Friday, November 13, 2009

Tatiana & Alexander by Paullina Simons

The world at war … two people in love. Tatiana is eighteen years old and pregnant when she miraculously escapes war-torn Leningrad to the West, believing herself to be a widow. Her husband, Major Alexander Belov, a decorated hero of the Soviet Union, has been arrested by Stalin's infamous secret police and is awaiting imminent death as a traitor and a spy. Tatiana begins her new life in America. In wartime New York City she finds work, friends and a life beyond her dreams. However, her grief is inescapable and she keeps hearing Alexander calling out to her. Meanwhile, Alexander faces the greatest danger he's ever known. An American trapped in Russia since adolescence, he has been serving in the Red Army and posing as a Soviet citizen to protect himself. For him, Russia's war is not over, and both victory and defeat will mean certain death. As the Second World War moves into its spectacular close, Tatiana and Alexander are surrounded by the ghosts of their past and each other. They must struggle against destiny and despair as they find themselves in the fight of their lives. A master of the historical epic, Paullina Simons takes us on a journey across continents, time, and the entire breadth of human emotion, to create a heartrendingly beautiful love story that will live on long after the final page is turned.

It is always good when you host an unofficial reading challenge and actually manage to finish a book yourself! I have challenged myself to read a couple World War I, World War II, etc books this November. This book takes place during the Second World War and just after it, so I think it was a perfect choice.

I have read a lot of books this year, but you know, I haven't been blown away with as many as you would expect. I have only strongly disliked a few books I have read, but I just haven't 'loved to death and want everyone to read NOW' as many books this year as I was expecting. So, when I get really excited about a book, you must understand it is because I am still on the high from a great book AND because I have one more book to add to that very elite list of books you have to read NOW! Namely, this book. I read The Bronze Horseman back in 2007 and started this book right afterwards, but as seems to happen with similar authors (although, not so much this year) I didn't wind up finishing the book at the time. I am determined to decrease the amount of series and trilogies I have on the go, though, so I decided to make this trilogy one of my goals. I AM SO HAPPY THAT I DID!

I have to be frank. I don't like romance novels. I don't like books that are marketed as something else and have extreme levels of romance in them. This is not to say that there are not exceptions to this. This was an exception. In The Bronze Horseman Tatiana and Alexander met, fell in love, and all that came with that during the Second World War in a war-torn Soviet Union. This presented LOTS of obstacles that the couple had to face. Now, some time has gone by and the couple has been married and is expecting their first child. The only problem is (and it is a big problem) Alexander is an American living in Soviet Russia. The Russians think they know this and arrest him, which separates the two lovers. Tatiana is lead to think that Alexander is dead, but since the novel is told from her viewpoint and his, we know he is alive.

I tried to read this slowly. I thought about Marg, who recommended these books to me, and how she read The Bronze Horseman in one night, called in sick for work, bought this book, and then read it in a night. As much as I knew there was a strong possibility I would want to do this, too, I made myself read this book slowly. I limited myself to 50 pages a night. By the end, though, I HAD to know what was going to happen and I ended up reading 200 pages one night to finish it up. I did, when you think about it, limit myself because I started this book two years ago, but that is just so typical me we should ignore that factor! All I will say is that I loved this book! I think everyone who is looking for a good historical fiction novel, a good book set during the Second World War, or even a good romance novel has to read this trilogy!

I still regret that I never reviewed The Bronze Horseman. I loved it, too, though! Tatiana is a great, strong female character who is going through a lot during the war. She is living in New York with her newborn child. She thinks she is a widow, but she is not ready to move on in love. Then, there is Alexander who is still in Soviet Russia. The things that he goes through blow the mind. I loved both characters and thought that Simons wrote them really well! My issue at the moment is book three. I found that this book cleared everything up really well at the end, so I am baffled what there is to talk about in book three. I hope it doesn't take me two more years to find out!

Bottom line: READ THIS BOOK! It will make my best of list for the year. That is a guarantee!


  1. You know that I can only echo your Read this book! I am so glad you loved it!

  2. Man. Didn't we read The Bronze Horseman in the Genre Stew group? 'cause I read it too. And while I LIKED it, I really didn't love it. It's been awhile, so bear with me. I remember it really dragged on. I normally hate romance books. So I might have gone in with a bad attitude. The people annoyed me after awhile.

    But I still wanted to finish the series, only I couldn't find the book in the US.

    Did you like this one better than the first?

  3. Now you've made me want to get my hands on these books! I hope it's okay that I linked to your review here.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  4. I'm on it!! Must go to library site to see if they have both of them!! Thanks for making me feel that my life wouldn't be complete until I read these!!! :)

  5. Oh...this sounds dreamy! I'm a certified Russophile and a love story fan. In fact, one of the stories I'm working on myself has a couple split up for a third of the story, so I'd love this one. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Can't wait for the Advent Blog Tour, by the way. The graphic for it is really lovely.

  6. Okay, okay, if you insist...I'll add this and The Bronze Horseman to my list :P

  7. Sounds good, this one!

  8. That's a pretty definate guarentee and it sounds fab, do you need to read The Bronze Horseman first?

  9. Anonymous10:10 PM

    I love, love, love Russian novels (or those about Russians). Your praise is so glowing I can't wait to get my hands on it. Time to make a wish list!!

  10. Anonymous1:24 PM

    When I arrived home yesterday, the copy I ordered of this book was in the mail. I'm so excited to read it! Thanks for the great recommendation, otherwise I'd not have found it.


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