Written by Paullina Simons
Review by Andrea Connell

Paullina Simons has returned in fine form! The love story of Alexander’s parents is continued from Children of Liberty and also serves as the prequel to the stunning The Bronze Horseman, which is set during the Siege of Leningrad. Gina and Harry have married but have also discovered they desire very different things from life: Gina, a family and a home. Harry, the freedom to crusade for his cherished beliefs at the expense of all else. The endurance of their passion and commitment despite this deep chasm eventually leads to tragic and irreversible consequences for them both, and the innocent child Alexander (whose journey continues in The Bronze Horseman) will pay the ultimate price.

Gina and Harry’s journey spans four decades and two continents, beginning in the troubled industrial immigrant town of Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1911; climaxing in tropical South Florida, where the dream of perfection is found and lost in a mansion called Bellagrand; and moving to the stifling blue-blood society of Boston and a dangerous new life in a foreign land.

Bellagrand is an epic journey, a suitable prequel to the monumental love story of Alexander and his 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; a dark tale with piercing rays of golden light.