Title: Tatiana and Alexander
Author: Paullina Simons
Publication Date: 2008 (2003)
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Christmas Gift
Tatiana is 18 years old, pregnant and widowed when she escapes war-torn Leningrad to find a new life in America. But the ghosts of her past do not rest easily. She becomes obsessed with the belief that her husband, Red Army Major Alexander Belov, is still alive and needs her desperately....
Meanwhile, oceans and continents away in the Soviet Union, Alexander, having barely escaped execution, is leading a battalion of soldiers considered expendable by Soviet high command. New recruits survive only days. Yet Alexander is determined to take them across the ruins of Europe in one last, desperate bid to escape Stalin's death machine, and see Tatiana once again.... (Goodreads Synopsis)
Having left the characters in such dire straits at the end of the last book, I was keen to read on and see what would happen to Tatiana and Alexander. Would they find each other again? Would their love last?
On the whole, this book is a very satisfying continuation of the story as we follow the two (now on other sides of the world) in their attempts to return to each other. Even though they are separated, their relationship is the point around which this tale revolves and it still feels as strong as in the first book.
If I could change one thing, I would cut out a few of the flashbacks. I can see why Simons included them, but I should think most people would come to this book having already read The Bronze Horseman and would therefore not need constant reminders of what happened in that tale. For me, they slowed things down and I ended up skimming them a little in order to return to the action in the current storyline.
Also, while most of the story feels grounded in reality, some elements of the ending seemed a little far-fetched and would not have been out of place in an action film. It also felt marginally rushed after the long 400-page build up to get there.
But, as I said, overall this is a pleasing second book that ties up all the loose ends from the first book and certainly offers a more heart-warming conclusion.