atrás el pasado y las complejas situaciones que les ha tocado, para construir la familia que siempre quisieron tener. Sin embargo el camino es complejo, espinoso y lleno de obstáculos.

Como los libros anteriores, con una narración impecable la autora nos sumerge en la historia, nos hace llorar, reir y sentir a través de estos personajes tan especiales.

100% recomendado
Profile Image for S.S.G..
Author 3 books110 followers
October 11, 2016
8:30 de la mañana, toda la noche leyendo, HE TERMINADO!!
Necesito digerir este cúmulo de emociones que tengo. Me va a costar mucho desprenderme del recuerdo de Tania y Shura. No creo que lo consiga nunca.
Haré la reseña cuando esté más preparada... pero decir que esta saga es la mejor que he leído en toda mi vida es quedarse corta ToT
Profile Image for Vilma.
610 reviews2,875 followers
September 11, 2016
The spectacular, emotional conclusion to my all-time favorite love story! Exhaustingly intense. Piercingly agonizing. Achingly beautiful. Enduringly romantic. I FELT EVERY MOMENT. INFINITY STARS!!!!!

“To cross the street. To follow her. And she will give your life meaning, she will save you. Yes, yes-to cross.”

How does one get past this series? How can you even begin to compare other love stories to the one of Tatiana and Alexander? You just cannot, I think. The three books will forever sit on a shelf all their own, for what they imparted is an unforgettable story of love and survival… come what may.

Book 3, The Summer Garden, is quite different from book 2, which is different from book 1. Each book tells a unique part of their story, of their struggles, of their love. The Bronze Horseman is about Tatiana and Alexander coming together, believing their love is real, unstoppable, forever… alive and burning despite war and starvation. Book 2, Tatiana and Alexander, is about fiercely fighting fate and finding each other in a sea of impossible circumstances… it’s about being relentless and unforgiving in your pursuit of happiness. The Summer Garden is a tough read. It’s about survival, but this time it’s not only about surviving war, it’s about surviving time, change, insecurities, pride, betrayal… and all without giving up when it all just seems like too much to bear. Sometimes, I think it’s almost easier to survive something tangible like war or hunger, than something as deeply cutting and intangible as a broken heart. A disappointed heart. An angry heart. Matters of the heart consume voraciously, tilting the world on its axis until you don’t know what’s wrong and what’s right… where the blurry line solidifies to become one moment too many to keep enduring before calling it quits. Or is there really an uncrossable line when it comes to your soul mate?

“Where was he, her Alexander, of once? Was he truly gone? The Alexander of the Summer Garden, of their first Lazarevo days, of the hat in his hands, white toothed, peaceful, laughing, languid, stunning Alexander, had he been left far behind?
Well, Tatiana supposed that was only right.

For Alexander believed his Tatiana of once was gone, too. The swimming child Tatiana of the Luga, of the Neva, of the River Kama.
Perhaps on the surface they were still in their twenties, but their hearts were old.”

Coming back from the pulse-pumping experience of Alexander’s almost life-claiming liberation, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. But that feel-good feeling quickly vanishes as we realize that Alexander struggles to adjust to civilian life, retreating into himself and becoming a hard, cold, callous person.

“His eyes, once like caramel, were now hard copper, nothing liquid or flowing in them. He turned his polite face to hear, and she turned her polite face back. He wanted quiet, she gave him plenty. He wanted to go for a walk, she was ready. He wanted newspapers, magazines, cigarettes, she brought them all. He wanted to sit mutely in his chair; she sat mutely on the ground by his side. Anything he wanted, she was ready at any moment to give him.”

For me, being so invested in their relationship, this part of the book was really painful and heartbreaking to read and it felt very REAL. Their closeness and intensity became a frigid façade… a widening chasm that continued to expand. This was a chasm widened by pride, insecurities, fear and even love, because if they didn’t love each other so ardently, they wouldn’t have shattered hearts. Their relationship thrived in the violent throes of war and the pressing intensity of their struggles, so suddenly, when they begin a new life in the quiet of everyday trifles, everything comes apart.

“That’s the chasm. You go through something that changes you. You see things you can’t unsee. Then you are sleepwalking through your actual life, shell-shocked.”

Then, on top of that, their safety comes into question again, and the stress I thought I left behind in book 2 emerged again, and I was fearful that they were never going to have peace.

“What if this little life, us, is all just an illusion and will soon be gone.”

And then LIFE… FATE… continue to push and push and it all begins to unravel even after some possibly unforgivable choices. I felt so betrayed, crushed and saddened. I just FELT and FELT and FELT EVERYTHING. I found it quite interesting that at this point, I am SO deeply connected with these characters, so understanding of what they’ve been through, that I no longer saw their faults… I saw their humanity. I love Tatiana and Alexander… for every flaw, for their fighting spirit, for their fiercely stubborn love and even for their unwavering pride.

