Book Tour Review: Bellagrand by Paullina Simons

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Title: Bellagrand
Author: Paullina Simons
Genre: historical fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 560
Published: expected March 25 2014
Source: TLC Book Tours for review
Rating: 2.5/5

They gave up everything to be together, but love was just the beginning of their journey...

Italian immigrant Gina, independent, compassionate and strong, desperately wants a family. Boston blue-blood Harry, idealistic and fiercely political, wants to create a better world, a better country. Bound together by tormented passion, they rail, rage, and break each other’s hearts, only to come face to face with a stark final choice that will forever determine their destiny.

Their journey takes them through four decades and two continents, through triumph and turmoil, from the wooden planks of the troubled, immigrant town of Lawrence, Massachusetts, to the marble halls and secret doors of a mystical place called... Bellagrand.

From internationally bestselling author Paullina Simons comes another compelling saga of heartbreak and redemption, and the devastating love story that led to The Bronze Horseman.
Though Bellagrand's story and characters are loosely connected to the author's famous Bronze Horseman trilogy, it is a complete narrative that can also be read and enjoyed without any knowledge of the previous novels. It's an epic and sprawling tale, one that I could understand other readers loving, but didn't quite love myself. It's obvious that Simons can write quite the story, but the material ultimately just didn't connect with me.

 One of the reasons I didn't connect with the narrative or characters as much as I would have liked is because Simons latest novel is more a dramatic romance than anything else. It's can be exhausting charting the course of Gina and Harry's relationship. These two characters are interesting because they are not perfect, nut they are also cringeworthy companions for hundreds and hundreds of pages. Gina is too giving, Harry is too selfish. It's nearly impossible to like Gina because she is so spineless, or to even care about Harry because his characterization is so one-note. I was frustrated early on by the characters, but Bellagrand is still easily readable. Simons tends to veer verbose, but that lends well to creating atmosphere and sense of place.

Though the book takes place in several locations, Russia/that time of the story were the most interesting. I felt that the endless politics angle felt fumbled to me, the execution less an could be desired, but the family turmoil was better handled and more relatable. Even though the characters themselves were not Ted, their situation is often heartbreaking. I am not sure that Bellagrand is the best place to begin reading Paulina Simons's novels, but I feel confident in predicting that fans of hers will find more to love and new readers might be slightly disappointed. It's a solidarity, but one that feels more at home in the romance section rather than the historical fiction area.


  1. I've never read this author. Is it difficult to make it through that many pages if you don't feel connected? I usually give up around 80 pages if I just can't get into the story.

  2. I'm sorry to see that it wasn't a favorite for you but thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.


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