Paullina Simons has completed her romantic trilogy of Tatiana and Alexander Barrington with "The Summer Garden: A Love Story." (William Morrow Publisher, 742 pages)
Survivors of the bloody Second World War, Tatiana and her husband, Alexander, a former Soviet officer, make it to America with their son, Anthony.
But as the chill of the Cold War intensifies, the lovers are compelled to go into hiding as they fear arrest and deportation to the Soviet Union.
Set in the tumultuous twentieth century, this is a love story of a couple who survive the horrors of Nazism, Soviet oppression and the Red Scare; yet wrestle with life in a free society, the temptations of marital infidelity, conflicts concerning a woman's career and identity and, of course, the trauma of infertility.
Despite an interesting discussion of twentieth century history (though some of these details appear a bit off, e.g., the reference to Agent Blue as opposed to Agent Orange, the defoliant used in Vietnam) this is romance fiction with the usual elements: a jealous, controlling and often, misogynistic husband.
Despite their lack of communication, the two have a very robust love life. (Though one is tempted to wonder how the chain smoking husband keeps his vigor for eighty years and where the Soviet Tatiana learned to cook like Julia Child? But the reader must remember, too much realism spoils a romance.)
At more than seven hundred pages, Paullina Simons delivers enough passion in her story of Tatiana and Alexander to keep the romance reader's interest in "The Summer Garden."