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The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman Trilogy Book 1) by [Simons, Paullina]
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The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 293 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in The Bronze Horseman Trilogy (3 Book Series)

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Length: 912 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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

Review

Praise for 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”
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2669 KB
  • Print Length: 912 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 006185414X
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (17 Mar. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC10Y8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 293 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #58,584 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Wow. Paullina Simons seems to re-invent herself with every book, and each title is not only different from the others, but it puts a distinctive spin on its genre: thriller, mystery, historical love story...
I don't know how to begin to talk about this one. First, it's wonderful, and extremely absorbing as it follows the life of a wife and mother named Larissa who has a life-changing meeting with an interesting man in a supermarket parking lot.
The author manages to avoid all of the clichés that seem to drive this sort of fiction and creates one of her deepest and richest tales. This is certainly one of Paullina's most thoughtful books, and it somehow also manages to be one of the most emotionally powerful. The last section of the book is unforgettable, positively haunting.
This book is not for the faint of heart, but it is absolutely the best book I've read this year. I will be thinking about this one for a long time.
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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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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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By A Customer on 10 Nov. 2000
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Paullina Simons and have been since I first read 'Tully'. Having read all of her books, in my opinion, 'Tully' and the 'Tatiana & Alexander' Trilogy cannot be beaten; her other novels so far have failed to live up to these high standards.

However, when I saw the size of the book, I couldn't wait to get my teeth stuck into this epic tale of love and the making of an agonising decision- I wasn't disappointed. As usual, Paullina's characterisation was spot on- I really felt for the protagonist, Larissa. I was in as much turmoil as her.......until she made her decision! The further into the book I read, the less sympathy I felt for Larissa and the more I hated her selfish nature. She, in a way, swapped attitudes with that of her 20 year old lover, and became a young, self-obsessed, hedonist, caring only for herself.

I agree with other reviews of this book, the final third of the book began to spiral into what I thought was the only way the plot could be resolved- but no! Paullina turned that on its head and left the readers thinking 'Huh?'. Points for thinking outside the box there, but was it realistic? No.

I think any reader of this book, could have still carried sympathy for Larissa, had she behaved differently, written the odd letter, made the odd phonecall, tried to make amends...but she chose not to. The book holds its own and is still an enjoyable read, after all, I read in it a week!

The beginning is a little too much to take in at first. A lot of different characters come into play before you've even digested what's going on. But once you get into Larissa's disappearance, you're hooked. In fact, it's only the last two chapters of the book that could possibly be classed as 'disappointing'.
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