BELLAGRAND: A Novel by Bestselling Author of The Bronze Horseman ~Paullina Simons
“As CHILDREN OF LIBERTY concludes with a stunning ending – the story is just beginning. BELLAGRAND follows Harry and Gina after the Happily Ever After. After their whirlwind romance, Gina and Harry must learn what it really takes to mesh their families and their cultures. Readers will be delighted to see exactly how these characters fit into the BRONZE HORSEMAN legacy.”
BELLAGRAND is quite the read, if you like historic fiction, family saga, romance, and Russian Novels you will fully enjoy cozying up to this one. The book is quite enjoyable even without reading the first and/or upcoming third of the trilogy. It is fascinating to look at American history through the eyes of an Italian immigrant and the Russian author’s viewpoints.
In the first book, Harry – the son of a wealthy family in Massachusetts falls in love with a young woman arrived from Italy – Gina. BELLAGRAND is a detailed accounting of their marriage over 25 years and how they worked with differing cultural differences and political ideologies. For Gina, she is also working on returning her husband to favor from his family and re-connection.
The book is divided into three parts. The first section is about the relationship as it is caught up in the workers strikes at the Woolen Mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Gina is attempting to work 5 or 6 jobs mending and also volunteering in order to keep the family in food, clothing and shelter. They live with her Mother. Harry was getting his doctorate at Harvard in Economics and going to teach there, but decides against work and joins the revolutionary Workers movement. He is increasingly hostile to wealth and affluence, and goes to strategy meetings with the Communists, Workers Party, and those who support the Russian Revolution; wanting to emigrate.
Part two is a coming together of the remaining family members of both families, because a baby is expected to this couple. Harry has been arrested so many times that his father arranges a house arrest in Juniper, Florida at the mansion his mother has left to him – BELLAGRAND. The three years that they reside at this elegant house they live a relaxed and casual style. Harry’s sister and Father come to spend time with the family, savor the warmth and beauty and grow healthier in the obvious joy of this Grand Son – Alexander.
Part Three sends the family back to Boston, fine schools, an affluent lifestyle, and an attempt to finish the doctorate. There is an abundance of society and family conflict. Harry still does not work for money.
The historic events in this time period are dense and thorough. The Panama Canal, Gold Coast Housing boom and crash, a hurricane, and the dynamic individuals of this time in US history are detailed and heavily integrated into the story line. The Scopes Trial, Emma Goldman, Eugene Debs, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s daughter Rose, and many book titles and newspapers are quoted and touch base with this story.
I believe that BELLAGRAND will be a bestseller and there will be a large following of the folks who enjoyed the first book and clamor for the third. Harry is inflexible and remains in rebellion against his family, and Gina makes so many poor decisions, topped off with the many arguments and make-up sex moments in this novel, I just got tired of reading all 550 pages.
When I was 5 years old I read Dr. Zhivago with my mother writing down the characters and their numerous nicknames on a piece of paper so I could keep track. With this book, I had to write down characters on a 3×5 card and a few ideas to get myself back into the read, each time I had to set this book down. I have read lots of Russian Novels and the redundancy was okay; my best guess is that this novel was the wrong time of the year for me. A good author helps you feel the feelings and BELLAGRAND did just that – I felt a lingering sense of hopelessness even as I awoke this morning. It is the transition book in a saga trilogy, it does a good job; I so enjoyed the look at history from a different perspective.
TLC Online Book Tours and William Morrow Publishing sent me an uncorrected proof copy of BELLAGRAND. It was quite an experience to read this book and it was a fine read without having read the first book Children of Liberty in the The Bronze Horseman trilogy. I appreciate the opportunity.
“Paullina Simons is the author of the acclaimed novels TULLY, RED LEAVES, and ELEVEN HOURS. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, she graduated from Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas and has lived in Rome, London, and Dallas. She currently lives near New York City with her husband and three children.” Wikipedia