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Monday, April 14, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Bellagrand by Paullina Simons

Happy Monday everyone!
Welcome back to another week of bookish fun here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  

Today, we're hosting the final stop along the tour for a Fiction novel that sheds light on the lives of the characters in a previously released work.  Seeing as how I've not read this other (possible) tome, I speak from experience in saying that it can be read as a stand alone title...though a hefty one at that.  Ready to meet today's featured title?  Turn the spotlight on and get ready to greet today's star....

William Morrow Paperbacks

About the book...
Love was just the beginning of their journey
Gina and Harry gave up everything to be together. But they both want different things—from their marriage, from life, from each other . . . and from the shifting world around them.
Gina, independent, compassionate, and strong, desperately wants a family. Harry, idealistic and fiercely political, wants to create a better world, a better country. At a crossroads and at cross-purposes, they pursue their opposing dreams at great cost to themselves and those near to them. Through years of passion and turmoil 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, from extreme poverty to great wealth, 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.

For those that might have seen my GoodReads updates or tweets, you already have some idea of my relationship with this book.  To not put too precise a point on it, it was volatile.  A combination of factors were working against it and myself becoming best friends, from time constraints to what I was in the mood for, the length of the novel as well as the subject.  It all combined into a spicy arabica sauce that would not let go.  To join myself with this literary world, I even went as far as listening to my classical mix Pandora station for it's soothing nature, it's aid in concentration, and it's ability to block out everything and yet nothing.  THAT'S how desperate I was to climb in this world and let the pages fan me with their cool breeze as they turned.  THAT as it turns out....did not happen.  Now before you go making any judgments about your own interest, let us establish my own.  What's that?  Oh, you think you KNOW where I'm going with this?  How much you wanna bet?  *raises eyebrow*

If asked for a quick answer, I DID enjoy my time in Bellagrand and beyond.  Gina (besides sharing my name
and heritage) is an amazing character.  Whatever she takes on, she goes in with all her heart and once given, taking it away is not an option.  I understand Sicilian loyalty as well as the next hot blooded Italian, but in this case, it didn't serve HER well.  The one she hooked her wagon to was not destined for the stars or even the rainbow that appears just before a storm.  His was the down turned vehicle of her destruction though she never truly allowed herself to see it coming.  It takes her all, her everything just to stay the path she's chosen and once the family begins to grow, that bond is ever stronger...too bad it really only grows one sided.  I respect her for her choices.  I respect her for the help she sought even when chastised for doing it.  I even understand why she did the things she did and let her romantic ideals hide the true nature of the one she "loved".  What I don't agree with is when she had an out, why in heaven's name she didn't face the truth and accept His redirection.  What I don't understand is how despite Esther's improper method of trying to keep her and her family here in America when things are truly spinning beyond control, why she doesn't do the strong thing once again.  I mean, I suppose she does, but not in the same sense nor frame of mind as she once did.  It was heartbreaking to watch even as we celebrated what we thought to be corners turned.  Now, let's view the men of the story....

Harry is.....Harry is....well, I'm trying to find words that not involve me changing the rating on this blog.  He is infuriating to say the least.  Time and time again he fails, falling flat on his face only to have those that love him too much and in unrequited amounts, pull him out of the pits of despair he should be wallowing in.  The sad part?  He never truly makes amends.  You get the feeling he wants to and then whoop!  The rug is pulled right out from under you.  It's astonishing really how someone can be THAT selfish.  On the other end of the spectrum is Ben, the man child that had a crush on Gina in her younger days and upon his return many years later still carries a flame as big as the Olympic torch.  To see these two together, to experience their exuberance in doing even the smallest of things with each other though not FOR each other, it was breath taking.  One could only hope to find a love as pure, if ill timed, once in their lives and recognize it for the treasure it is.  Gina, she saw it but well, let's just say that a happy ending was not in her cards at this point of her life, nor in her later years.  *sigh*  With one choice a life can be made or broken, and with the choosing between these two very different souls, Gina signed her own papers of despair years before the depth of that agreement would be seen.  Now, that's enough of the leading lads, what about everyone else?

There's Esther, Harry's sister, who couldn't be more different than her brother if she actually tried.  Though not the easiest soul to know, she has a heart that beats strong for her family.  Salvo, Gina's brother, though not a beacon of light for the lost as he is constantly seeking his next path, has a heart of gold.  Grant it, he likes to share it with many (*ahem*) but he wouldn't abandon his family for anything.  Then there's Fernando and Rose, Alice and Herman, so many names to names, so many life paths crissed and crossed both in times of celebration and utter despair...and that's merely the human characters within.  The locales play just as big a role at times as those within them....Bellagrand being one of the biggest.  How Harry could feel anything but peaceful, fulfilled and content is beyond me.  Would staying have been the best choice?  Perhaps not, but it would have been better than what awaited them down the road.

Author Paullina Simons
In retrospect, I can see it was a case of bad timing, both that which I had available and the adventure it provided not being what my imagination was needing at the time.  Do I regret my turn through the pages?  Hardly!  Did I glean anything from my experience?  Oh, many things,but in regards to this book specifically, it would be without love is nothing, but love without life is just as extinguishing to the soul.  One must have balance, and everyone's is found in their own their own time; but found it must be if happiness in any form is to survive.  Gina knew this but was late in acknowledging it directly in her own life leading to an end that I'll let you discover on your own.  Harry, Harry I'm afraid learned this lesson as well but much too late for it to do anyone any good.  The end is grim, but it is an end to remember.

Recommended read for Fiction and Historical Fiction fans in their late teens and beyond; the story carries much weight, happiness, and sorrow, so much so that a younger audience may not appreciate all that it has it offer.  My BIGGEST word of advice is to read this one not in a sprint but bit by bit, chapter by chapter, page by page.  Allow it the proper time to breathe like fine wine.  It needs time to become acquainted with you as you will need to do the same with it.

Special thanks to Trish at TLC Book Tours for the chance to participate in this tour.  (THANKS!)  For this tour as well as those forthcoming, be sure to stop by their official site.  To discover more about the author and her other works, check out her author website, Facebook page, or follow along on Twitter.  This book was released just last month via William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf near you.
more information on

Until next time....happy reading!


Tracy Terry said...

Thank you for such an honest review and good advice.

trish said...

I love books that remind me of truths like this: "life without love is nothing, but love without life is just as extinguishing to the soul."

Thanks so much for being on the tour!

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