Title: The Bronze Horseman
Author: Paullina Simmons
Genre: Historical Romance
Series info: Book #1 of The Bronze Horseman series
This book found its way into my TBR* because of Instagram. I followed @sissireads for romance recommendations and beautiful pictures and quickly caught wind of her UNDYING LOVE for this series. As far as I remember, she owns 75 or so editions of this book!
If a book is SO LOVED, it definitely deserves a chance to be read. Although it’s been in my TBR for a year, I picked it up only now with the added incentive through reading challenges.
This book fits into 2 of my challenges: #StartOnYourShelfathon and 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge. Click here to know more about them.
*To Be Read list
The book takes place in war-torn Leningrad, Soviet Union. Tatiana, a young 17 year old girl finds the love of her life by chance while sitting on a bench and eating ice cream. Alexander Belov, a handsome soldier, is also besotted with her.
But love isn’t that simple when you’re in Soviet Union and Hitler is coming after your country. And it becomes even more complicated because Tatiana’s sister is in love with the same man.
This book took me a LONG time to read. I used to read a lot back in school but don’t have the time now. It was only after my internship was paused and we went into precautionary quarantine that I got the time to really read this.
The Bronze Horseman is a romance at the core, but it also has a ton of history and politics.
The politics part is brought in because Alexander and Tatiana have many conversations talking about their country, their leaders and their situations. That was pretty interesting to read because I got to know a lot more.
I also really liked the amount of history brought in. It was VERY detailed in the book, and the author spent time on describing small losses and victories as well.
My history lessons in school barely mentioned Russia and, in fact, any other countries in focus other than India. So reading books like this one teaches a ton.
Through Tatiana and her family, we get a very detailed look into the lives of civilians during the war. At some point, it was less romance and more war-focused.
It comes through that the author cares a lot about getting the history right and has used this book to teach readers something about the place she’s from.
As for the romance.. I’m conflicted. I liked the romance sometimes, but the story kept going in circles. The love triangle between Alexander, Tatiana, and Tatiana’s sister Dasha was dragged on way too long.
It might be because I’m a nerd but I preferred the small details of war and history than the romance.
Another thing I noticed was that Alexander is problematic. He is portrayed to be this alpha-male who cares for Tatiana a lot. But multiple times his actions were not healthy. The more times I noticed it, the less I liked him.
Alexander has a temper, is unyielding when he wants something, is persuasive, and is controlling. He is also a hero. The perfect soldier who succeeds in every mission he sets out for.
To contrast, Tatiana is an innocent girl who is believed to be young and fragile but is actually a strong woman in will. She is stubborn, will put herself through hell for people she cares about, and has a habit of giving things away to the less fortunate.
Their dynamic is one I’ve seen many times in romance books. They need each other to balance out. Alexander is there to protect her and is the only person who actually prioritizes her, and she is the only one who sees the real him.
The highlight of the book is the plot overall. This is a huge book and it has the story to justify it. It contains A TON, and it’s worthy of 900 pages. The story from start to finish is quite captivating.
I was actually dreading reading the next book after this because book 2 is another 500 pages. But surprisingly, as I finished this book, I couldn’t wait to get to the next one. The story is good and keeps you interested. I want to know how it all ends.
I actually quite liked the book, despite not liking the romance. I was in it for the history and information. But, that DID get old after a while and I basically skimmed the last bits of the book.
This is not a book to just pick up, because you need time and patience for it.
Would recommend: if you’re into history and have the time and patience for this book.
Would not recommend: if you don’t like long books, details, and problematic heroes. Also if repetition really annoys you.
I rate this book..