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The Bronze Horseman [Paperback]

Paullina Simons
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

1 Sep 2008

A magnificent epic of love, war and Russia from the international bestselling author of TULLY and ROAD TO PARADISE

Leningrad 1941: the white nights of summer illuminate a city of fallen grandeur whose palaces and avenues speak of a different age, when Leningrad was known as St Petersburg.

Two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha, share the same bed, living in one room with their brother and parents.

The routine of their hard impoverished life is shattered on 22 June 1941 when Hitler invades Russia. For the Metanov family, for Leningrad and particularly for Tatiana, life will never be the same again. On that fateful day, Tatiana meets a brash young man 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 inexorably to each other, but theirs is a love that could tear Tatiana’s family apart, and at its heart lies a secret that could mean death to anyone who hears it.

Confronted on the one hand by Hitler’s vast war machine, and on the other by a Soviet system determined to crush the human spirit, Tatiana and Alexander are pitted against the very tide of history, at a turning point in the century that made the modern world.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 637 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New Ed edition (1 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006513220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006513223
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Pulling off the passionate love story embedded in a truly epic narrative is a difficult thing to do. Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind remains the blueprint for the genre, while Tolstoy's War and Peace carries off the literary honours with the Pierre/Natasha/André ménage, itself a blueprint for Mitchell's Brett/Scarlett/Ashley musical chairs. Paullina Simons' ambitious The Bronze Horseman weighs in at nearly 700 pages, and it's quickly apparent that the Russian-born author has the measure of this kind of epic romantic saga. The power of her descriptive writing, the vividness of the historical detail and, most of all, the strength of her central characters mark out her novel as a considerable achievement.

Simons was born in Leningrad and emigrated to the US in the 1970s. She sets her love story in the war-torn Leningrad of 1941. Utilising as her setting this phantasmagoric city of decaying splendour, Simons expertly involves the reader in the fate of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha, living a penurious existence with their brother and parents. Their lives are ineluctably changed when Hitler invades Russia in June 1941. On that day, Tatiana meets a confident and attractive young officer, Alexander. As the Russian winter wreaks its havoc and the bombs fall, Alexander and Tatiana struggle with their growing love in the face of death and destruction. Simons' most impressive coup here is to ensure that the troubled love affair at the centre of her narrative is not engulfed by the terrifying conflagration that surrounds her characters. Tatiana in particular is drawn with a truly felicitous grasp of character: idiosyncratic, strong-willed and charismatic, she possesses all the requisite qualities to support a tale such as this.

However, the author isn't content to merely soothe and stir the reader: by using Hitler's war machine on the one hand and the dehumanising Soviet system on the other, she is able to make some powerful statements about the durability of the human spirit, but never at the expense of descriptive passages refulgent with power and beauty:

The train station crumbled like wet paper. Tatiana crawled from the beams and the fire, but there was nowhere for her to go. Through the smoke she could feel bodies around her. Hot and faint, she felt for them with her hands. The gunfire came from right outside the door, but when the lattice beam fell from the ceiling, all sounds faded away, all faded away and there was no more fear. Only regret was left. Regret for Alexander.
--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Praise for Paullina Simons

Tully
‘Pick up this book and prepare to have your emotions wrung so completely you’ll be sobbing your heart out one minute and laughing through your tears the next… Read it and weep – literally’ Company

Tatiana and Alexander
'This has everything a romance glutton could wish for: a bold, talented and dashing hero, a heart-stopping love affair … It also has – thank goodness – a welcome sense of humour and discernible characters rather than ciphers.'
Victoria Moore, Daily Mail

The Bronze Horseman
‘Pulling off the passionate love story embedded in a truly epic narrative is a difficult thing to do. Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind remains the blueprint for the genre, while Tolstoy's War and Peace carries off the literary honours … it's quickly apparent that the Russian-born author Paullina Simons has the measure of this kind of epic romantic saga … She is able to make some powerful statements about the durability of the human spirit, but never at the expense of descriptive passages refulgent with power and beauty’ Barry Forshaw, amazon


