The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
Book 1 in The Bronze Horseman Trilogy
Paperback, 832 pages
William Morrow Paperbacks
September 8, 2009
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: From my personal collection
“Leningrad 1941: the white nights of summer illuminate a city of fallen grandeur whose beautiful palaces and stately avenues speak of a different age, when Leningrad was known as St Petersburg.
Two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha, share the same bed, living in one room with their brother and parents. It is a hard, impoverished life, yet the Metanovs know many who are not as fortunate as they.
The family routine is shattered on 22 June 1941 when Hitler invades Russia. For the Metanovs, for Leningrad and for Tatiana, life will never be the same again. On the fateful day, Tatiana meets a brash young officer named Alexander.”This was such a wonderful read that I am so glad I was able to squeeze it in this year. I hadn’t read any books set in Russia previously and I really haven’t read very much at all about WWII so this was a great combination on time and place for me. I also don’t typically read a lot of historical romance novels – which I didn’t realize this was until I saw the words “a love story” – but there was so much historical detail and a world brought to vivid life that I didn’t even care…that much.
Russia and particularly Leningrad became characters unto themselves. We walk the streets with Tatiana and Alexander and learn all about the monuments and buildings. You get a vivid picture of what it was like to live in Soviet style apartment type houses. When there are bombings, gun fights, building destructions you feel it all.
In my opinion the characters were well built and grow over time – Tatiana certainly does. I was actually quite frustrated by her in the beginning of the book. It is sort of slow moving and she is so naïve and it is frustrating her feeling of futility – she gives in to everyone too often. I LOVED Alexander. He was just the right amount of hero, dashing, daring, handsome, and brave. He did all the right things and you always cheered for him. On the other hand I could feel my hate for Dimitri grow over time – he is such a worm!
This is certainly a historical romance. While there is great detail of the attack on Leningrad, how people lived, and the battles that ensued – the focus of the story are the relationships between Tatiana and her sister Dasha and Alexander and Dimitri. There is a lot of sexual discussion, somewhat explicit, but it wasn’t like a bodice ripper by any means. There did come a point when I was like, “OK, I get it, could we please just move on with the story”.
For a lengthy book it pulls you right along by emotionally attaching you to the characters and making you care what happens to them as they encounter each new insufferable event. There are times of deep sadness and great passion. The ending of this book I thought was awesome and leads well into Book 2 – Tatiana and Alexander, which I can’t wait to read!
Author Paullina Simons also has written the two follow up books in the series Tatiana & Alexander (Book 2) and The Summer Garden (Book 3) as well as the companion Tatiana’s Table. You can visit Simons' website or blog for additional information about the books. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?
You can also watch the book trailer below (created by a fan).
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