They gave up everything to be together, but love was just the beginning. Italian immigrant Gina, independent, compassionate and strong, desperately wants a family. Boston blue-blood Harry, idealistic and political, wants to create a better world. 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.
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Paullina Simons was born in Leningrad in 1963. As a child she emigrated to Queens, New York, and attended colleges in Long Island. Then she moved to England and attended Essex University, before returning to America. She lives in New York with her husband and children.From Booklist:
The white Floridian mansion seems like a dream to Gina after years of struggling to scrape by. Her relief is palpable at the ease and luxury of life at Bellagrand, given to her husband by his mother, but equally evident is her feeling that this respite cannot last. Set before Simons’ The Bronze Horseman, the book dissects Gina’s fraught marriage at great length. An immigrant from Sicily, Gina finds that her goal of a better life clashes with the consequences of her husband’s communist ideals through the strikes, war, and disease of the early twentieth century. Although the simultaneous rise of the Soviet Union and crackdown on seditious comment in the U.S. are central to the story, other historical references at times seem shoehorned in. The plot, despite some eloquent moments, largely plods through more marital squabbles than one would care to count. The central characters are richly developed, and one gets to know them well over such an expanse of time. Whether that time is well spent will depend on the reader’s investment in the story. --Bridget Thoreson
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