Review of Paullina Simon’s Bellagrand

Bellagrand is indeed BELLA GRAND!!! This book came straight from the author’s heart. Readers will understand the less-than-stellar lead up to this heartbreaker now…

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BELLAGRAND

Paullina Simons has returned in fine form! The love story of Alexander’s parents is continued from Children of Liberty, and is the prequel to the stunning Bronze Horseman. Nothing I could write can describe this gem of a book better than the author’s poignant words: “[This book is about] Gina, a passionate, strong, good woman, who wants nothing more than to love and to be loved. The book is about all the things that stand in her way. In this story, you will also meet Alexander, and you will witness the love that had made him and in the end that saved him, the love that offered him, years hence, the possibility of a new life. It was all borne out of Bellagrand, out of the lifelong love affair between Gina and Harry, Alexander’s mother and father.” (from author’s website)

Gina and Harry’s journey spans four decades and two continents, from the troubled industrial immigrant town of Lawrence, Massachusetts, to the blue-blood society of Boston, to South Florida where the dream of perfection is found and lost, to a new life in a dangerous, foreign land.

Bellagrand is an epic journey, a suitable prequel to the momumental love story of Alexander and Tatiana. Simons wraps up all the plot threads cleanly, but not before wringing your heart and dragging you through an emotional roller coaster ride. Bellagrand is a poignant and mature exploration of marriage and commitment, of sacrifice and consequences. It is a dark tale with rays of light that will touch you.

(from my review for The Historical Novels Review)

Paullina Simons, William Morrow, 2014, 576 pp, 9780062103239, paperback Continue reading

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You’ve got to love small presses!

I have just turned in my review for Paullina Simon’s Bellagrand. Ohhhh….it’s a heart breaker. Similar to The Bronze Horseman. Hold on to your hearts if you decide to read it, and I will post the review here after the May issue of The Historical Novels Review is published. I also reviewed The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott….not impressed.

Sarah Johnson at Reading the Past has been posting galleries of upcoming small press titles, and her latest post of international titles is fascinating. THESE are the kinds of books that readers like me are hankering for-exotic locations (to us Americans, of course) and different themes than the usual fare we see in the States. One book in particular makes me chuckle, as I’m so unused to seeing American settings from an international point of view: The Hedge by Ann McPherson, set in 17th century Hartford, Connecticut. To Canadians, Connecticut must sound exotic, but it’s hard for me to imagine, being a native New Englander, someone conceiving of Connecticut the way I view Bombay… But everyone’s home is exotic to someone somewhere else.

The settings are refreshingly diverse: Western Australia, India, Singapore, North America, Spain, and the Middle East, for example. This is the appeal of Indie historical fiction-both self-published and mainstream small press-a refreshing gust of wind from a different direction. A chance to learn something fresh, educate yourself outside of your comfort zone, and grow into a worldly, sophisticated connoisseur of words. At least that’s the lofty goal. My goal right now is a soft couch, a warm fuzzy blanket, and a cup of tea with my multicultural entertainment…

Enjoy perusing Sarah’s list, and I will be writing up a review for Liza Perat’s haunting second novel, Wolfsangel, as soon as I can finish it. So far, three books for the 2014 Historical Fiction Challenge- that puts me on the road toward being a Victorian-level reader….oh the things we book lovers do for kicks!