Lazarevo = Long Gone

SPOILER ALERT:  Do NOT read unless you have read 62% of The Summer Garden and are ready to profusely vomit all over your Buster Browns. 

I knew it.  The second I got Christie's email warning, I knew.  That piece of shit scumbag.  And in the back seat of a Ford, no less.  Can you imagine this 6'5" monster with machine gun arms and size lord-knows-what feet, crouching in the back seat of someone's four door sedan,  like a 16 year old - all because some S-L-U-T has 44 Double D's?  What a piece of work. This guy has just shattered every amazing thought I've ever had in my head about him.

And Tania has as well.  She is no less guilty with her long lunches and Friday night overnights with Bradley - she is even MORE guilty if you ask me.  Bradley had her promoted and put on nights - and she LET HIM!!!  That is WORSE than letting some dumb broad put her hands down your pants, which is just thinking with your johnson.  Tania is FEELING with her heart for Bradley - and I cannot even consider condoning it.

I will tell you who is AWESOME in my mind right now.  Paullina Simons.  Does this woman have the greatest handle on human relationships that is humanly possible?  My god - this is all SO REAL!  It happens every day.  You can feel the tension and the "but I"..."no, wait"..."it's not"...right through the book!

My favorite lines today:

"If he'd had a cap, he would have taken it off and held it in his hands."  Killed me. Please, someone, pick me up off the floor now.

"With his thumb he wiped a piece of who knew what off her eyebrow."  Amazing writing.  Puts me right there in between them.

"In the cauldron inside his chest, tenderness swirled around, jumbled and swallowed by hostility." How many times have we felt this way?  Not letting ourselves feel what our hearts are feeling because of pride, jealousy, anger, etc.

Bottom line - I am totally numb and hope I can continue reading (Snicker - who am I kidding?  I'll be sneakin' peeks at my kids' swimming lessons later).  Anthony just sank Alexander's story by telling Tania his truck wasn't there at 6AM and he wasn't in his bed.  I have no idea what she is going to say.  (You GO Anthony!) I almost think she's going to ultimately forgive him because a) she's not been squeaky clean, herself and b) she saw lipstick on his cheek LAST week; she knows he's been up to male antics and hijinks.  I guess I should be more mad at her - but the end, I'm livid and disgusted with him because he doesn't know what the REAL meaning of being a MAN is.  Stand up - fight for what you want - and do it with dignity and integrity.  Ain't no dignity or integrity to be found in the backseat of a Ford sedan. 


  1. Wow, girl... you are so brave. I'm impressed. Good job! Oh, yeah... the whole cap in his hands thing. Killer image, that. Sorry if I spoiled anything.

  2. I just can't wait for you to keep's getting good now. Paullina is amazing, like you, I could picture myself perfectly at the scenes because she writes with such realism. They are both to blame in this situation, imo.

  3. Both to blame for sure! I felt that same anger and found this so hard to reread. But ultimately I don't think Tania has any real feelings for Bradley - she's looking for a place to pour her selflessness into that isn't alexander, you know? But I definitely blame her for the long hours, the nights, and turning a blind eye to bradley :-( this really IS how marriages fall apart and I hated reading it, but she really made you feel a part of their pain!

  4. I've been bracing myself for this moment since you started reading the series. My favourite part of this blog today was when you praised Paullina. Trust me, not all readers thought she was brilliant for this addition to the story. I think you're right, it was completely real. And yes, I blame both of them, but he seriously crossed a line and I felt like he cheated on me. I was so disgusted. There are so many terrible parts to this but you see how lost he is when he does this and he really doesn't even feel much of anything. He's returning to his old self, pre-Tatiana, when he didn't have any love in his life. You can tell that Carmen means absolutely nothing to him, yet he goes down that road anyhow. Sad.

    I completely spoiled myself with this before I started reading this book. So, when I read the book, I ruined my experience because it was all I could think about. I kept thinking, "Who cares about freakin' Saika, when Alexander is going to shatter my image of him with a trashy ho?" I even skipped ahead. It was bad. :(

    Anyhow, imo the best writing of the entire series is coming up shortly. Paullina is brilliant.

    Cari, you still breathing?

  5. Yeah, I'd be surprised if there was even room for any dignity and integrity with some skanky ho's huge boobs taking up damn near the whole backseat. UGH!!!!

    I literally wanted to puke in this section of the book. My image of Alexander was definitely shaken after these events, although I was mad at Tania for her selfishness too. And while they are both to blame for sure, I hold Alexander more responsible.

    To think that 2 people with such a rare, intense, consuming love for one another can be reduced to this upset me. But as you said, this is real life and that's why I reacted the way I did, I think.

