Children Of Liberty by Paullina Simons: A Review

Children Of Liberty by Paullina Simons (ISBN: 9780007241576, 544 pages, Published October 2012)

I’ve been a fan of Paullina Simons for years. It started with the book Tully and then continued with The Bronze Horseman trilogy and on to books like The Girl in Times Square and Red Leaves. Children of Liberty is a kind of prequel to The Bronze Horseman in that it tells the story of how the parents of Alexander (the male protagonist in TBH series) met in the early 1900’s in Boston.

What I’ve always liked about Paullina Simons books are the interesting, twisty plots and the angst-ridden romances. They are usually rich in detail and contain flawed female characters who you can’t help but like and cheer for. But this time? Umm…

The book begins with 14-year-old Gina from Italy stepping off a boat at Boston’s Freedom Docks with her mother and brother. They have come to America as it was the dying wish of Gina’s father. At the dock, they meet Harry Barrington and his friend Ben Shaw. The two young men are the sons of prominent Bostonian families and greet families at the dock to house them at the buildings Harry’s father owns around town.

Gina convinces her family to accept their help. They stay a night and then move to a town called Lawrence outside of Boston. From there Gina starts a number of money making schemes whilst nursing her love for Harry and conspiring ways to bump into him again.

Harry is engaged to a rich young heiress called Alice. He doesn’t do much apart from study at university and quote from a lot of highbrow writers of the day. His friend Ben is a more likeable and interesting character. Ben is also smitten with Gina but she only has eyes for the rather wet Harry. Fast forward and a few plot points happen, but mostly nothing. Then suddenly it is years later and Gina is all grown up. A couple more things happen and then the book limps to a unsatisfactory conclusion.

I think Gina was supposed to be like the tough, enterprising character Tatiana from The Bronze Horseman. But I found her ‘cuteness’ annoying. Whilst there were historical details thrown in here and there – like references to the building of the Panama Canal and quotes from writers and political activists from the time – I felt like this story wasn’t as fully fleshed out as I am used to reading from Paullina Simons.

Maybe because I found most of her other books to be such great reads I am judging this book a bit harshly. I read it, I got to the end, but unlike her other books, which I’ve read numerous times, I won’t be giving this one another read.

Has one of your favourite authors ever disappointed you?

One Lovely Blog Award and The Versatile Blogger Award

I’ve been a bit slack acknowledging a few award nominations. The reason for the delay was because I had just recently been nominated for some awards and I wanted to space out my posts a little bit. The best thing about receiving nominations is being able to acknowledge blogs you enjoy.

The very lovely Lea at Sea and Literary Tiger both nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award. Thank you so much. I really enjoy reading both your blogs.

The rules:
• Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
• Paste the award image on your blog.
• Tell 7 facts about yourself.
• Nominate 15 other blogs that you would like to give the award to. (I’m going to reduce this number.)
Contact the bloggers that you have chosen and let them know about the award.

I’d like to nominate the following blogs for the One Lovely Blog Award because they truly are lovely – word-wise, visually and I just love their writing styles. If you are looking for new blogs to follow, check these blogs out:

1001 Children’s Books 
Bitsnbooks 
Emeline Morin
The Book Jotter

Seven Facts About Me
I must be boring because I’ve run out of 7 things to say about myself. So I thought I would recommend 7 books that I like.

1. Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier is a lovely read. Daphne du Maurier is one of my favourite ‘classic’ authors. Dona, a rich and bored English housewife, is staying at her husband’s estate in Cornwall and discovers that a boatload of French pirates have been using a creek on the property as their hide-out. What’s Dona to do? Fall in love with the French captain, disguise herself as a cabin boy, and go out on a raid with them. But then Dona’s absent husband comes to visit … Also check out Jamaica Inn by the same author.
2. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is an epic fictional saga about the building of a cathedral in 12th century England. It also explores the lives of people during this time – from stone masons to wool merchants. This book encouraged me to go and see some of Europe’s most famous cathedrals.
3. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons is one of my favourite ‘romantic’ reads. This is book one in a trilogy about Tatiana and Alexander, two young Russians who meet in Leningrad during World War Two and fall in love. Alexander is an officer in the Red Army – and it turns out he is also the boyfriend of Tatiana’s sister, Dasha. Cue star-crossed, war-crossed lovers and plenty of drama and angst.
4. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is a classic read set in 19th century England. It explores the great divide between the agricultural south and industrial north. Margaret Hale moves with her parents from the tranquil green south to the northern town of Milton. Her father, a clergyman, has given up his parsonage and turns to teaching workers. One of his students is John Thornton, a Cotton Mill owner and a self-made man. Margaret dislikes him and his uncouth ways on sight. She likes him even less as she starts to make friends among his ‘poor’ factory workers. Amid a backdrop of strikes and owners verses workers, Margaret and John clash over social issues. Little do they know that their fates are soon to change …
5. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is one of my favourite books. Was there ever a more selfish character than Scarlett O’Hara? But for all her faults, she is a character you can’t help but admire. And Rhett Butler is perfect as a scoundrel with a conscience. I also love all the historical detail about the American Civil War. It made it so much easier to study this period of history in high school after reading this book.
6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis was one of my favourite series when I was a kid. I thought it was so cool that there was a fantastical world that could be reached through a wardrobe and I loved Aslan the lion. It was interesting to read this series again as an adult and interpret the books in a whole different way. This series fired my imagination then and still does now.
7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a story that never bores me. I will gladly watch all the different TV and film adaptations. It seems like the classic Cinderella story – a poor, plain governess catches the eye of her employer the very rich, eccentric, Mr Rochester. The two fall in love despite all social barriers. But then comes the big twist in the story. (I wish I had read this for the first time and not known about the twist.)

The Versatile Blogger Award
Thank you to Amanda at amandameetsbook for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger Award. This is my 2nd time accepting this award.

The rules are:
• Thank the person who gave you this award. (Thanks Amanda!)
• Include a link to their blog. (Done)
• Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
• Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
• Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself. (Please see 7 things about me in the post above.)

As I already nominated some great blogs at the start of this post, I will just nominate a handful of blogs that I have recently discovered. They are all a fantastic read.

The nominees for The Versatile Blogger Award are:

The Adventures of Me
The Bookworm Chronicles 
Dating for Dinner