THE SUMMER GARDEN

A Love Story

Paulina Simons

Through years of war and devastation, Tatiana and Alexander suffered the worst the twentieth century had to offer. Miraculously reunited in America, they now have a beautiful son, Anthony, the gift of a love strong enough to survive the most terrible upheavals. Though they are still young, the ordeals they endured have changed them—and after living apart in a world laid waste, they must now find a way to live together in postwar America.

With the Cold War rising, dark forces at work in their adopted country threaten their lives, their family, and their hard-won peace.

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Through years of war and devastation, Tatiana and Alexander suffered the worst the twentieth century had to offer. Miraculously reunited in America, they now have a beautiful son, Anthony, the gift of a love strong enough to survive the most terrible upheavals. Though they are still young, the ordeals they endured have changed them—and after living apart in a world laid waste, they must now find a way to live together in postwar America.

With the Cold War rising, dark forces at work in their adopted country threaten their lives, their family, and their hard-won peace. To regain the happiness they once knew, to wash away the lingering pain of the past, two lovers grown distant must somehow forge a new life . . .or watch the ghosts of their yesterdays destroy their firstborn son.

The Summer Garden . . . their odyssey is just beginning.

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  • William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Paperback
  • June 2011
  • 752 Pages
  • 9780061988226

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About Paulina Simons

Paullina Simons is the author of nine internationally acclaimed novels, including Tully and The Bronze Horseman. Her books have been translated into twenty languages. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, she graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, and has lived in Rome, London, and Dallas. She now lives near New York City with her husband, four children, and one dog named Bunny.

Praise

“Paullina Simons knows how to keep the reader turning the pages.”—Courier Mail (Australia)

“Paullina Simon’s voice is engaging enough and there is much information in the broad sweep of the narrative, which covers the blockade of Leningrad, the Vietnam War and the saga of a Russian immigrant family that eventually finds happiness in the US of A.”—Melbourne Age

“Well worth reading.”—The Southland Times (New Zealand)

Discussion Questions

Each book of The Summer Garden begins with a psalm. How do these psalms influence your understanding of the novel? Which resonated with you the most?

In what ways is Alexander still a soldier in the novel? In what ways is Tatiana still a nurse? How does this affect their marriage?

 Do you think it is appropriate for Tatiana to withhold from Alexander that a U.S. State Department employee is searching for him? Why?

 Why do you think Alexander is always desperately seeking water?

What do the interludes about Tatiana’s childhood reveal about her character?

 Why do you think Tatiana can resist temptation and Alexander cannot?

Most of The Summer Garden is set in Phoenix, Arizona—a city named after a bird that rebuilds itself from ashes. How are Tatiana and Alexander reborn in the novel?

Why do you think Tatiana refuses to sell their land despite the obvious economic opportunity? Would you do the same thing in her position?

In Book Three, “Dissonance”, Alexander says that he and his wife have not left Leningrad behind them. What does he mean by this? Do you agree with him?

Why do Tatiana and Alexander blame themselves for their son Anthony’s disappearance in Vietnam? Should they carry this guilt?

Compare Alexander and his father, Harold as patriarchs. How are they similar? How are they different?

Who would you recommend The Bronze Horseman series to? Why?

Do you think Tatiana and Alexander truly escape the Bronze Horseman to find peace in their Summer Garden?