  6. Hildy,
    you are right...........he was returning to his old self. I didn't realize it the first time I read it. Then when he mentioned "Sadko" it all became more clear.

    you are VERY perceptive! The first time I read this I wanted to Kick, kill, maime Alexander.......the second time I wanted to kick Tania. I think she is the one who let Dr. Hot-4-her-pants into their house before Shura let that Sleeze in. **At 56% he says, "so nothing erased for Alexander the image of her sitting comfortably across from the comedian doctor. Tatiana's laughing was another girl's disrobing"** Then at 61% she tells him, "There will be no fooling anyone anymore if you open your mouth. Because then I won't be able to come home and look my husband in the face and say you and I are just co-workers." She's totally got feelings for the bugger.

    I know......Barf-o-rama. I felt exactly the same. It was like one of those horror dreams where you try to run but you can't___move__your__legs__. I just couldn't believe what was happening! I'm pretty sure I suffered from PTSD for weeks. Ugghh.

  7. Jennifer J, I know what you mean about reading this for the second time. I wanted to kill him the first time I read it. I thought, "Stop whining about her working and make your own damn dinner!!" :) When I read it the second time, I felt sorry for him. He was really struggling and came to visit her on 3 occasions and she didn't have time for him. She had time for the doctor and not for him. I just don't understand Tatiana. This is the same woman who risked her life and left her own child, to find him, and yet now she won't give up a night shift for him? It doesn't make sense. She obviously didn't appear to have her heart in this marriage the way she used to. It's sad that two people who have such intense love can mess up their own marriage so badly. He honestly thought she didn't care.

    Man, I've thought about this book way too much. LOL. I do need therapy.

  8. I felt sorry for him too. He begged Tatiana not to work and even said they would both live to regret the Friday night graveyard. Now don't get me wrong, I was still so angry at him and sad. I felt sick and couldn't eat all day!!!! I agree with you all... Paullina is brilliant!
    :) Michelle

  9. Hildy,
    LOL!!"Make your own damn dinner!" I nearly swallowed my gum!!

    I think Carol is right, too about the "volunteering". I never thought about that. They totally DON'T need the money she's bringing in. Maybe her work was like a strange virus...... it starts for one reason and continues for another.

    Also, we can't ignore the whole "infertility" nightmare. I recall more than a few "hysterical outbursts" directed at my hubby (and we only had to wait a year....not a bloody decade). Poor hubby......

    yes, I'm still angry at him as well. He COULD have told Tatiana how he felt (instead of snapping at her?). But perhaps she could have taken the whole "lipstick on his cheek" a bit more seriously? I would have expected her to drop-kick the jerk on the spot!

  10. Christie et al - honestly - this was one time I needed the spoiler. If that had snuck up on me I'd have flipped out. I don't know that I could have continued reading the book. I was just so disgusted; still am. I really don't know that I could have forgiven Shura - especially so quickly. And I'd never, ever trust him again. Maybe it's me...I dunno...I just can't understand why he couldn't keep it in his pants. He should have gotten to that "What the hell am I doing" point before he even got in the car with that sleazebag.

    PS - You guys - I keep picturing Carmen as the married woman Patrick Swayze was doing in Dirty Dancing! LOL!! I know that woman was ridiculously too old - but still! Dark hair...big bazooms...married...just reeks of her! LOL!

  11. Well, that makes me feel a little better. And like I said, you are very brave. :)

  12. LOL - I pictured Carmen looking like Cha Cha from Grease.

    Carol..I would have been heartbroken if you had given up on this series after this part. Give it some time. Shura & Tania both made stupid mistakes and will find their way back to each other. You won't be disappointed. And like you said PS is a mastermind writer because it is all so REAL, she puts us through the wringer and that's what makes these books so good.

  13. BRANDY: BWA HA HA HA HA!!! That is the best thing I've heard all day! I was in GREASE in high school...and now I'm going to picture the girl who PLAYED cha cha all day, too!

  14. That is hilarious - was picturing a combo of the chick in Dirty Dancing AND Cha Cha from Grease! LOL

    Other than that, I can barely function right now. I do believe (I believe, I believe, I believe, I BELIEVE!) that T&A will find their way back to each other, but I am just SICK.

    Hildy, I'm taking shallow breaths right now, but only because I just had to put the book down for a few minutes to take a blog break. There were a few parts in this section where I think I was holding my breath.

    Carol, you make a very good point though. Paullina is AMAZING! I wouldn't be SO worked up about all of this if the writing wasn't so phenomonal. Still, right now I'm blue.... :-(

  15. You know what, I totally stumbled across this scene with zero spoilers, etc.... I was SO sad about it but totally felt like it was right around the corner - Paullina set it up really well.
    And now I totally picture Carmen as a dirty-dancing-actress Cha Cha combo! The best dancer at St. Bernadettes - with the worst reputation :-)!

