Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons
Book 2 in The Bronze Horseman series
Paperback, 559 pages
June 29, 2010
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Source: My personal collection
Tatiana is eighteen years old, pregnant, and widowed when she escapes war-torn Leningrad to find a new life in America. But the ghosts of her past do not rest easily. She becomes consumed by the belief that her husband, Red Army officer Alexander Belov, is still alive and needs her desperately.
Meanwhile, oceans and continents away in the Soviet Union, Alexander barely escapes execution, and is forced to lead a battalion of soldiers considered expendable by the Soviet high command. Yet Alexander is determined to take his men through the ruins of Europe in one last desperate bid to escape Stalin's death machine and somehow find his way to Tatiana once again.
Like many readers, I LOVED The Bronze Horseman and I was excited to jump into Tatiana and Alexander to see how their story continued – however, I didn’t quite get what I was looking for. I have come to the conclusion, after reading this and part of the third book, that I enjoy the story more when our two protagonists are separated. Even in the prior book, the story would drag for me when we would get caught up in extended love scenes or when they are just arguing about what to do.
Fortunately for me, throughout most of this novel, they are separated by the Atlantic Ocean, with Tatiana in New York and Alexander in Russia. Individually, I did enjoy both of their stories. Tatiana’s is a story of immigration into the United States and how many worked to build new lives for themselves, even when not losing hope or the connection to the old home country. She is also dealing with the belief that her husband is dead and how does she deal with that. Some may find this a little boring, but I enjoyed this attempt at some normalcy after finally escaping war torn Russia. Now Alexander’s story on the other hand is one full of action and escape attempts. He is stuck in the Soviet machine and things could not be more life or death for him. These two different lives juxtapose well against each other.
I won’t lie, there is a lengthy, somewhat boring section toward the middle of the book. Here, the author essentially retells a significant portion of The Bronze Horseman from the perspective of Alexander (while in the first book it came from the perspective of Tatiana). While I understand that the author wanted to establish the story for Alexander and how that relationship affects the circumstances he is currently facing, for me it felt just like a rehash. I don’t think that it was necessarily needed to add to the trauma Alexander was facing. It could have been a much shorter flashback to achieve the same results.
I love the beautiful characters that Simons creates, and I enjoyed this book overall because of that. Tatiana and Alexander are a historical fiction love story that is among my favorites. Book 3, The Summer Garden, which I have started at the time of writing this review, is proving to be a little more of a struggle than this one to get through.
If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book [http://paullinasimons.com/books/tatiana-and-alexander/excerpt/]?
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
Also by Paullina Simons in The Bronze Horseman Series:
Children of Liberty (Prequel Book 1)
Bellagrand (Prequel Book 2)
The Bronze Horseman (Book 1)
The Summer Garden (Book 3)
Tatiana’s Table (Cookbook)
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