I recently finished reading The Bronze Horseman, the first in a trilogy, by Paullina Simons for either the 3rd or 4th time (can’t exactly remember how many times I have read this book). As you can tell, it is one of my top favourite reads.
This book really boils down to being a love story set during World War II in Leningrad, Russia. The day that Germany invades Russia, the main protagonist, Tatiana Metanov meets Alexander, an officer with the Russian army and while it may not have been love at first sight, there was definitely a strong connection between the two characters. Tatiana was sent by her parents to buy as much food as she possibly could that day with the expectation that times would get difficult and food hard to find. Tatiana, however, was quite young and a bit of a day dreamer and by the time she actually got around to getting to her task, all the food was gone. Alexander literally saves her bacon by taking her to the army commissary and getting food for her and her family. He walks her home that day as he is reluctant to let her go and wanted to spend more time with her. When they walk into her parent’s apartment, however, her older sister, Dasha, looks at Alexander and asks him why he is there. It turns out Alexander is Dasha’s boyfriend and so the story begins.
Tatiana is determined that Dasha not be hurt by her and Alexander and so they try not to act upon their attraction and do everything they can to make it appear that they have no feelings for each other. In the meantime, they inevitably fall in love.
Tatiana is a character that reminds me very much of Katie Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With The Wind. Many people over the years have disparaged Scarlett calling her self-centered and foolish. While I agree that she did appear to be so before civil war broke out, she turned out to be the strongest character in the whole book. If it wasn’t for her, her family would have lost everything. Her sisters, her father and Ashley (who she thought was the love of her life) turned out to be the weakest of them all. Her sisters were lazy and would not help her. While her sisters sat in the house fanning themselves in the heat, Scarlett was in the fields planting and then picking the cotton. They would have probably all starved if it wasn’t for Scarlett.
I see some of that same strength in Tatiana. She was the one that would go out to find food every day, and then would go to work for 12 or 14 hours and then would come home and have to listen to her parents and Dasha complain about everything while Tatiana would just quietly go about doing what needed to be done every day.
I do realize that there are some issues with this love story in that at times Alexander does seem to be a bit over bearing and controlling, however, I can overlook some of these issues as the story sweeps me away each time with the detailed descriptions of what life was like during the blockade of Lengingrad.
Out of the trilogy, The Bronze Horseman is my favorite and I once again give it 5 stars on my Goodreads rating. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy a slow burn love story.