Ciska's Book Chest

I am an eclectic reader with preferences for crime/thriller/suspense, historical fiction, literature and contemporary fiction. For more books and other bookish posts visit my blog at Ciska's Book Chest

The Bronze Horseman

The Bronze Horseman - Paullina Simons The authorBorn in Leningrad in 1963, Paullina Simons always dreamt of becoming a writer. At age 10 she and her family migrated to the United States. She has graduated from the Kansas University with a degree in political science. Paullina Simons has written 8 novels and a cookbook until now and is residing in the USA with her husband and 4 children. For more information in Paullina Simons visit her website at http://www.paullinasimons.com.The synopsisLeningrad 1941: the white nights of summer illuminate a city of fallen grandeur whose beautiful palaces and stately 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. It is a hard, impoverished life, yet the Metanovs know many who are not as fortunate as they.The family routine is shattered on 22 June 1941 when Hitler invades Russia. For the Metanovs, for Leningrad and for Tatiana, life will never be the same again. On the fateful day, Tatiana meets a brash young officer named Alexander.Tatiana and her family suffer 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 to each other in an impossible love. It is a love that could tear Tatiana’s family apart, a love that carries a secret that could mean death for anyone who hears it.Confronted on the one hand by Hitler’s unstoppable 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. (Source: http://paullinasimons.com/books/the-bronze-horseman/)The reviewMy mind is having a lot of thoughts on this book and cannot make any normal sentence out of this. Blurbs are flowing trough my head so I will just write them down here and see where the rest of the review takes me.“Was that really a 850 + pages book I just read in 3 days”“I want to kill that man”“How can she be so blind”“Lets kiss already”“Yay, Yay, Yay but I am not sure that he is worth it”“They have to make it”There are some others floating still there but they might give away to much.The characters in this book are all set in place very quickly. The author does not need many words to make clear what she wants the character to be and what they need to make you feel. The only character I really had a personal problem with was Alexander. Though a hero on one site he had some things in his character that made him unlikeable too. I think the author took a big chance with portraying him like that it would have made for a completely different experience I guess when you do not like the man that is supposed to be the hero. The author does manage to keep his behavior within acceptable range and let the doubt be in his favor. It does leave me with some mixed feelings though. The whole interaction between characters makes it easy to cheer for Alexander and Tatiana to get their chance in happiness and is so well written you really want to strangle some of the other characters by yourself to help them. I very much enjoyed the setting. It is clear the author has extensive knowledge of the city of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) and also of the situation in that city during WWII. At one point there is a lot of movement around the city when the German army is still on its way to Leningrad and I managed to find the places on the Google earth map seeing exactly where they where and how far they still had to go. It did a lot for the story that this was so well described.There where some points that I had problems with the storyline. Mostly they had to do with Tatiana who seemed to be totally indifferent and making choices which seemed unrealistic to me. Those choices where important for the story though and it was a story I enjoyed very much. As said this book has over 850 pages (depending on your version) but it did not read like a big book. I was pulled in the story and before I knew it another 300 pages where gone. I went to look for the other books in this series immediately and now just need time to read them too. Still I cannot give this book its 5th star too, despite my enthusiasm about it there where some minor issues in the style that bugged me. One of them being little hiccups in the story where the story seems to die a bit and the way it continued seemed forced. In a book with such a speed and easy flow those situations are usually very clear. Further as said before I think the author took a big risk with the hero and I am still not sure what to do with him which is a bit unsatisfying. I guess I have to get back to that after reading the other books in this series.. that is if Alexander survives the first.