Saturday, January 05, 2013

Book Review: Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons

Tatiana and Alexander is the second book in the trilogy that started with The Bronze Horseman. I finished the first book a few days ago and immediately downloaded the second book to read. I had to know what happened next! (As I mentioned in my review of The Bronze Horseman, this book also has a lot of sexual content. However, this time a lot of it is in the italicized sections and I ended up just skipping page after page of this and the book still totally made sense. )

When this book starts, Tatiana has escaped to the United States and is about to have Alexander's baby. She left Alexander behind, believing him to be dead. As she tries to make a new life for herself, she is haunted by the thought that maybe her husband isn't dead after all.
Alexander, meanwhile, is still alive and fighting for his life. At times he acts as a ranked soldier again, while at other times he is imprisoned. He holds on to the belief that Tatiana is alive and well and tries to survive Stalin's "death machine" and find Tatiana.
The Registration Room on Ellis Island. Tatiana lived & worked on the island. My photo from our 2008 trip.
A lot of the story of Tatiana as she lives in NYC and is about her waiting and trying to decide if Alexander was really alive or not and whether or not she should go on with her life. This actually got a bit boring. And, as she was in the United States she was learning English and we had to read her conversations in broken English. I think this was confusing because it didn't 'sound' like the voice of Tatiana that I was accustomed to.
Sachsenhausen NKVD Special Camp (controlled by Gulag) in Germany where Alexander was held
photo from Wikipedia
Alexander's story, however, was more exciting. Not only was there more of the war and the 'history' (which is what I love about historical fiction!), you also learned more about his life as a child. Some of this was really interesting (including his life in the Gulag which I'd studied and read about last year), and other parts were disturbing. I came away not liking Alexander near as much after reading this book.
So, I'm happy to finish this trilogy after the first two books, but won't be reading the third. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

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