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It only took me 3 months for my life to change forever. This trilogy is now my warm bun. (If you've read it you'll understand). Thank you to the wonderful Paullina for creating such glorious books.
Mind you, this post will be a long one because I am reviewing all three books. I'll start with the first one of course and then so on.
THE BRONZE HORSEMAN
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I started this book when I was up in the air actually, it was a 10 hour flight and I literally had no physical book with me. So, I decided to check out my ibooks and read from there. I've had The Bronze Horseman on my phone for a while now (thanks to my hoochie, viv) and it all started from there. I couldn't put it down and I was hesitant at first to actually finish the rest because again, I really don't like reading from my phone and the fact that it was freaking 1000+ pages on my phone, it was kind of intimidating. But I had no choice because my brain and heart wanted to read it ASAP so I did.
And now, I'm dead. History is something I have always been interested about, particularly the WW2. I find the 1940's the most interesting year for me. And honestly, if I could get another life, I would want to live in the 40's because I just love everything about it. Idk. It's my guilty pleasure. And it has always been my thing. I sometimes wonder if an 80-year-old woman is trapped inside me HAHAHA. I just like the vintage type. I like their music, their fashion, how they had to go through WW2. OH AND THEIR FILMS!! LIKE CASABLANCA. OH MY GOD. It just all fascinates me very much. Military men are also something I have always always been interested about because they're hot. Duh. Those uniforms? oh my god hoochie, don't even. HAVE YA'LL SEEN PEARL HARBOR THE MOVIE? It's my fucking favorite movie of all time. Why you ask? Because if you serve me something that was set in the 40's, that has military men and romance all in one platter. I'm hella sold. And this book just did it for me. It's not easy to love a soldier. I'm not going to explain because anyone would know why it's difficult to find a sense of commitment with someone who's daily job is at a battlefield. But you can't help whom your heart wants to love. In military romance, everything is frustrating. E V E R Y T H I N G. It's all about life. Literally. Anything can happen and anyone can die.
Alexander and Tatiana, in general, was a hard couple to stick with. They actually still are because he lied to her in order for her to be safe but that's a review for another time lol. Anyways, for the majority of book 1, I commend their patience with one another. The whole hiding the relationship sheenanigans with Dasha and Dimitri and the rest of Tatiana's family, it was extremely teasing my patience. I was going okay with it up until the point of Dasha's engagement with Alexander, like it ticked me off so bad. And I felt for Tatiana because what the fuck, I thought we were in this together Alexander. You can't just show up one day and say you're engaged to someone whom you don't like. I MEAN-- YOU CAN'T DO THAT TO US GIRLS.
The family pissed me off naturally.
Tatiana is the most brave person out there. And Alexander knew it. Because the part where Alexander found out about how she saved his life when he was gravely injured, he knew, and oh my god, my tears were just flowing away like the fucking Niagara falls because he said the line that I was expecting to come out from him sooner or later, and that line is...
"I don't deserve you."
THAT. HIT. ME. HARD. IT'S A HOME RUN PEOPLE. I'm not saying Alexander isn't good enough for her but what she's been through for him, at her age, Tatiana deserves a freaking god. Alexander is so freaking lucky to be honest. And in my opinion, Tatiana is too good to be true for him. Tatiana surpassed the definition of loving your partner. Actually, she surpassed the definition of love. And I'm just absolutely amazed by her. What's so funny is that at the back page of the book, it asked the question "Do you think a love like theirs is really possible?" and my answer to that is... I don't know, maybe? But if I were to be 100% honest, the love Tatiana and Alexander had, died in the 40's as well. I really don't see that kind of love now. Maybe there is out there but have I actually seen one in real life? Sadly, no.
The Bronze Horseman is one of my favourites now for sure and I'm actually happy that such a book exists because my generation can pick it up and reflect about life back in the war. How life was a million times more difficult. If you set aside the romance, you can also see the daily struggles of having normal routines, of how hard it was to have a decent meal on your table. To see your family die, one by one, not being able to bury them or properly say goodbye.
TATIANA AND ALEXANDER
Thank you, for keeping yourself alive soldier.
This book tore me apart and fed me to sharks for about 100 times. I mean I knew that I was going to expect a lot of heavy information because of how The Bronze Horseman ended., but god, it was all too much in one page. This is the most beautiful piece of literature that I have read. Hands freaking down! Okay, so it literally picked up from the last page of The Bronze Horseman, we have Alexander sentenced to prison and that is also why he sent Tatiana away with Dr. Seyers to escape to America. But Tatiana obviously did not know that. What got me super interested in this book was the fact that it talked about Alexander's past. I liked how I got to see Alexander pre-soviet union, when he was still in Barrington. I liked how I got to read about his own thoughts moving away from America. His own struggles with his family, how he did not like moving to the Soviet Union at all.
