The Summer Garden: Paullina Simons

Book Information (for this edition):

Published: June 2011 by William Morrow

Author: Paullina Simons

Page Count: 742

Amazon: $10.61

Barnes and Noble: $10.61

*Note: I have reviewed the previous novels, The Bronze Horseman & Tatiana and Alexander on my blog. Please beware of spoilers since this is the last book and this review will give away plot ideas that have come from the first two novels!

*Spoiler Free Section*

The end has come! In this thrilling and heartbreaking conclusion to The Bronze Horseman trilogy, Paullina Simons takes readers for the ride of their life.

The Summer Garden continues Tatiana and Alexander’s tale and journey to live after the war is over and they are in America. While the war might be over for the soldiers the war within Tatiana and Alexander’s hearts are not. They are tested over and over as they try to find common ground and fix the disconnect that has come between them after years apart. With all these tests they must fight harder to stay above water and protect their son from the horrors that hide behind their closed eyes.

This book was a roller coaster of emotions, both good and bad. The characters have changed so much over the course of the series that when we get to book three they are almost unrecognizable. The war has shaped the people that they once were and now they are hardened shells.

I cried so many times reading this that I kept the box of tissues next to me the entire time! It was gritty, real, and it showed that love has its ups and downs. There were parts that had my blood boiling and I had to put the book down. These will be discussed more in the spoiler section of my review so please beware!

I believe that this was a strong ending and it concluded the story perfectly. It hurts my heart to part with these characters but I know that Tatia and Shura will forever live inside my heart and soul.

The Summer Garden was such a touching way to end the trilogy and there won’t be a day where these characters aren’t thought about in my mind.

*Spolier Section*

What really had me heated and the reason why I had to put the book down was how unrecognizable Alexander was. Throughout the first 500 or so pages I disliked who he was. This was not the Shura we knew. This man yelled all the time, was cruel to his wife and son, did unspeakable things. I truly disliked this man. The war had changed him and he believed that his wife was the enemy.

What really solidified that thought was when Alexander cheats with Carmen! I CRIED ANGRY TEARS AND YELLED AT THE BOOK!!! I honestly was in the moment because I actually yelled “how could you do this to her???” at the book… an inanimate object. What can I say? This book had me going and I was heartbroken.

And when Tatiana finds out about the cheating and they have their argument what does Alexander do? He hits her! I had to set the book aside and take some deep breaths because this man was not our Alexander.

Tatia forgives Alexander and they finally are able to have another child. It was from here on out that the novel became better. I still didn’t prefer Alexander after everything that happened but he redeemed himself in the end.

Their son Anthony, bless his soul, truly takes on life. He doesn’t want to disappoint his family and he would do anything to live up to his father. I enjoyed how Simons made his life just as important as his parents.

At the end of the novel all their children come around as well as their grandchilden and it is the most touching epilogue I have ever read. That is where the story came full circle for me. It was touching and had elements of The Bronze Horseman woven within.

Favorite Quote:

“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.”

This book was given a 4.5/5 star rating on Goodreads. 


Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Mothers/Maternal Figures

Hello readers! It is the last Wednesday of April! I can’t believe how fast the year is flying by. For today’s #T5W we will be discussing books with favorite mothers/maternal figures in them. If you would like to join in on T5W please feel free to check out or Goodreads group. Without further ado let’s talk all things mom-like!

1. Slammed by Collen Hoover

Layken was such a fantastic mother figure to her little brother. After both of her parents pass away she is entrusted with raising her young brother, and stepping up from the sister role to the mother role. It was so interesting seeing her step up and take that kind of responsibly!

2. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Sally Jackson is one of my all time favorite book mothers. She is strong and loves her son so much. She puts up with a lot of stuff to! It’s not everyday you fall in love with a god and have a demigod son. She is truly an all-star and understanding mom.

3. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

I am including this book because Tatiana truly takes on a mothering persona as the novel goes on. Most of the responsibility falls on her shoulders and the decisions she must make are usually what the matriarch of the family must handle. She might not be a mother herself but she definitely embodies some characteristics of one.

4. The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

Jocelyn Fray is a badass mom! And a loving one at that. I included the entire series since she comes in and out of the books (she’s more in books 3-6) and from what is written about her she is one tough lady. She loves her daughter fiercely and will fight to protect those she loves. Her daughter is the light of her life and she loves just as fiercely as she fights!

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Mama Molly Wesley is my all time favorite book mother! Fierce, strong, and loving are three words to describe this important character. She has the biggest heart and you just fall in love with her mothering! She will do ANYTHING to protect her kids.