  16. I wish Paullina's other books came in Nookbooks!

  17. When I first saw Bonnie's Cha Cha suggestion, I was thinking she meant of Charo from the Love Boat! I was thinking, "Really? I didn't picture her like that at all!! LOL. " I've got it straight now!

  18. lol Hildy Poor Charo, she doesn't deserve that association!

  19. ;) I know!! She's got big bazooms but she seems really nice! Lol.

  20. Carol,and others, finally caught up to this part.... and I am having trouble feeling much blame rests with Tania. Alexander has treated her pretty much like shit for years... YEARS. Ignoring her, not talking to her, using her when and how he wants... then complains because she's not home when 90+% of the time he's not home then anyway? And she's STILL doing everything she was before? Pffft!

    I know I'm looking at this from my modern perspective, but he can run around, go to bars, work crazy hours, smoke cigarettes non-stop, and she's just supposed to sit home and wait? And be pleasant to boot? In an open girdle? (Interesting google searches, btw!) He loved Tania because of who she was! Because she helped and cared for everybody... and he's such a controlling dick he wants all that to stop and just be for him while he becomes occasionally more dick-like? He's very very very lucky indeed that Tania loves him like she does, and is such a good person... or she could have left him, at best, or blown his head off, at worst.

    Okay... calming down... going to read more... but glad I caught up... finally.

  21. One of my favorite quotes, btw is when Tania tells Alexander "Exemplary is not a favor to me, Alexander. It's a condition."

  22. Clay, I love your love for Tania, and your male POV! I agree with a lot of what you said and felt the same way when I read it the first time. I still feel sick about what he did with Carmen. I love the quote from Tania. He really didn't have to follow any rule but be faithful. Gross. I really didn't like when he pushed her around. Darn, now you're making me dislike him again!

    I definitely searched for the open girdle as well. :)

  23. I am stuck here in this book and can't move past it. I can't forgive Alexander. I have actually lost sleep over it. I have started a Lord John book just to try to read something that won't get so emotionally invested in.

    1. Oops, I meant "something I won't get so emotionally invested in..."
      (She kept him alive with her own blood! I can't get over it the betrayal. All he had to do was spend Friday nights alone. Boo-effin-hoo!)

    2. Girl...don't you worry. You can get through this. It SUCKS with a capital S...but you can do it. I promise. :)

  24. Jen W,
    Oh, we've all been where you are. It was such a tough read. I still don't think I'm over the betrayal and it's been 3 years. I did feel differently when I reread the book. I started to understand him a little bit more. I agree, I thought he was being a big, selfish, baby! The second time through I realized that Tatiana played her part. I think you should keep reading though. The story is not over and as much as I hated it, it was amazing storytelling. Hang in there. It will be okay. There is no way I could have stopped reading at this point, even though I wanted to puke.

  25. I'm reading this book for the fourth time again and stopped just after the argument between Shura and Tatiana following the hospital's Christmas party when Shura says to her one final time: "it's because you've put that place [the hospital - her own recreation of Leningrad] between us and our hope of ever having a baby..."

    And what does Tatiana do the next morning? "...Tatiana got up and flew to work in the red Ford Thunderbird rag-top Alexander bought her so she would love him"

    Now don't get me wrong - in no way do I condone or even forgive Shura for his actions in that back seat, nor some of his actions shortly thereafter. But to Clay's point that Alexander is upset about Tatiana working when he is also working all day, I guess the way I've always understood it is that he is not thrilled with her working yes, but what upsets him and has filled him with rage is that she is working in the hospital. In the ER. He sees through her. Her work is not about filling her time during the day, she is reliving and trying to recreate her Russian life. She is recreating her trauma again and again and therefore they are stuck and unable to truly create a new life for themselves in America.

    I think Paullina writes somewhere earlier that she (and I'm paraphrasing enormously here) sees her mother, father, Dasha, Marina etc in the patients - all the people she couldn't help. It's toxic and therefore it begins to poison their marriage. She can't help herself of course because she is who she is but this is at the heart of their problems. Even PTSD Alexander said before (paraphrasing again) that unlike her, he did not want to recreate their Russian life in America. And that is why they are struggling to have a baby at this point.

    So yes Alexander is a scumbag for ALL of his actions but he is the scumbag she is creating. There is nothing wrong with a woman working, and Lord knows I don't clean and cook and make bread from scratch or half the things Tatiana does for Shura. But what he needed most from her was a new life (that's really all the baby represented) and after he fought his way through the the PTSD with her help, she is in fact, still very much struggling with her own. But she wasn't a soldier with visible scars so her trauma is more subtle and not easy to see or admit to, even to herself and therefore the "wounds" festered in their marriage.

    My word but PS is bloody good!!!