I don't want to forget this boy, he thought, in case I ever need to come back to him.
From that line alone, I knew that there was something deeper to his character, he's not just your tough-military guy, I was going to see the real Alexander Barrington. So the time interval of the book was literally years. And that kind of intimidated me somehow because they weren't together for 3 mother-freaking years. You guys, a lot can happen in a week okay? Let alone 3 damn years. The story took me to Tatiana in America and Alexander's prison-almost execution-military mission-prison again kind of life. If I were to be honest, I got really scared because people in the States were pushing Tatiana to forget about Alexander and a part of me wondered if she ever would. By the way, their son is so freaking cute I'm crying so hard. (MILITARY ROMANCE YOU GUYS) And I really didn't want that to happen cause at the same time, I was reading about how Alexander was trying his best to find his way back to her. /CUE TEARS/ But then it was also hard because Alexander kept wishing Tatiana did forget about him, that she moved on. So I was literally back and forth with these two that I myself just wanted to scream because hope was slowly dying for the both of them. AND ME AS WELL. Thanks, Paullina.
Holy crap when I was at the part Alexander found out that Pasha was freaking alive. I lost it. PLOT FREAKING TWIST. I never expected it because duh, all of Tatiana's family died back in Leningrad. I immediately thought of so many possibilities like a Tatiana and Pasha reunion. Pasha being alive sparked my hope up again because it would meant that this time, Alexander really will find his way back to her and bring her Pasha. But then... he fucking died. Like I was saying, the time interval was through years, so the next page can have a complete different story. When Pasha died, I was back to square 1 because Alexander surrendered himself and that freaking killed me.
I already mentioned it before in my review of The Bronze Horseman and I'll mention it again... Tatiana is the most strongest female character out there. I don't care if people call her selfish or some shit. What she's been through, oh my god, this woman is a saint. From leaving Helsinki all the way to trying to survive in America with Anthony, the loneliness of bringing up your husband's kid without him. Tatiana's unanswered questions for 3 years. Tatiana going all the way to Europe just to rescue Alexander. My god. I applaud her so much. AND THAT IS WHAT YOU CALL LOVE. OK. I'm trying to figure out if I should be happy or anxious with the ending. They finally made it to the American embassy and it's kind of going okay. Alexander even said "We are going home" but before that he said he only wanted to say something comforting to Tatiana. SO WHAT THE DOES THAT MEAN. OMG. PLS. I can't. I guess I'm a mix of both emotions.
THE SUMMER GARDEN
I honestly don't know what words are when it comes to reviewing this book, so to make things easier, I'm going to add in some gifs to show you guys what I went through. Also, to organize my thoughts properly I will talk about book 1 to 4 separately.
So at the start, I knew that I was going to need some kind of mental preparation because it was the final hoorah to Tatiana & Alexander's story. BOOK 1 Since the end of Tatiana and Alexander, we all knew that Alexander was finally going home to America to be with his wife and son. At the beginning in the early chapters, it was obvious how Alexander had a difficult time transitioning from being a soldier in the Red Army who went to prison like a million times to being a normal person in America. Him and Tatiana both struggled, Tatiana especially because she was trying her best to comfort and take care of him and as well as raise Anthony. (WHO BY THE WAY IS A CUTIE). It was honestly one of the heaviest things to read about because my expectations for the both of them changed. I felt as if the characters I knew from the very first book, were gone. Let's be real though, they DID go through a lot. To have them both safe in America with their son made me think that everything was going to be okay.
"Perhaps on the surface they were still in their twenties, but their hearts were old."
But nevertheless, they were trying. And there were scenarios where they had genuine family time. Both of them still very much loved each other and their romantic scenes were still on point. Alexander was still flirty and arrogant af. Who remembers this line--
"Oh, now that it's morning, I'm Alexander again?"
Another important matter in Book 1 was Tatiana's issue with Washington. She's been "hiding" Alexander from the government because apparently he was being hunted down by so many officials, both in the US and USSR. When I read this part, I immediately got scared as well because if they were going to bring down Alexander after what he's already been through... I was ready to kill.
After probably the most stressful trial in court, (Alexander eventually found out that she's been keeping something), he was a free man. What ticked me off though was when Burck mentioned that Alexander's mom was still alive. I thought that this was it, this was going to be the main plot twist of the whole book. But then, it was dropped in the first book and never brought up ever again.