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just A Romance 10 April 2006
Format:Paperback
I picked this book up from my local library expecting another run-of-the-mill romance novel- lots of posturing, fainting and possibly some orphans thrown in somewhere. What I got was completely different. The beauty of the novel lies in Simons' gorgeous and heavily layered prose- the city of Leningrad is described in such detail that by the end of the novel I was left longing to visit this historical city. The book touches on some impressively heavy issues- dialogues between Alexander and Tatiana on the meaning of religion, personal identity and communism- particularly touching is his attempt to explain the concept of 'privacy' to his lover when no such word exists in the Russian language.
Simons' manages to insert some history in the novel also; although it never reaches the depths of the dreaded 'historical novel'.
What sets this novel apart from other romances is the strength of the relationship between Alexander and Tatiana- unlike most romance novels they don't spend the entire time double-guessing and testing the other's affection for them. The author does a good job in creating sympathy for all the characters, not just the protagonists but also those that surround them and Tatiana's emotionally damaged family. This is possibly the only romance I have ever read which allowed the reader to empathise with the third member of the love triangle (Tatiana's sister, Dasha)and the 'villains' may not be likeable but they are understandable.
I have heard other readers complaining that the couple are typical 'Mary-Sues' but despite their overwhelmingly good natures they are significantly flawed enough to make for interesting reading.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Beautiful Love Story Ever Written 11 Nov 2007
Format:Paperback
Having just read The Bronze Horseman and the following sequels I am completely emotionally exhausted! Anyone who loves a hero and a heroine will adore this story.
Forget all the cynical reviews re: historical facts! Who cares what year the Germans started using Tiger tanks! The only important facts in this book are the love between Tatiana and Alexander which could be felt through every single page from the moment they met. I have cried endless tears through it all and it became so much a part of my life that my "Alexander" and I will be going to St Petersburg to experience the White Nights of the city and to gaze upon the statue of THE BRONZE HORSEMAN.
Paulina Simons is the most gifted writer I have come across in a while. Having read "Girl in Times Square" three times I decided to buy all of her books that she has written.
Her characters come so vividly to life in every book.

This is certainly NOT the best book ever written, ALL of them are !!!!

But be aware that your life will come to a standstill until you have finished reding them all !!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even BETTER than Gone With he Wind! 30 Sep 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is quite possibly the best book I've ever read. Tatiana and Alexander's names belong right up alongside Rhett and Scarlett, Heathcliff and Cathy, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy! I am still in total agony after having literally lived for this book for the last few days. I've never read any of Paullina Simons' novels before and I'm not sure if I want to, for nothing can be as good as this. The leading characters are depicted so strongly that you can physically feel their pain and their love deep within your own heart. There should be a health warning on this masterpiece. Like many others I desperately need a sequel and don't think I can eat or sleep again until its published!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars no praise high enough 10 Nov 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I cannot praise this book highly enough.I have never read anything which has effected me so deeply and for so long.I found myself in tears for days afterwards.Tatiana and Alexander are like dear friends by the time you reach the end of this epic journey.I have been trying to console myself by making up a sequel in my head, anyone else who has read the book will understand why!It's captivating, heart breaking, breathtaking, deeply moving, soul warming and epic.It will fling you into the pits of despair and help you discover romantic bones you never knew existed, but be warned - you will NOT be able to put it down once you have picked it up.The history surrounding the seige of Leningrad and the rest of the war in the Soviet Union is amazingly detailed - my knowledge of the geography of Russia is much improved for reading this absoutely incredible book.Buy it now !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of immense passion ! 12 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The Bronze Horseman was fantastic.Having read all of Ms Simons previous novels and loving each one of them,"The Bronze Horseman" just showed her real talent, her books have just got better and better! This book not only made me weep but also made me smile and laugh.Paullina Simons is a writer who creates characters you end up loving and want to protect. I felt all the emotions and fears that Alexander and Tatiana felt.I experienced through this book, the effects of the war, the fammine, the relentless noise of the shelling and bombs and the undying love and fear between Alexander and Tatiana, it is a truly gut- wrenching book. It left me wanting more.This book shows Ms Simons true talent and this is a fantastic product of it.
The characters are immensly powerful and I felt the love that is between Alexander and Tatiana but I also felt the sorrow and pain that they both endured.
In the action parts the plot is fast moving but there are also scenes in the book when time seems to stand still. Ms Simons is an amazing writer and somehow manages to make you believe that you actually know Tatiana and Alexander and are with them in Leningrad with the conflict of war surounding their love.I can't wait for her next book, I'm sure it will be as superb and powerful as this one was!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars PAY IT FORWARD!
Certainly a page turner! Great story with tons of history - LOVE IT!!! I've actually already finished Book 2 so need to need cracking with the grand finale :)
Published 28 days ago by Butterfly on a Journey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Absolutely the best book I have read for a very long time. Totally absorbing!
Published 1 month ago by patb070447
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
ok
Published 1 month ago by Chas
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, funny, sad and heartbreaking
This is a fantastic book. I absolutely loved reading about Tatiana and Alexander. They are a great characters and make an amazing couple. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Nicole
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
Brilliant. I could not stop reading! This book has all the ingredients for a true love story. Tragedy, loss and hope
Published 2 months ago by Denise Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightning
beautiful story, but hard to understand why Tatiana, who proved to be made of iron let her family walk all over her. I couldn't put it down. highly recommended.
Published 2 months ago by maureen charlesworth
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book so far this year...
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. Read more
Published 3 months ago by annoushkadomynique
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic!
I read this book many years ago and loved it. There are two other books in the series and they are all amazing reads. Read more
Published 4 months ago by stephen king
5.0 out of 5 stars Must be a best seller.
A fascinating insight into the way of life in Russia combined with a powerful love story. It's all the requirements for a five star rating.
Published 4 months ago by M. Leonard.
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
I enjoyed reading from the first page and if a book doesn't grip me from the beginning I lose interest.I thought the story was good,well written. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lesley
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