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.
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.
★ SPOILER ALERT ★
I found it hard enough to forgive Alexander for cheating on Tatiana. However, I was prepared to move on from that. Afterall, his mental state is questionable, real life is tough and I was willing to forgive, despite being intensely disappointed in him. However, hitting her, in the midst of their argument, hard enough to make her face ‘black and blue’ and draw blood is not acceptable and it absolutely gutted me. It made me see him in a completely different light thereafter. Him, the ultimate, protective, beautifully scared, but ever adoring alpha male. The honourable, lover, husband, soldier, savior, sweetheart… He hit her. After protecting her from everybody else, after never letting anybody lay a hand on her, defending her, keeping her safe from everything in his power… he hit her. And I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t get over it and I was so angry. So, that, really ruined a bit part of this whole series for me.
★ SPOILER END ★
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 kilometres 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.
“The power you have over someone who loves you is greater than any other power you’ll ever have .”
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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