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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book Review: The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons


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 na├»ve 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).
 
 

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).




Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

12 comments:

  1. Great review! I loved this book and you're right, Alexander was a perfect hero. He was one of those characters that I totally fell in love with.

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  2. I've been waiting for your feedback on this one. It's not a usual setting for me, but everyone raves about it. I must get to it....it's been on my tbr forever!

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  3. I have this one and am thinking of using it for the Chunkster Challenge. I like books set in Russia and this one sounds like a winner :)

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  4. This is one of my favourite, favourite books of all time! It set me on a course of reading lots of books with a Russian setting.

    Just as an aside, the Tatiana's Table book is basically impossible to get, so if you do find it at all then snap it up. It is mostly lots of recipes from the trilogy but there are also some small anecdotes that add to what we already know.

    Finally, the next book that Paullina Simons is writing is going to be about Alexander's parents. Can't wait to read their story!

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  5. Great review, Heather. I've heard such wonderful things about this book. I already have it on my shelf so I must make a point to read it in 2012.

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  6. Anne - He was so easy to fall in love with!

    Joanne - If you are familiar with this setting that you should very much enjoy this book!

    Holly - a great choice for the Chunkster challenge. It was the longest book I have read in quite some time.

    Marg - I am really enjoying reading about Russia. I know what you mean about Tatiana's Table being tough to find. I searched on all kinds of websites and eventually found out at an Australian Independent Book Store. It was surprisingly reasonably priced compared to many that I had found! And I love the idea of the upcoming book!

    Melissa - I would try to get to it next year. I'm hoping to get through book 2 in 2012.

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  7. Heather, do you remember which bookstore it was where you found it?

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  8. Excellent review Heather. Saw it was Paullina Simons and I was not surprised. I've heard so many wonderful things about her writing. I've only read a few books set in Russia, but that part of the world amazes me. Thanks for recommendation.

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  9. Marg - it was Abbey's Bookshop.

    Jenny - I have only read this book set in Russia but I am loving it as a setting and want to read more.

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  10. I enjoyed TBH and have the entire series, plus Tatiana's Table, to prove it! I actually found TT on bookcloseouts.com a few years back (just checked--currently not there). The think TBH is the best out of the series, but could have used some editing during the 100 pages of Tatiana and Alexander's coming together.

    I enjoy settings of WWII and Russia, so this would a perfect read for me!

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  11. I can't put into words what this book means to me. It just transcends words and thoughts. If GR had an unlimited rating that would be what I would give it. I feel... So much. All I know is that the love that Tatia and Shura had for each other could be felt with each word.
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Thanks for leaving your comments! I love reading them and try to reply to all!