Book Review: The Bronze Horseman

I read The Bronze Horseman when it was first released and loved it. The series has been on my list for quite a while but I just never got around to picking it back up, until now. I reread The Bronze Horseman and loved it just as much as the first time I read it. I’ve finished the second book and am halfway done with the third (and last) book in the series. Can’t wait to see how it ends!

I usually like to review book series in a single post because I like the sense of continuity. However the post for this series was getting very long, even without my review of the third book. Therefore, I will be posting about each book in this series individually. Stay tuned for book 2 and book 3 over the next week or two.

Warning: This review contains slight spoilers.

Book Review:

The Bronze Horseman

The Tatiana and Alexander Series, Book 1

By Paullina Simons

On the eve of Russia entering World War II, 16-year old Tatiana meets Alexander, a young officer in the Soviet Union’s Red Army. Unbeknown to the two, Tatiana’s sister had been seeing Alexander for two weeks and had already fallen in love with him. As the Soviet Union enters WWII, an odd sort of love-triangle ensues. Tatiana and Alexander are madly in love but Tatiana refuses to break her sister’s heart.

As Leningrad is blockaded, Tatiana and her family struggle to survive on the increasingly smaller rations and diminishing stockpile of food. On top of that, they must survive through German bombings and street violence unleashed by desperate, starving people. Tatiana has it worst of all. Amidst the hazardous trips to the store to get the family rations, she struggles with feelings of betrayal (that she is betraying her sister) and with hiding her feelings during Alexander’s visits to the family.

Half way through the book, the plot changes a bit to focus on Alexander and Tatiana (and no, I won’t tell you why/how) – their love, their life together and their life apart. There are less scenes set during civilian life and more scenes set amidst the Red Army, as Alexander and the Soviet Union continues fighting Germany and Tatiana becomes a nurse in Leningrad. Their love is so intense that you can’t help wanting the novel to end with Alexander and Tatiana living happily ever after.

Recommendation: Loved loved loved this book.  Can’t recommend it enough. I love the historical fiction – the insight into life in the Soviet Union as well as the nation at war – mixed with a passionate romance. The book was well written, and the characters well-developed. I couldn’t put it down.

More than anything, throughout the book, you can feel the characters’s emotion and the passion, something I find rare in many books. It’s one thing to get absorbed in the story, but another to feel the sense of dread in the pit of your stomach or the excitement bubbling over. It’s a huge compliment to Simons as an author that she’s able to make the reader (or at least this reader) feel that way.

If you’ve read The Bronze Horseman, please leave me a comment and let me know what you thought about it. I’d really like to hear if you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Grade: A+

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