Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

Title: The Bronze Horseman
Series: The Bronze Horseman #1
Author: Paullina Simons
Publisher: William Morrow

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.

“We've had a minute, Tatiana thought. We had our minutes on the bus. And at Kirov. We had our minutes in Lugo. And in the Summer Garden. Breathless minutes, we had. What we want, she thought, keeping herself from welling up, is eternity.” 

I hate it when this happens. I've looked forward to reading The Bronze Horseman for so long. My book friend sent it to me one Christmas (it's autographed!) and it has been on my shelf ever since. I kept on thinking, I'm going to read it soon. Well, I finally did it and I can only say that for the most part, I wanted to throw the book against the wall.

The setting is WWII. Tatiana lives in the Soviet Union, more specifically, Leningrad. She lives with her parents, grandparents and her siblings and they share a small area in one building. Tatiana shares one room with her sister Dasha. One day, Dasha comes home full of happiness, she has met a soldier and she knows he's the one. Later on, the news is grave. The Germans are invading Russia. Tatiana is given money to purchase food but instead, she decides to read (she's alone at home while everyone else is working). Much later, she leaves her home but instead of going directly to buy food, she decides to eat an ice cream.  Here is where she meets a soldier by the name of Alexander. He's tall and handsome with a beautiful smile. When they strike up a conversation, Tatiana can't help but feel something for this stranger. She has never been in love and has never felt this way before towards the opposite sex. Much later, Tatiana realizes there's no food left anywhere but Alexander saves the day by helping her buy food from where the soldiers have their choice. Then, he offers to help her carry it home with the help of another soldier, by the name of Dimitri. This is where Tatiana realizes her feelings for this man can't go any further. You see, the soldier is the man Dasha has fallen for.

From this, you get the idea. Nothing is easy for this couple. Tatiana doesn't want to hurt her sister's feelings so sacrificing her own happiness is a given. Alexander wants Tatiana but he has no problems staying with Dasha while pursuing Tatiana behind her back and this is the main reason why Alexander rubbed me the wrong way. He couldn't stay away from the sisters. It nagged me that he was having sex with Dasha or left to be with Dasha alone just in the next room while Tatiana was fighting Dimitri's advances day after day.

By the end of the book, I had no sympathy for Alexander. He was nothing but abusive. He was dominating, possessive (he was jealous of little old ladies who took some of Tatiana's time), controlling, violent (hitting the wall next to Tatiana's face) and selfish.  And let's not forget, he had no qualms about sleeping with Dasha while making Tatiana miserable.

Then, there's Tatiana who deserves the Nobel prize for the best doormat. She let her family, Dimitri, Alexander and complete strangers abuse her. She had the martyr thing down. She was able to sacrifice everything including food (in a starving Russia) without thinking it twice.

The only thing that kept me reading was the setting. I did enjoy getting the perspective from someone from the Soviet Union during the German invasion.

Cliffhanger: No

2/5 Fangs

No comments:

Post a Comment