Sunday Post: 4/24/16

Hello fellow readers and happy Sunday! I hope that everyone’s weeks were kind to them. 🙂  The Sunday Post Meme was created by Kimberly over at  Caffeinated Book Reviewer. Please go check out her blog and share some book love! Without further ado (I say this so often I swear) let’s get started!

Personal Update:

I have come to the point where I no longer have school work for the rest of the year!!! I can’t begin to describe the amazing feeling. I completed the AP pre-test week is over and Wednesday is the beloved pizza party (the last one I will ever have in my high school career). It is flying by! My book depository order has arrived as well this past Thursday which had me all heart eyes.

This Past Weeks Posts:

Top 5 Wednesday: April 20, 2016

Tatiana and Alexander: Paullina Simons  (Book Review)

Current Read: 


When this post is going up I am currently 68 pages into the last novel of The Bronze Horseman trilogy, The Summer Garden! Already my heart is broken and I’m not prepared for everything that is in store! I plan on reading lots more today and this week. I’m so in love with these books and I highly recommend them!



*One with You by Sylvia Day is still on my currently reading shelf but I haven’t picked it up since the last Sunday Post. I’m on the fence still with that book so I do not know when it will be completed!

Book Haul:

My books from Book Depository finally came this past Thursday!! Eep I was so excited to receive my package! Inside consisted the acclaimed Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.  I ordered them in the stunning U.K. cover editions and I’m truly in love. This was my first time ordering off the site and my books took a little while to get to me but nothing too bad. I will definitely be ordering from them again!



Is anyone watching Fear the Walking Dead?! Last Sunday’s episode was crazy and I can only think of what is going to happen tonight! I was iffy on this spinoff with season one but they are killing season two, I like the characters much more now.

I hope that this coming week is very kind to everyone and that you find some amazing reads! This weeks #T5W topic is “Favorite Mothers/Maternal Figures” and I’m super excited. Stay safe and look out for coming posts! Please feel free to comment how your week went, how you’re doing, or what your favorite current read is!

-Samantha 🙂


Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons

Book Information (for this edition):

Also known as The Bridge to Holy Cross!

Published: July 29, 2010 by William Morrow

Author: Paullina Simons

Page Count: 559

Amazon: $10.47

Barnes and Noble: $10.26

Note: I’ve reviewed the first book in this trilogy The Bronze Horseman. Please if you haven’t read that first book yet be careful for spoilers! The description of this novel gives away what has happened in TBH. 

I CAN’T EVEN WITH THIS BOOK!!! My heart is on the floor and I’m in tears as I type. I’ve just finished Tatiana and Alexander by the lovely and amazing Paullina Simons and it ripped me in two. There were so many times where I had to toss the book on the chair and run to get some Kleenex. (I’m not even kidding!!!)

So we pick up right where TBH has ended, Alexander getting ready to be interrogated and Tatiana holding her newborn baby boy at Ellis Island, thinking that her beloved Shura is dead. Throughout the book we see the struggles of the war on both characters. They are so much different then the people they once were. I believe that they have both hardened over the course of the years.

It broke my heart to see the struggle that Alexander was going through. He didn’t know whether or not Tatiana had escaped and after picking up bits and pieces of information didn’t know if she was being held captive. Tatiana who has made it to America now must take care of their son thinking that Alexander is dead! I cannot even begin to imagine that thought process.

We learn a lot about Alexander in this book. We are transported back into his memories of leaving America to go to Russia with his parents. We see the struggles he went through and feel exactly as he did in those moments of his life. We also get to read more about the lovely Lazarevo is revisited in those memories AND OH GOD IT KILLED ME IT REALLY DID!

There is so much angst and heartbreak in this book that I was opening sobbing in a classroom full of my peers, that’s how truly moving this book is. It sucks you right in and you feel as though you are standing right along side Tatiana and Alexander.

As I said earlier I do believe that the characters have become harder, especially Alexander. Tatiana has a stronger backbone in this novel, especially with the belief that Alexander truly might still be alive. The Alexander that was present is TBH is now hidden away in a colder and harder man. The effects of war and being interrogated have gotten to him.

Speaking of interrogation… WHY DO THIS TO POOR ALEXANDER?!? The things that were said had me both angry and in tears.

I waited for so long for both of the lovers to be reunited and the way the reunion was executed brought me to my knees (figuratively that is!) It couldn’t have been done better. Here you are reading this book, rooting for Tania and Shura to be reunited and BAM it happens the way it does and your heart aches, it really truly does.

I loved seeing Tania taking care of baby Anthony in her chapters and sections. Her son was her one connection to Alexander that she had left. He couldn’t have given her a better gift. Tania had such a big heart and seeing her with her son, taking care of him, and being a mother was so beautiful to read about. Alexander, though, would always be her number 1 and she wasn’t going to stop until she had the truth in her hands.

