Book: The Bronze Horseman
Author: Paulinna Simons
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: 2000
My Rating: 5 stars
The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler’s armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad.
Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Strong and self-confident, yet guarding a mysterious and troubled past, he is drawn to Tatiana—and she to him. Starvation, desperation, and fear soon grip their city during the terrible winter of the merciless German siege. Tatiana and Alexander’s impossible love threatens to tear the Metanova family apart and expose the dangerous secret Alexander so carefully protects—a secret as devastating as the war itself—as the lovers are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.
It is a rare occurrence for me to award a book a 5 star review. And to have two in one month I’m beginning to wonder if something is wrong? Maybe it is just that things are finally looking up and my book selection process has improved drastically!
I know that there are plenty of issues with this book and I know that there are so many people out there who hate this book due to the story and its characters. I’ve read so many negative reviews online and I was seriously in two minds about picking it up but I am so glad that I did. I genuinely think that this might be one my favourite books. Judge me all you want. Honestly, I don’t care. This story has stolen my heart and left me in the worst reading slump ever. (I am probably being over dramatic and I may need to work on this. In the meantime recommendations for my next read are welcome at this time. I need help!)
Getting back on track and discussing the issues with this book a little more. I’ve already said that there are issues, I won’t deny it. Take Tatiana’s attitude and behaviour for example. Throughout the beginning of the book she is extremely irritating. But if I can get over this I’m sure you can too. Especially when you consider she is a 17 year old girl. Who wasn’t an annoying person when they were 17. Everyone goes through that period in their life where they think they know everything. You walk around thinking you’re so grown up. It isn’t until later in life when reality hits and you realise what a little shit you actually were. I can relate and I’m pretty sure most of you can too.
When you combine the romance, the history and all the events that each character goes though in this story it’s going to stick with you for a while. It is a heat-wrenching tale that I love so much. I can’t put into words the emotions I felt while reading it. I’m pretty sure my fiancée took the flack for it when I went into one of my moods. You know the one right? That huff that you get into when your current read starts pissing you off or even worse when it makes you cry. It is like a roller-coaster that just never stops. The worst of it was when I finally thought that it could only get better I crashed straight back down to rock bottom all over again.
I really cannot believe that I had not heard of this book before now. I stumbled upon it while watching Youtube videos. Someone was doing a bookshelf tour (I’m not ashamed to say that I spend a lot of my time watching these videos when I have nothing else to do). I saw the book and thought ‘Oh that’s a nice cover. I want it in my life. I might give that book a go.’ Low and behold I ordered myself a copy.
Yes! I just admitted to buying a book due to it’s cover. How beautiful is this cover though? It is a total shame that this is not the cover that turned up.
I studied the Second World War in school during my GCSE’s but we did not focus on the Germany and Russia aspect of it so I learnt some new things while reading this book. The imagery that Simons creates is amazing. You can feel what the characters are feeling all the way through the story. The hunger. The cold. The loneliness. The heart-ache. Every little thing that Tatiana and Alexander feel, you feel right along with them.
As a side note which probably has no relevance to you I would just like to mention that the historical aspect of the story also prompted discussions between my Dad and I about history. My Dad and I have always been interested in different historical topics and eras. I like classic history, the old history (this will be the incorrect term for it – but it works). My Dad has always enjoyed learning about modern history. So to be able to ask questions and have conversations about topics he is interested in it’s been good. Of course I left out that The Bronze Horseman is primarily a romance book but he was happy to chat away and teach me new things about war around Europe in the early 1940s.
I read (or maybe watched) an interview with Paullina Simons about this book and how she was going to leave it as a standalone novel. Well lets all thank our lucky stars for her husband who persuaded her otherwise. My book buying ban was well and truly forgotten once again after completing this book. As soon as I had put this book down I went in search for the next two instalments of the trilogy. I cannot wait to get tucked into the second book when it arrives.
This book has rekindled my love for historical romance novels and surprisingly it has started me off with a new little obsession. I have not read many books set during this era but I think my Step Mum would be proud of my new interest as they were her favourite. If anyone has any recommendations within this genre I will be happy to take them.
I highly recommend this book. Please do pick it up and give it a chance if you haven’t already. It is so good!