Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Book Review: The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
Published September 2009 by Harper Collins
Paperback, 636 pages
Synopsis:
The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler's armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad.
Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Strong and self-confident, yet guarding a mysterious and troubled past, he is drawn to Tatiana—and she to him. Starvation, desperation, and fear soon grip their city during the terrible winter of the merciless German siege. Tatiana and Alexander's impossible love threatens to tear the Metanova family apart and expose the dangerous secret Alexander so carefully protects—a secret as devastating as the war itself—as the lovers are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.
My Thoughts:
My heart of stone has been shattered into a thousand pieces. It feels like a pickaxe has been taken to it and damn, it hurts. The Bronze Horseman is like no other book I’ve read before, so many authors have tried and failed to bring me down but Paullina Simons rose to the challenge and crushed me like a bug. I may never be the same again.

This will probably be one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever written, I can’t seem to put my thoughts coherently into sentences; I’m still reeling from all the emotion! The Bronze Horseman is a tale of suffering, survival and above all what it means to be in love. 

“Love is,” she repeated slowly, looking only at Dasha, “when he is hungry and you feed him. Love is knowing when he is hungry”

Although this isn’t the type of book I’d normally go for I decided to pick it up anyway. I’m going to be honest here and say that it intimidated me. First of all, it’s a chunk of a book and I didn’t think I’d  actually manage to read it all. And secondly, its historical fiction, so to say that it’s out of my comfort zone is an understatement. Historical fiction hasn’t ever been one of my go to genres let alone historical fiction with a boatload of romance! 

Time ceased to exist while reading this, I was so invested in Tatiana and Alexanders story that I simply couldn’t put the book down. Whenever I didn’t have the book to hand my thoughts were with it. I was desperate to find out what horrors Tatia and Shura would have to face next in this hell bent society. I found myself ignoring family and friends so I could fully immerse myself in their story. Who has time to do anything else while reading such an epic book? What is food? What is this thing called the outside world that people rave about? Who needs a social life when there is fiction? Let me tell you now, my ignorance was worth it as this book has taken me on an emotion fuelled journey. 

Paullina Simons writing is not only heart achingly beautiful but also incredibly descriptive. I felt like I had been transported to Russia and was in the midst of it all surrounded by these characters I’d grown to know and love so well. With her writing being so descriptive you can imagine how sexually explicit it got; yeah… this isn’t for younger readers.

"Why did we spend two days fighting when we could have been doing this?" 
"That wasn't fighting, Tatiana. That was foreplay.”

Never have I cried so much while reading a book, my heart feels weak from all the damage its taken and yet I still want more. I know for certain that this will always have a place in my heart and will be a re-read time and time again. I can only hope that I’ve convinced some of you to give it a chance, as I’d love to be able to discuss it further. 

After reading The Bronze Horseman I knew I had to buy the next two instalments in the trilogy. I was meant to be buying holiday clothes but instead have chosen fiction; my order from Amazon should be coming tomorrow. My mum thinks that I’m ridiculously sad for desperately wanting the next two books but she just doesn’t understand. I’m slightly nervous to continue reading, as with the way this one ended I’m not sure I can handle any more heartbreak. I guess we’ll have to wait and see! 

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