Tatiana and Alexander truly was the second half to The Bronze Horseman. It was utterly perfect and heartbreaking. The ending is open enough for book 3, The Summer Garden and my greedy reader’s mind is already devouring it. I cannot rave about this book enough. I highly recommend this series! It is a new favorite.

Favorite Quote: 

“There was once a time,” she said, “when you placed your hand on my chest and I thought my whole life was in front of me.”

This book was given a 5/5 star rating on Goodreads. 

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You’re Intimidated By

Hello fellow readers! I hope that everyone’s week is treating them well so far. This week’s #T5W topic is “Books You’re Intimidated By” and I’m very pumped for this topic! If you would like to join in on T5W please feel free to check out or Goodreads group. Without further ado let us carry on with the intimidating reads!


1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This book truly scares me. I’ve heard the most amazing things about the series and the TV show (not to mention I own books 1-3) but I have yet to pick it up! The story follows a young nurse named Claire as she is transported from 1945 all the way back to 1743 Scotland. Sasha over on YouTube (abookutopia) always rave about this book series so I think it is time for me to jump on board.


2. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I’ve got mixed feelings about this one. Part of me really wants to dive head first into the world that George R.R. Martin has created but a larger part of me is afraid to devote all the hours it would take to read this. This book is classified as epic fantasy with some amazing scenes and fantastic writing. It follows the Stark family as they go through all the troubles of having a Court. We shall see if I pick this one up in the future!


3. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I believe what intimidates me most about this novel is the format of it. It looks really intriguing (and also stunning on my shelves) and is unique in the sense of it formatting. The story is all about the year 2575 being invaded. Two large corporations are going to war over the planet and two teenagers are forced to go into space to survive. Throw in a plague that has broken out and the survivors will truly be tested. This book looks so fun and I really hope to start it soon.


4. Vicious by V.E. Schwab

So many people love this book! I purchased my copy a while back and so far it has just been collecting dust on my book shelf. This book has everything I love: supernatural element, two archnemeses, and the desire to get revenge. Even as I type I ask myself “why haven’t you picked this up yet Sam?” Reading this would be my first V.E. Schwab and I heard she’s amazing so I just need to put the fear aside and pick it up.


5. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

I have never read a Brandon Sanderson book and I hope that this will be my first read!! The sheer size of this book is enough the put the claws of fear on my back but I’ve heard SOOOOO many amazing things that I just might shake that fear pest off my back. Time is also an intimidating factor since this book is so large. But again this novel has everything that calls to me!

As scary as all of these books are I hope to read them as soon as I can! They all seem so amazing despite everything and the excitement is there! I hope that you all have an amazing rest of the week and read some great things! -Samantha 🙂

Sunday Post: 4/17/2016

Hello readers! I hope that everyone is doing well and that the weekend is being kind to you.  The Sunday Post Meme was created by Kimberly over at  Caffeinated Book Reviewer. Please go check out her blog and share some book love! I’m super excited to partake in this and share some awesome things! Without further ado let’s get started! 🙂

Personal Update: 

I believe that good things will be coming along for my job search! My local bookstore is hiring and I submitted an application (fingers crossed!) The wait for my Book Depository order continues on as my excitement grows. This week school wise will consist of essays, more essays, and a pizza party due to all of the essays for my English course’s AP test prep week. Who turns down free pizza? Not me!

This Past Weeks Posts:

Top 5 Wednesday: April 13, 2016

Totally Should’ve Book Tag

The Bronze Horseman: Paullina Simons (Book Review)

Current reads:



When this post is going up I’m about 70 pages into The Bronze Horseman‘s sequel, Tatiana and Alexander. I’ve taken a short break from reading this weekend since I was emotionally drained after finishing TBH. I’m hoping to read bunches this week and get the review posted soon! This book follows the love story between Tatiana and Alexander after the emotional ending of book one.






I’ve got mixed feelings about this book so far! I set it down to read TBH earlier this week and I find myself hesitant to pick it back up. One with You is the concluding novel in Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series. I’m about halfway and I just find myself not enjoying this book as much as I have the prior novels. We shall see!




Book Haul: 

This week was an amazing book haul week! I got a grand total of 6 books all from Amazon. I’m super excited about all of them! One has already been devoured (The Bronze Horseman) and one that I’m not too thrilled about… If you would like me to go in to depth about each book please let me know!

I hope that everyone has an amazing week! Keep your eyes open for this weeks upcoming Top 5 Wednesday on “Books You’re Intimidated By” ! I hope to have a review up for Tatiana and Alexander as well as another tag post so stay tuned!