“Alexander, you broke my heart. But for carrying me on your back, for pulling my dying sled, for giving me your last bread, for the body you destroyed for me, for the son you have given me, for the twenty-nine days we lived like Red Birds of Paradise, for all our Naples sands and Napa wines, for all the days you have been my first and last breath, for Orbeli- I will forgive you.”

The Summer Garden spans years, and you really see their life unfold moment by moment, year by year. Their memories were my memories… I LIVED IT. I FELT IT. I was so emotional during this book, so vulnerable, so impacted by everything that happened. I was a big, fat, ugly mess of tears the last 30% or so of the book and by the end I was sobbing. It’s incredibly difficult to summarize my thoughts on this book and the series, but there’s a few important things I want to impart. First off, the writing is stellar. Stunning. Amazing. Perfection. Poetic. Throw every praising adjective you can at it… it’s brilliant. Secondly, because of the writing, because of the story, I just FELT the entire series. I was deeply, emotionally moved… so much so, that I know for a fact that I will never forget this story. It’s an instant classic, belonging in the ranks of all the greats. Thirdly, Tatiana has become my favorite female character… her strength and selflessness is inspiring. I was in awe at her uncrushable spirit and her limitless capacity for love. Lastly, this is the most amazing love story ever told. What else can I say? I’m so sad to have come to the end of this experience… exhaustingly intense, piercingly agonizing, achingly beautiful and enduringly romantic. My all-time favorite series. Numero 1. A million bright, shining stars!

“I don’t want this life to end,” said Alexander. “The good, the bad, the everything, the very old, to ever end.”

For more reviews, connect with me:
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Profile Image for Donna.
572 reviews12 followers
January 29, 2013
There were things I loved about this book and there were things I hated about this book, but in can all be wrapped up in one word that never fails to describe Tatiana & Alexander - Orbeli. They are each others most loved and treasured possession. Each other's purpose for living.

I loved seeing them trying to figure out the relationship & marriage they thought they would never have. I hated seeing them trying to figure it out as well. I hated that they were so insecure in each other yet so incredibly secure at the same time. They needed to talk to each and, more importantly, listen to each other. It took a pretty serious event to finally get them to pay attention to each other ....

In a perfect world that is all puppies & rainbows & unicorns, life for Tatiana & Alexander would always be happy. However, we know that can't happen, but, what turns their life together takes are very real. Paullina Simons has written this story in a way that you cannot help but see everything so vividly. You are right there with them experiencing and feeling everything they are .. the good, the bad and the painful.

This book had me holding my breath, laughing, sighing, panicking, gripping my Nook with fear, crying and loving every minute of it.

I think all the books in this trilogy are exquisitely written. I treasure books that are written by someone whose words can pull me into the story and take me on a roller coaster of emotion that I don't ever want to end. I can 'like' a book, but to actually 'live' a book is what reading is all about for me.

Profile Image for Me.
97 reviews35 followers
March 12, 2018
Qué bonitos estos tres libros, desde el primero hasta el último... qué bien estructurados están absolutamente todos los personajes, son tan sólidos que se pueden permitir perfectamente los saltos en el tiempo y otras licencias.... esta historia es la típica a la que no le sobra ni le falta nada, ni una escena, ni un hecho, una situación, ni un personaje... es todo tan intenso y está todo tan bien descrito, que lo estás viviendo prácticamente en primera persona desde el principio y hasta el final. Puede que le falle un poco la edición, pero son muchos datos, muchos tiempos verbales que revisar, minucias en comparación con la calidad general de la trilogía completa en sí. Desde luego, altamente recomendable.... y me parece que inolvidable.... Tatiana y Alexander te calan hondo de verdad....
Profile Image for Dish Wanderer .
68 reviews57 followers
July 1, 2014
It gives me great pain to write the review for this book. I absolutely loved “The Bronze Horseman", for me it ranks as the best love story ever written along with "Wuthering Heights" and a few others. I loved “Tatiana and Alexander “as well. But this... has broken my heart. I wish Paullina Simons had not written this book. There was absolutely no need for it. The love story could have ended easily with “Tatiana and Alexander".
To be fair, the book is interesting as it follows the married life of Tatiana and Alexander over fifty- sixty years and some episodes in the book stood out out to me which I shall illustrate now before explaining why I have given it two stars.


The part where Alexander and Tatiana settle in Arizona and have to build a life together was interesting. Especially the part where Alexander works for the Balkmans and the episode where Tatiana is almost killed.

