The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3)

The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3) - Paullina Simons I have to rate this book 3-3.5 stars. The book seems to wander... it doesn't seem as focused. It contains "intermissions" of a story of Tatiana's summer lake experience, that stretches through several of these "intermissions". I wasn't ever quite sure of the POINT of that story, except that it showed Tatiana's strength and growth even as a young girl. Otherwise, it was downright creepy.We start with Alexander, Tatiana, and Anthony in Maine. They're in the states. And just as I feared, these two people who love one another so much don't know each other anymore. War, the terrors of war, the fears about the other have them both trapped inside their minds. They've been separated for so long, and the life they had when together was anything but normal. How do they live a "normal" life in post-war America?I was irritated with both of them, as they found their way. Mostly with Tatiana, over her fear of Sam and why Alexander needed to be debriefed. I understood it, but she made the situation so much worse. In a way, I felt as if the author "copped out" and gave them the "easy way out" in many situations to make up for the harshness of the previous lives and story...But we skip around years in this book - almost without warning. And I felt that the author spent too much time in the whole house-building scene. Yes, Alexander was looking for a father figure, and the father fit part of what he needed; enough so that Alexander could pretend not to know and see the rest. But pages and pages and pages and pages of discord between Alexander and Tatiana... and dealing with these awful people. And the dramatic conclusion to that part of their lives. It just seemed like too much and too melodramatic for me. IMO, Alexander would have wised up much sooner.THEN we deal with the insecurities of both of them and the questions of infidelity. First, I don't believe Alexander would cheat the way that he did... Carmen was nothing but an available floozy; her draw was that she was easy, and Alexander convinced himself of what? That he wanted to punish Tatiana? That he wanted to punish himself? I realize that these decisions are often made under duress and under the influence of alcohol and based on availability of the other person - especially someone throwing herself at you. But... I was really disappointed that Alexander made the choices he did. It seemed out of character for him - not that he hasn't any flaws.I also think that Tatiana got off too easily here. Even though she wasn't technically having an affair, she was having an emotional/mental affair. And she knew it. She wasn't blameless in all of this, as she comes off. In her conversation with Dr. Bradley about "don't tell me, let's pretend", it was obvious that she knew exactly how he felt and where it all was leading, even though she was in denial. Both Tatiana and Alexander were looking for something ELSE in SOMEONE else, because they were drifting from one another. And physical contact and sex were of primary importance to both. Then the stress of no kids... But the blow was Carmen's accusation, which was never completely resolved. I wanted the author to show her up for the tramp and liar she was, but I suppose the author decided that it wasn't necessary. That Tatiana did believe Alexander.Then we skip again, and suddenly Anthony is graduating from West Point. Then he's in Vietnam. Then he's missing/AWOL. Then we find out disturbing revelations about Ant and Vicki. HUH? Vicki might have been hot and available, but she was HIS MOTHER'S FRIEND! And she was the one his mother left him with... the one he couldn't stand to be around for fear his mother would leave him with Vicki again. And THIS is the woman he has a long-standing affair with? A few encounters I could possibly believe - like Alexander had with the woman in the apartment building. THEN we find out disturbing info about Anthony in Vietnam - stuff even his own buddies don't know? That Ant married this Moon Lai? A prostitute? That he had no idea she was VietCong? He's supposed to be military intelligence for goodness sakes! Come on! Although the reality when Anthony is found and the interrogation of Moon Lai was horrible, but spot-on, and I suppose I can forgive some things. It still seemed incredible and out-of-character for Anthony.THEN we skip ahead many years again... I don't mind seeing all the kids and spouses and grandkids. But we live through 40+ years in this last book. It seemed overwhelming.And I must say that I'm sentimental enough to love the ending - the full circle.