-Samantha 🙂

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons


Book Information (for this edition):

Published: September 8,2012 by William Morrow

Author: Paullina Simons

Page Count: 810

Amazon: $10.11

Barnes and Noble: $10.61

Before I begin gushing about this novel here are some of my thoughts while reading thanks to Goodreads Update Status… p.84 – “I am so head over heels in love with this book!!” …. p. 203 – “cry count: 4” …. p.546 – “I’M SO IN LOVE!” All of these status updates sum up my thoughts perfectly. Also, this review will be broken up into a spoiler free section and a spoiler section so beware!

**Spoiler Free Section**

WHERE DO I BEGIN?! I honestly just need a good cry. So much happened in the book that made my jaw drop and my heart ache. I was so in love with the book from the beginning. I once said that I didn’t read too much historical fiction since I found it boring but this completely changed me. Going into The Bronze Horseman I was quite intimidated by its size but after hearing so much about it I had to check it out. Paullina Simons brings to the table a book so heartbreaking, so moving, so touching that you won’t be able to put it down.

The story kicks off by our sweet and innocent main character Tatiana Metanove being woken up by her family as they soon discover that Germany is going to war with Russia. Tatiana happens to be living in Leningrad when this happens. In a matter of minutes her whole life is about to change, no longer is life going to go on as it once has. Tatiana must now think of her family more than she already does which leads her to meet Alexander Belov, a young solider who harbors multiple secrets. Together they embark on a tragic love story that rips apart people left and right in one of the saddest and harshest periods of history.

This story truly took my breath away. I found it be fast paced and it kept my attention at every turn. The heartbreak was written beautifully and it felt like the characters were in the room while I was reading. I’ve never really delved my hands into a romance story (this was my first) and I can honestly say that I will be reading more. Simons crafted such gripping characters and the storyline added to the heartbreak.

There were a few minor things that didn’t agree with but I’m hoping that those will be solved in the next two books. Mainly it was character actions and decisions that didn’t settle well.

I’ve ordered Tatiana and Alexander as well as The Summer Garden to continue reading right away! My mind is still reeling from the ending!! I highly recommend this book.

This book was given a 5/5 Star rating on Goodreads.

Favorite Quote:

“Love is,” she repeated slowly, looking only at Dasha, “when he is hungry and you feed him. Love is knowing when he is hungry.”

**Spoiler Section**

Ahhh now we get to the good stuff! Just another warning, if you haven’t read The Bronze Horseman major plot points will be talked about down below. The above section is spoiler free! Without further ado let’s start at the beginning.

I guess that this book was love at first sight for me. I personally found how Tania and Alexander met in the beginning. It was fresh and exciting. It isn’t everyday you meet a handsome solider at a bus stop. Alexander was sweet, funny, strong, and helpful all wonderful things!

What crushed me and caused me to cry the first time (I’m telling you I cried so much I swear all the water I had in me left) was her sister Dasha and Alexanders “connection”! I truly couldn’t believe it, it was like some big joke was being played on Tania. The first boy she likes is her sisters love.

Speaking of her sister… I really didn’t care for Tatia’s family. That was one of my biggest issues in the beginning. My favorite character of the family was the grandfather Deda who wasn’t present often. They were mean and pushed her aside as if she was nothing. Dasha and her parents were self centered and Tatiana, being the loving and dotting sister and daughter, did everything they asked for and more. Several times they belittled Tatiana and hurt her but she allowed that to happen.

The love that Tatiana and Alexander have is what threatens to tear the Metanova family apart. All the sneaking around and private moments alone shared so many of the characters thoughts.

Secret keeping isn’t something Tania has ever had to do and suddenly she must at every turn to protect her sisters feelings. Through in the relentless best friend of Alexander’s Dimitri and it all suddenly becomes harder.

But then Alexander has to go and offer Dasha marriage to protect Tatiana from Dimitri… I actually shed more tears. This was like the punch in the gut of the story.

What broke my heart was all the death surrounding Tatiana as the winter months came. It all happened so quickly that she had little time to process this. I do believe that when Alexander was able to get her and Dasha to Lazarevo that it was the best thing he could ever do for her.

But it isn’t until her sister passes away that we see another side of Tatiana. We see her grow colder and it was than that I realized she would do anything for her sister. She pushed Alexander away all those months prior because she knew that she would only get one sister in her lifetime.

It is in Lazarevo that the story really took my breath away. So much love flowed in this village and from here the story became stronger. With no one stopping the two lovers from being together they embark on a new type of life, filled with love, loss, and of course heartbreak.

Favorite Quote:

“Love is,” she repeated slowly, looking only at Dasha, “when he is hungry and you feed him. Love is knowing when he is hungry.”

This book was given a 5/5 star rating on Goodreads.