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The Summer Garden - Paullina Simons The past two books establish that nothing comes easy to either of them~ living and loving, they both do things the hard way. A lot of the time, it’s a love that was almost incomprehensible to me, but it’s also the same that had me engrossed. She’d repeatedly declared she’d take anything and everything he had to give… (which she did). He’d repeatedly said he couldn’t live without he… (which he nearly fulfilled that too). That protracted sort-of-epilogue has me grinning until right this moment (because it’s lovely where most of them end up), but prior thereto, both of them read larger than life: him action hero-ish in what he’d do for her; her positively saintly in what she’d put up with. Not for long; not forever though. Because later, much later, they change. It’s the cracks between the two, the tiny doubts, then the bigger mistakes that both make that had me breathing in deep for both of them. But also torn between rooting for them given everything else they’d gone through as well as the effort on both sides to keep things together to find their place AND wanting something different for both given the pain they could both inflict on the other … but again, they never did do things the easy way, did they? Like the first two, this one spans a whole long while too, but the effort one puts into this is totally worth it. You see each moment clearly and you can’t help but feel something, wonder at how strongly they felt, be confused at the way they’d resolve things, chafe at his quiet broodiness, then strain against her acquiescence… until they weren’t any of those things anymore. Here they went from trying (re)capture what was best in their memories to running away from the worst ones. It’s clear to from the beginning when she’s tiptoeing around him and wondering who they are that their new world wasn’t going to be an easy one for them. It truly wasn’t. Going from one place to the next, figuring out where they wanted to be, him working out who he was and her too … had me hooked. Because despite both them proving how they could be heroic, they’re also both prone to making faulty decisions. There’s a lot of back and forth here, a lot of lines drawn, and then crossed. There’s a lot of truths that come out as well. So, I felt for them. It’s only much later when no longer just about the two of them that you see their story being re-lived by someone else. And you see past steps being followed, then similar mistakes and choice made. And I loved it all. Especially, Anthony: from being absolutely dependent on his mother, then becoming his father’s shadow, then their buffer or in between… then growing into his own. His part of it highlights so many things in Tania and her Shura. And it was absolutely lovely, but more often heart breaking… and addicting, like a mini series. Long, and protracted… but not that long after all that last episode’s been shown. 4/5