Now in this book, the story mostly revolved around domestic stuff. Because Alexander and Tatiana were constantly moving in the first book, they wanted to settle down already. Issues like jobs, houses, money and neighbourhood were talked about. Basically the middle part of The Summer Garden focused on their daily lives. Alexander working to be a future architect. Tatiana being a housewife and at the same time working as a nurse. Their social lives were included as well. Alexander's business partners and their families etc. But of course, things weren't smooth along the way. Alexander's temper became more visible in this book and he would turn aggressive sometimes on Tatiana which caused conflict in their life. Jealousy is such a huge factor for the both of them, men hitting on Tatiana, ladies trying to get some with Alexander.... (MORE ON THIS LATER I SWEAR TO GOD) But anyways going back, there were a lot of bumps on their marriage and they would argue most of the time because they wanted to grow their family, Tatiana couldn't get pregnant, Alexander was getting impatient... but then at the same time, I kind of understand because it just goes to show how their marriage is actually taking its place on their lives already. No marriage is perfect. No matter how much love you have for each other, it will never be perfect. At the end of the day, they manage to work things out. My favorite scene from this book was every time Alexander would think about how beautiful Tatiana was, I mean yeah, he did that since the beginning but this time it was different because as time goes by, it was as if Alexander fell in love with her all over again.
"She was so lush and bosomy, so blonde and sparkling. Alexander didn't know how anyone could be talking when his wife looked like this."
So yeah even if they had their arguments, their life was pretty much put together in book 2.
BUT THEN BOOK 3 HAPPENED.
Before I explain my rage, I would just like to put the scene where they slow danced to Nat King Cole's "Nature Boy". I CRIED. OKAY. Because yeah it's a romantic scene but Alexander was reminded of a time in his childhood; he saw his parents dance together for the last time, after that nothing was ever the same. THE LAST TIME The title of Book 3 is "Dissonance" then the words "The Last Time" comes up???? DO YOU SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING? I was really nervous moving forward because I might read something that will probably kill me for life. Okay, like what I said earlier, jealousy is such a huge factor for the both of them. It was already showing in Book 2, but in Book 3 it was to the point where it was becoming toxic already. Mostly Alexander. He was never the same when Tatiana agreed to get the graveyard shift as a nurse. He never agreed to it because he wanted Tatiana home. Alexander being Alexander, wanted to do all the work for his family. Tatiana was never home when he needed her. They didn't get that much quality time like before. Anthony was growing up by the second. Things were constantly changing and it wasn't for the better. Ugh I hate putting this here but here it goes, the main reason why I got so angry at Alexander was because he ended up cheating on Tatiana.
SCREW YOU ALEXANDER BARRINGTON!
You guys, this affected me bad. When I read that part, I glared at everyone in the grocery, I was bitching out while driving... it was horrible okay. Don't even.
Here's the truth, I DESPISE unfaithful men. I hate them. I'm super sensitive when it comes to this issue because I honestly just do not like them. When a guy cheats on someone, dear God, when a husband cheats on his faithful wife, I'm automatically a madman. That's why I got so angry at Alexander because at the same time I got hurt, his image changed for me. He not only crossed the line. HE CROSSED A TREACHEROUS BORDER ON MY PART. I almost did not want to continue The Summer Garden when I came to this part, I was so close to giving it a -1 star. Alexander became physically abusive again, in his case, it's as if history was repeating itself. A lot of foreshadowing from Alexander's parents happened in Book 3. I'm sorry but I don't think I can properly explain what happened next but obviously they made up. You just have to read it for yourself. If I do explain it, it will eat up all of my time. Lol. Details details details, alas, Tatiana got pregnant, they have a new house, everything is okay...... then Anthony grew up.
Book 4 is bittersweet. It revolved around Anthony. Oh by the way, Tatiana and Alexander got 3 extra kids; Pasha, Harry and Janie. Anthony. Antman. What can I say? Like father like son. He grew up to be a soldier, deployed in Vietnam during the war which of course was a hard time explaining to his parents. But what can they expect? Anthony grew up to be exactly like Alexander. He went to Vietnam and married a girl. Moon Lai. But it wasn't at all like his parent's love story. It turns out that Moon Lai betrayed Ant. Ant was held captive in North Vietnam, he lost his left arm. Alexander almost died at the age of 50 since he was shot in the heart because he rescued Ant. IT WAS A GOOD THING HE LIVED. Another interesting thing about Ant was his relationship with Vikki. #scandal
Towards the ending, the pacing of the book was already quick but a lot was still happening. It even showed the family tree of the Barrington's. I'm happy to say that everything really did work out in the end. Their grandchildren was asking about their past and even asking about their photos from the 40's, then I knew that it really was ending and I couldn't help but cry because I don't like saying goodbye to characters I love. #emotionalbooknerdfeels
The actual ending was perfect. It showed what both Alexander and Tatiana held on to all throughout the series, their genuine and raw love for each other. No matter what happens, no matter who does what, their love will always return to the day Alexander crossed the street for Tatiana. They lived through war together. And I'm glad to say that they finally have their happily ever after.
And there you have it, I'm done with this trilogy. I can close it and move on. (Like that's going to be easy). See you next time for another book review!
Published by Isa Lazo