[Review] The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

Title: The Bronze Horseman (This link goes to Amazon)
Author: Paullina Simons
Page: 637 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Subject: World War II (1939 - 1945), Leningrad (Russia), St. Petersburg (Russia) - Siege (1941 - 1944), Love Stories, Sisters
First Published: 2000



LENINGRAD 1941. Two sister, Tatiana and Dasha, share the same bed living in one room with their brother and parents. It is a hard, impoverished life, yet the Metanovs know many who are not as fortunate as they.
The family routine is shattered on 22 June 1941 when Hitler invades Russia. For the Metanovs, for Leningrad and for Tatiana, life will never be the same again. On that fateful day, Tatiana meets a brash young officer named Alexander.
The family suffers as Hitler’s army advances on Leningrad, and the Russian winter closes in. With bombs falling and the city under siege, Tatiana and Alexander are drawn to each other in an impossible love. It is a love that could tear Tatiana’s family apart, a love that carries a secret that could mean death for anyone who hears it.

- Synopsis from book cover

The Bronze Horseman is a portrayal of the horrors of World War II in Russia through the eyes of the Metanov family and especially for the star-crossed lovers, Tatiana Metanov and Alexander Belov. They met on the very same day of Hitler’s invasion into Russia: seventeen year old Tatiana met Alexander, a soldier while waiting for a bus. And thus a bond was formed between them so strong no war and hardship could ever break.

This is a great love story much similar to that of Romeo and Juliet, minus the tragic ending. The ending is not really an ending because there’s a sequel, which I’m looking forward to reading. But all the same, Tatiana and Alexander’s love story is made unrequited not only by the war—through distance, hunger, fear and loss—but also by a certain family member.

The Bronze Horseman is an important theme in the novel, which signifies two things: one, it is a title of a poem by fellow Russian Alexander Pushkin, a book given by Alexander to Tatiana, which she holds very dear; and two, of the statue of Peter the Great whose name influenced by Pushkin’s poem. The statue is a symbol to Leningrad in which a legend states that while The Bronze Horseman stands, the city is unconquerable by enemies. It signifies Russia’s resistance to Hitler’s invasion during The Siege of Leningrad in which the statue was not taken down but covered with sandbags and wooden shelter—and it survived, invincible through the 900 days of bombing.

And thus, by that symbolization of The Bronze Horseman the reader will be left by a certain faith that Tatiana and Alexander’s love will triumph in the end.

My only complaint was that this book was very long and at some point tend to be too wordy and lingered on a certain scene for too long.

** The Bronze Horseman will be made into a movie in 2012!! (Source: IMDb)

Comments

Tiny Library said…
I love Russian history, so would probably enjoy this one. It's a shame it was a bit wordy, that can ruin an otherwise good book.
I absolutely LOVED this book. I have read the second one and am anxiously awaiting the 3rd which comes out this month. Even though its long, I was so enamored with Tatiana & Alexander that I read it in less than 24 hours. Glad you enjoyed it!