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Book Review: The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

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The international bestseller, The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons, reenacts the horrors of the German World War II attack on Russia and the fates of star-crossed lovers.

Take a Russian family of five living in one cramped, narrow room. Add an officer in the Red Army with a secret who seems to play between two devoted sisters. Dose heavily with Hitler’s blistering push into Leningrad. Set it in a cold winter with food rationing, bombings, deprivation and desperation. Sprinkle liberally with steamy scenes of forbidden desire. Add a favored son lost in the war. Setting for a page-turning epic novel? Yes.

Alexander and Tatiana are bonded not only by love, but by fidelity to Russia evidenced by their esteem of Pushkin’s poem, “The Bronze Horseman.” Their love story is engrossing. The addition of a secret in Alexander’s life adds an enticing twist. They dance around the fulfillment of a passion they deny themselves because of Tatiana’s loyalty toward her sister, Dasha, who is in love with Alexander.

Prolific author Simons, born and raised in St. Petersburg, displays a great love and knowledge of her setting. There is immediacy to her writing, and she delivers a rip tide epic that will delight lovers of this ilk. The reader is vividly transported into war torn Russia within twenty pages, and the momentum builds quickly. You will become emotionally connected to the characters and keep turning pages to learn more of their fates.

No novel is without its faults. The dialogue here, although fast paced, is often repetitious. The siege seems to overshadow the development of the main characters a bit. Many descriptions of potatoes, onions and other foodstuffs could have been cut. The love story seems drawn out unnecessarily. All in all The Bronze Horseman is a heartrending, compelling novel for a reader willing to sift through all the detail. For this reader, it was worth it.

Why review a book published in 2001? The Bronze Horseman is part one of a trilogy. Tatiana and Alexander, part two, tells us of the lovers’ struggles as one believes the other dead. One flees to America. The other is on trial for treason. Book three of the series, The Summer Garden: A Love Story, releases June 21, 2011. Don’t miss it.

(Read more about the trilogy here: Paullina Simons at Random House.)

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About Holly Weiss

  • Jean Johanassohn

    I read this novel, enjoyed the love affair but thought it a bit over the top. I will look into The Summer Garden: A Love Story. Thank you to Holly Weiss.

  • Holly’s review certainly makes me want to read the book!
    It sounds great. I am very much interested in World War Two anyway and the story sounds gripping.
    The war is very much remembered in England where I live and across Europe too. How could it not be?
    I love historical books and I enjoy research for my own fiction. We have much to learn from the past and novels like this make us want to learn as much as we can.

  • This is an amaaaazing story and you review is terrific. I love epic novels and this is definitely that kind of story. Romance lovers anywhere will love it, I’m sure. 🙂 Once again, great review!

  • Alma Torgalson

    This is a riveting story .I felt as though I was right there is the old USSR with Hitler on my door step. However, the sex part was dragged out unnecessarily.

  • The reactions to The Bronze Horseman seem to be strong. I suspect Ms. Simons new book, The Summer Garden, A Love Story, will garner much attention. Here is the link to Random House so that you may read about all three books.

  • FanoftheBook

    Hey Alma, are you crazy?
    That sex part was the hottest thing I have read in my entire life, better than any porn video or erotic literature. It’s my favourite thing to get off on, it’s so hot.

  • Carly R.

    My favourite book ever, read it about two years ago and can’t get it off my mind so I’m going to buy it now.