Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Since this book is a sequel (and I haven't read the first one) it was difficult to begin reading. The action immediately starts where the first book leaves off, in the Soviet Union during WWII. Alexander is a young officer recovering in a military hospital from some pretty bad battle wounds. For some reason he's also waiting to be arrested by the Soviet government. Tatiana is trying to make her way out of Europe and escape the war. Simons does her best to get new readers up to speed on the story, with lots of flashback moments and conversations from the first book. After reading the first third of the book I felt I was sufficiently caught up with the action.
The reason it took me a third of the book to catch up is because this book moves back and forth through time, telling three stories at once. The first is Alexander's story of how he was brought to the Soviet Union by his parents in the 1930's and how he became an officer in the Red Army. The second story is Alexander's current scenario, being arrested and charged with treason, then being assigned to lead a penal battalion in battle. The third is Tatiana's story, who hides on a cargo ship bound for New York City and gives birth to her son within days of arriving at Ellis Island.
This technique of moving back and forth through the stories almost forces the reader to become engrossed in the book. You HAVE to pay attention so you don't get lost with the narratives. It would have been a whole lot easier to follow the stories if they were told in sequence, but then it's interesting to watch all the story pieces eventually fall into place.
On the front cover is a book review quote that says, "This has everything a romance glutton could wish for.." When I first saw that, I hoped I wasn't opening a harlequin romance. This book does have probably as much sex in it as an HR, but most of these scenarios are between a newly married husband and wife, and Simons uses lots of implied references instead of explicit, graphic detail. Since much of the book follows soldiers in battle, there's also LOTS of f-bombs.
The thing I liked best about the book was how Simons explores the emotions and thoughts of Tatiana struggling with being a war widow. Simon's writing really helped me understand what it would be like to be in Tatiana's position, and I started wondering, "How would I handle this situation? How would I feel? What would I do?"
I enjoyed reading this book, but could do without the language and too-many-honeymoon scenes. Since the book recaps its prequel so well, and ends on a good note, I don't feel I need to read the rest of the books in this series.
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