the summer garden paullina simons

The Summer Garden: The trilogy finale that left me sobbing.

I don’t even know where to begin when talking about The Bronze Horseman trilogy. It is so meaningful to me that I am scared to even recommend it for fear you’d hate it and our friendship would have to cease (this is half sarcasm, half serious). The epic love story of Tatiana and Alexander was so well done by Paullina Simons, that the ending left me sobbing because I was so sad to see its conclusion.

The Summer Garden: The trilogy finale that left me sobbing.The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons
Series: The Bronze Horseman #3
Published by HarperCollins on January 1st 1970
Pages: 742
Format: Paperback
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy from The Book Depository

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.

It’s no secret that The Bronze Horseman, the first in the trilogy, is likely one of my favorite books of all time. It had everything I need in a book, and the heartbreak in it killed me.

Then came the second book in the series, Tatiana and Alexander. It wasn’t as gripping as the first, but at this point I was so invested in their love story I couldn’t not read it.

Finally, The Summer Garden. The last book in the trilogy. It was most definitely slow paced at times, and there were things that I felt could have been left out. It took me forever (over 3 weeks!) to get through this book. But again, I couldn’t not read it. I HAD TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO TATIANA AND ALEXANDER. And truthfully, even the more slow/uninteresting scenes still kept my interest, because at this point I was so invested in these two I didn’t care if I was just reading about them sitting on the couch — I just had to read about them.

But oh my gosh, you guys. Slogging through that beast of a book was 100% worth it. I think it dawned on me somewhere in the last 200 pages that this book was actually going to end. Tatiana and Alexander’s story would soon be over. That’s when I started spontaneously crying while reading (this happened on numerous occasions). Imagine my poor husband’s surprise when I would suddenly start balling and murmuring incoherently that I didn’t want it to end.

“Is something sad happening?”

“No.” *sob* “It’s happy right now.” *sob* “I just am so sad.” *sob* “It can’t end.” *sob*

After reading over 2000 pages of Tatiana and Alexander’s epic love story, you feel like you’ve been with them for their entire life. Saying goodbye was so, so hard, but it was also so, so, so perfect. Paullina Simons could not have ended the trilogy better (seriously, those last few pages are pure GOLD!!!!!).

the bronze horseman

I was going to give this book 3.5-4 stars before I finished it, but the ending just slayed me and brought it right up to 5 stars, because at the end of the day – this is a 5-star trilogy for me, even if it wasn’t perfect 100% of the time.

I have said this before but it doesn’t hurt to say it again: If you like historical fiction and if you like love stories, YOU MUST READ THIS SERIES. I promise you it is worth it. 


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    1. Definitely read at the the Bronze Horseman (that one is the best!!) if you like love stories! It’s a whole lot of heartbreak and pain in WWII Soviet Union. And it’s SO GOOD!!!

  1. I was sort of mad at Alexander in this one. His actions and objections to Tatiana having a job struck me as a bit too… caveman for my taste. I also didn’t like the way Anthony’s story played out. That said it was cathartic and emotional to finally come to the end for these characters.

    1. YES!!! I was A LOT mad at him. He really ticked me off big time with his decisions. Though Tatiana ticked me off a lot in the beginning (though at least she was just trying to protect Alexander…). Both of them I wanted to strangle at times. I agree about Anthony’s story – it was kind of weird at times? But my goodness, it was so worth it for me to push through just for the last scene with the bench and the ice cream AND OMG I’M ABOUT TO MELT INTO A PUDDLE ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!

  2. Alexander disliking Tatiana working made sense to me. He wanted to give her an ‘ice cream’ life because she had lived such a hard life. He also didn’t want her working at the hospital because it reminded them of the past they were trying to forget. Paullina Simons said in an interview something along the lines of the couldn’t break free from their past until they had a baby. The baby represented life and a new life for them. On top of it all, leaving Alexander for 60 hours a week added to his insecurities and feelings of being a failure. It led to chaos in their life not order, like Alexander says. I agree with him.

    1. I appreciate you taking the time to comment this! Yes, I agree that his opinion made sense, and you make some very good points that I actually hadn’t thought of. Definitely a different way of looking at things. Now if only we can somehow explain his “oops” moment in the third book to make him look better XD