REVIEW: The Bronze Horseman - Paullina Simons

5/5

Russian-born American writer Paullina Simons is someone I’ve only recently started reading but need to share. I mention that she’s Russian-born because these cultural roots play a large role within the identity of her characters. I read The Bronze Horseman, which is the first book in the Tatiana And Alexander trilogy.

From the cover I was convinced this novel was fantasy – so it was a big surprise to me when I started reading and it turned out to be a historical romance. Admittedly, when buying eBooks I tend to choose more on the book cover than the blurb and in this case I completely skipped over the blurb as the bulk of five-star Amazon reviews convinced me to purchase it. Since the original publication of The Bronze Horseman back in 2008, there’s been a new cover released which is a lot more suited to the genre.

The novel begins in Leningrad, the Soviet Union on June 22nd 1941, when Hitler invades Russia. That’s also the same day seventeen year-old Tatiana meets military man Alexander. As the war begins to rip their lives apart, Tatiana discovers the boy her sister is in love with is Alexander – her Alexander. Their love is impossible and threatened by the darkest depths of history but as every obstacle comes their way they seemingly prevail. This sincere and poignant story latched onto my emotions from the first hint of love and I was hooked. Considering I wouldn’t describe myself as a “sap”, that’s saying something.

The romance was genuine, not cheesy, and the bordering-on-erotic scenes were dealt with well. As the story only truly focuses on two characters I felt that I truly got to know them. This also proves how successful Simons’ writing is as when going into so much character depth it’s easy to make mistakes and create conflicting personalities, something which Simons completely side-stepped. In fact, her level of dedication to the story came across staggeringly clearly. She mapped it well, with cunning twists and believable situations, supported with accurate research and perhaps life experience (of Russian culture – not the war!)

The one off-putting factor was the book’s length. At a whopping 811 pages it’s intimidating to even the most avid of readers. I felt like I really had to commit to this book – there was no point reading it a few pages at a time because I’d get nowhere. I dedicated between two and three hours a day to reading it, meaning the culminating closing chapter was both very exciting and full of relief. Simons left the story in a good place for a sequel and I’m excited to see what the next book Tatiana And Alexander has to offer.

Have you read this series? If not, start here.

Love, Jess

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