Simons writes war brilliantly. The Vietnam War has been captured well by her and Anthony's rescue is also one of the most interesting parts in the novel.

Delving into Tatiana's young adolescent life in Russia and all her days besides Lake Luga with Saika as a foil provides us a deeper understanding of Tatiana's life; as we did with Alexander's in “Tatiana and Alexander".

Sorry, but that's about it.

My fundamental problem in the book has to do with patriarchy. It runs deep and it runs hard and that is where the feminist in me at first growls and then alternatively weeps and feels like tossing the book away. I read fiction primarily from a feminist perspective and that colours a lot of my liking/ disliking a book. Sometimes, I place patriarchy in context and try to understand how sometimes indirectly we can also challenge patriarchy. However, in this novel, patriarchy is so in my face and so sexist that I could not have ignored it at all.
Why does Tatiana have to sacrifice her job to please Alexander? Given, that she was busy with the hospital for a few nights a week. Even after all that, there was food on the table, clothes were washed, sex was happening etc. STILL Alexander went ahead and cheated on Tatiana. Fidelity has been one of the hallmarks of this relationship. What was the point of being faithful to each till the second novel, when Alexander had to go ahead and cheat on her?
This was completely unacceptable to me. Also, if this were Tatiana cheating on Alexander, I wonder how much he would have found in his heart to forgive her.
I want to go back on the previous point about her washing clothes etc. I am not saying that because she was the “ideal" wife, cheating on her was unfair. What I am saying cheating is not OK in any circumstance. Also, the message that this novel gives out to women is dangerous, insidious and of course patriarchal.
The message seems to be this -
Be a housewife. Working is not OK. Having a career is not OK. All you have to do is have sex with our husband, cook food, keep the house and make babies. That is your duty and job. Anatomy is destiny. Period. Life is good and the marriage is happy for both when Tatiana quits her job, is there for him managing his house and gives him three more children. Wow.
It makes me sad to see that women readers here on Goodreads have given this novel five stars. And I applaud the women readers who have given it less. And of course, that number is few and far between which goes on to again point out how insidious patriarchy is and complete the indoctrination.
I am not saying that women should not have the choice to be a housewife. If they want that option, good. However, Tatiana clearly wanted to work and only stopped because her husband cheated on her and of course slapped her. What is also interesting to note here is that it just took ONE night for Tatiana to forgive Alexander after she learns the truth about his infidelity from him. One night and some oral sex. Wow again.
Also, I have mentioned this in my previous review; this male worship of Simons frankly disgusts me. Alexander is always glorified. He is allowed to flirt with women, make out with him, have women falling over him but Tatiana cannot have even one laugh with Dr. Bradley. Double standards much?
Anthony, Harry and Pasha – THE sons are given a lot of space in the novel, while the daughter Janie/ Jane is just a wallflower paling into the background getting married early and of course just making babies. Sigh. Really Simons?
The male worship also extends to worshipping America and bashing of the former Soviet Union. I had mentioned this as well in my previous review of “Tatiana and Alexander”. Why doesn’t Simons understand that each nation has its positives and weaknesses? She somehow forgets the weaknesses of the U.S and the positives of the former Soviet Union. Again double standards.
I would have liked to see the book end with Alexander and Tatiana taking a walk in Russia. But no Simons ends the book in the U.S. Sigh again.
One curious thing that I noticed in the novel – Asian women are sexualized and consequently demonized. Anthony’s war bride is a “Medusa” and so is Anthony’s second wife. It is important to note here that one was Vietnamese and one – Indonesian? Not sure, but she was Asian. What’s with this obsession of white women make perfect wives?
Thanks for completely destroying Alexander or rather my beloved Shura’s character in this last novel. He does exactly the things I did not think he would ever be capable of doing – cheat on Tatiana, slap her and be a bad partner. Thanks, Simons for destroying the most perfect l male fictional character.
I am sorry to have written such a haphazard review, but these two characters and their love stories were close to my heart and to see them destroyed like this has created utter despair and chaos in my mind. I read the third book as I always want to complete series, (being the bibliophile that I am) and also because this was a much loved love story.
I wish to also say sorry to my friend Paulina as she might feel sad after reading this review. She was the one who introduced me to Tania and her Shura and I will forever be grateful to her for that. I apologise Paulina but I cannot like this book. I cannot ignore the blatant patriarchy and sexism however much I love Tatiana and Shura.
This book just reminds me that literature has power, it is powerful. It can be used to imprison or to set free. “The Summer Garden” is a testament to the power of indoctrination and patriarchy and how we must resist and challenge it.
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