Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Bronze Horseman

by Paullina Simons
Rhonddalyn has been going on about this book on the Forum since at least March, and I finally got around to checking it out and reading it.  Now I see what the fuss was about.
My review:
TBH is set in WWII Russia, mainly Leningrad.  On the day Germany invades Russia, we meet Tatiana, who then meets Alexander, an officer in the Red Army.  The book is their love story, and how their relationship develops through the horrors of war (especially the blockade of Leningrad, and the starvation and deaths that followed) and despite Tatiana's family and Alexander's pretense of a relationship with her older sister Dasha.  Things are further complicated by Alexander's past and the selfish, treacherous Dmitri, who is out to use his leverage on Alexander to get whatever he wants - at first Tatiana, later...well, that's a bit of a spoiler.
Basically, it's all about war and how it affects love and family.  Lots of tangled threads.  Claire, you really ought to read it.  *w*
I won't elaborate on the plot points at length.  This is a Big Book, not by any means "light reading."  Suffice it to say that theirs is one of those great epic, tragic loves.  As you move towards the book's inevitable conclusion, the depth of their love is almost overwhelming.  I got misty-eyed a few times, and then sat in my office at work and had a good cry when I finished it.  It was like The Time-Traveller's Wife in that respect for me.
So, definitely recommended.
And that's why I got a bit of scene all-unplanned yesterday.  As I said in my last post, I don't often method write but this book and (SPOILER) Alexander and Tatiana's separation(s) hit close enough to the emotions I want people to feel when Alec and Elspeth face separation that I let it spill over.  This is the kind of bar I've set myself as far as emotional impact.  Can I clear it?  Sometimes I wonder.  It remains to be seen.
I was still reeling from the end of the book (SPOILER for all that Alexander's fate was somewhat open-ended, Tatiana at least thinks him dead) when I happily discovered via the discussion on Compuserve that there are TWO more sequels.  Tatiana & Alexander and The Summer Garden .  Epic love, indeed.  The third book seems to be hard to find, but I was very pleased to find all three available in hardback through Zooba.com (a great program, regardless) for only $9.95.  Bonus.


Precie said...

Ok, I didn't read your review because my copy is in the mail to me from bookcloseouts.com but I got the general impression that you agree with the hype. :) I can't wait to read it!

Jenny said...

Precie -

Heehee. Well, I tried to keep it as spoiler-free as possible. The two main spoilers are more at the end of my post than in the actual "review."

But yeah, I did enjoy it. Slow start, because of everything going on, but once I got "hooked" it ate my brain until I finished it. Crying. *g*