The Summer Garden – Review


NOTE: If you plan on reading this series, you may want to skip this review! Spoilers are likely, with this being the third and final book in the series.

The Bronze Horseman – Review
Tatiana & Alexander – Review


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 has taken over two years since I finished the first book, but the bittersweet journey of Tatiana and Alexander has finally come to an end for me. I started The Summer Garden in February of this year and finally got around to finishing it last weekend. I had to take a break from this story because I have never read a more agonizing book in all of my life. I had to let my thoughts of the series as a whole marinate. I couldn’t seem to put my emotions into words.

Be ready for this punch to the gut, my friends…

This was my least favorite book in the series. I struggled hard with reading this one. It felt like the characters I had grown to love were gone. Of course, they were growing and aging in the ways life naturally transforms us, and no marriage will ever be picture perfect. Unfortunately, I felt their struggles became excessive and their American lifestyle ruined them. In my last review, I was commending their loyalty to one other and the resilience of their relationship through such horribly difficult times. Then, The Summer Garden, life in America, comes along and makes me take back my words. The heartbreak shredding I felt over the characters’ new lives and the decisions they made was the worst I’ve experienced by the hards of fictional characters. All I could think was, “NOW! This happens now?! After all they have been through?”

Maybe the mark of a good book is making the reader feel every emotion imaginable, but I can’t reconcile that fact with this book. I felt rage, I wanted to stop reading, and yet, I still had to know how this series would conclude, even if it ruined everything in the end.

There were quite a few issues with this story, like the abrupt disuse of quotation marks throughout one chunk and the frantic time jumps to condense many years into one book. The story felt disjointed and wasn’t nearly as cohesive as it should have been for the finale. I wish it had been plotted a little more effectively. The last quarter of the book felt like I was reading an entirely different story.

Naturally, there were some things I really enjoyed. There had to be for me to finish over 700 pages of nearly fine-print type. I was sure the series would conclude in an entirely different manner. I loved how it covered the majority of Anthony’s life, allowing readers to see decades in the span of one book. Simply being able to experience how the characters’ lives unfolded is what I was looking for and ultimately, I was satisfied with the final chapter of the story. It warmed my heart but didn’t completely heal the sting I felt near the halfway mark. There were some truly beautiful moments and writing in this story, just like in the former two books. The characters showed a level of growth I haven’t experienced before, even if I didn’t like many of their choices. There were also glimpses of the past and of the Tatiana and Shura I’d grown to love. Those nostalgic moments kept me hanging on. Unfortunately, I’m torn between wishing I hadn’t finished the series and grateful to know how it wrapped up, which is altogether disappointing. Despite my feelings about The Summer Garden, this is still one of the most epic and unforgettable series I’ve ever read.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Purchase on Amazon.


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