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.
You want me review this??? Are you kidding me? How the hell do you review a book like The Bronze Horseman?!
I read this book until 2.45am last night. I said to myself, ‘I’ll read until I finish this book and then I’ll sleep.’
So I read until I finished. And I cried. And I tossed and turned and I couldn’t help starting book two! And I read that until 4.30am!
And then I dreamt about Alexander and Tatiana. And then I woke up at 7am (On a Sunday!!) and couldn’t sleep, so I read again. And now it’s 11am and I’ve pried myself away from my Kindle to write you this review.
Sorry that that was long winded, but I just can’t explain, any other way, how truly and wholly consuming these books are!
“I found my true love on Ulita Saltykov-Shchedrin, while I sat on a bench eating ice cream.”
“You didn’t find me. You weren’t even looking for me. I found you.”
“Alexander, we’re you …. looking for me?”
“All my life.”
I saw these books on Aestas Book Blog. She is one of my ‘go to’s… I trust her judgement, I love her blog and she raves about these books. I remained sceptical for a time and then mentioned on Facebook that I might give them a try… so many people encouraged me and told me I wouldn’t regret it.
I can see why people are hesitant when it comes to this series. Lets see…
1. It’s a historical romance and the large majority of my blog followers, myself included, are contemporary romance fans.
2. The first books is 900 pages long!!! That is a marathon read.
3. If you’ve read the reviews, you’ll see that these are heart wrenching, no-holds-barred, grief laden books.
I want you to know that should something happen to me, don’t worry about my body. My soul isn’t going to return to it, nor to God. It’s flying straight to you, where it knows it can find you, in Lazarevo. I want to be neither with kings no heroes, but with the queen of Lake Ilmen.
So, it is only natural to be cautious. With your heart and with your One Clicks. Well, let me say this… I strongly suggest your throw caution to the wind, take a big deep breath and launch yourself in, head first! I could feel, at about 50% in, that these books were going to have a profound affect on me long after I turned the final page.
How to go about explaining The Bronze Horseman? No review will begin to prepare you for this book.
“Oh Alexander,” she said, “what do you want from me…”
“Everything!” he whispered fiercely.
It is set in 1940’s Russia and follows a whole host of characters through the turmoil of war. At the centre of the story, are Alexander and Tatiana, and a love story like no other.
“We can’t forget that I owe you my life.” She gazed at him. “We can’t forget that I belong to you.”
“I like that sound of that,” Alexander said, hugging her tighter.
This book will change the way I view every other book. I just know it. What previously struck me as ‘hardships’ that characters endured, now seem like petty, unimportant, childplay. The characters in TBH go through more devastation than you can possibly imagine. War, death, starvation, illness, injury, separation, loneliness, poverty… and that is just the beginning.
“All great things worth having require great sacrifice worth giving.”
How am I going to take characters seriously, from now on, when they have a silly misunderstanding and throw away a perfectly good relationship… when Alexander and Tatiana showed such strength against the odds that they faced?
“Tatiana, I love you. Do you hear me? I love you like I’ve never loved anyone in my whole life. Now, get up. For me, Tatia. For me, please get up and go take care of your sister. Go on. And I’ll take care of you.” His lips kissed her cheek.
Yes, this book is long. But you will devour every single word, on every single page. And then you will want more! I promise you. If I am to make one small complaint, and it isn’t really a complaint, it would be that it took me a little while to feel so wholly immersed in this book. There is a lot of scene setting and explanation to be done, and the story could not be told without this. And I found myself skimming some of that. But, it takes nothing away from the book whatsoever and is barely even worth a mention. The only reason I’ve touched upon it is because I wouldn’t want anyone throwing the towel in too early on and missing out on this fantastic book.
So, the other issue. It’s a historic romance. Truly, historic novels have never ever interested me. But I completely forgot I was reading about the 1940s! It is easy to understand and the dialogue is modern and relateable. Please, please do not let this deter you.
“Shura…are you…in love with me?”
“Turn to me,” Alexander said.
She turned. “Tatia, I worship you. I’m crazy in love with you. I want you to marry me.”
Let’s talk about Alexander. Or ‘Shura’. Oh my goodness. Ladies, a new bar has been set for all alpha males. And Shura has set it, high up, out of reach of most men. He is just perfect. Completely and utterly perfect. He is everything a man should be. Strong, protective, smart, brave beyond belief, loyal, dignified, proud and he loves fiercely.
“What a prison you have set up for me with your first love.”
She put her arms tighter around him and said teasingly, “Oh, so the first love part you believe, but the first kiss part you have a problem with? What kind of girl do you think I am?”
“The nicest girl,” he whispered.
I love to cast my books and I needed someone special for Alexander. I found Marco Dapper, and his many faces just seemed to fit. The unkempt, stubbly, smoking Shura. The clean shaven, war ready, hero. The smiling, the brooding… I felt that he fit. I hope all you TBH fans feel that he does your soldier justice.
“He is just protective over me-”
“Not protective, Tania. Consumed.”
So, then there is the ending… I can’t give much away without spoilers. But oh my goodness. I was watching the marker at the bottom, thinking ‘Oh God, they don’t have much time. They need a miracle…’
But no… this is a cliffhanger like I’ve never experienced. Devoid of hope or expectation.
You want to know what I thought of in that boat?
I thought, I have to stay alive. Tatiasha will never forgive me.
The only thing that prevented me from crawling into a ball and sobbing my heart out was the fact the next book is called Tatiana and Alexander… So I can only assume there is more to this story, that right now, seems like a lost cause.
“You are meant for great things,” she replied. “But better keep yourself alive for me, soldier, because I can’t continue to live without you.” That’s what she said, looking up into his face, her hands on his beating heart.
He bent down and kissed her freckles. “You can’t continue? My cartwheeling queen of Lake Ilmen?” Smiling, he shook his head. “You will find a way to live without me. You will find a way to live for both of us,” Alexander said to Tatiana as the swelling of Kama River flowed from the Ural Mountains through a pine village named Lazarevo, once when they were in love, and young.
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