Friday, March 8, 2013

Review: "Children of Liberty" by Paulina Simons

From Goodreads:  At the turn of the century and the dawning of the modern world, Gina from Belpasso comes to Boston’s Freedom Docks to find a new and better life, and meets Harry Barrington, who is searching for his.

The fates of the Barringtons and Attavianos become entwined, on a collision course between the old and new, between what is expected and what is desired, what is chosen and what is bestowed, what is given and what is taken away.

As America races headlong into the future, much will be lost and much will be gained for Gina and Harry, whose ill-fated love story will break your heart.

My Thoughts:  I was so excited for this book to come out.  I loved The Bronze Horseman trilogy so I figured a prequel to it was a must read for me.  Unfortunately, I think I got my hopes up a little too high.  While I enjoyed the story, it was not as good as I expected it to be.  If you are familiar with The Bronze Horseman, the story features Alexander Belov's parents, Gina and Harry, and follows them over several years as they fall in love and deal with the complexities caused by class differences and the politics of the era.  It does not discuss much beyond the early years of the relationship so if you are hoping to see them move to Russia, have Alexander, etc., you won't find it in this book.

The story was a little slow to start and took me a while to get into.  I liked Gina's character in the beginning of the story:  she was fiery, headstrong, intelligent and ambitious.  However, as the book continues she seemed to slip into immaturity and I didn't like her as much.  Harry was a strange character too.  I liked how intelligent he was but he really needed a swift kick in the butt.  I understand not knowing what you want to be when you grow up but he was so lost; even though he tried to do the opposite of what his father wanted, he still unwittingly went along with a lot of social protocols that he didn't believe in.  I just wanted him to man up a little, especially knowing that he was Alexander's father.  Actually, I was kind of surprised that both of these people were supposed to grow up to be Alexander's parents because neither one of them was like him at all.  

Despite how I feel about the characters, I do think that the story was beautifully written as is the usual with Simons' works.  She really brought early 20th century Boston to life and her descriptions of the city were some of my favorite parts of the book.  I also found the political discussions of socialism, anarchism, etc. to be incredibly fascinating and some of my more favorite parts of the story.  The story ended very abruptly leaving room for a sequel.  I am hoping that the next book will be more about Gina and Harry's conversion to Socialism and their move to Russia.  While I didn't love this book, it wasn't a bad story and I am hopeful that the next book will be better.  3 stars.


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