Author: Paullina Simons
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Leningrad 1941. 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 that fateful day, Tatiana meets a brash young officer named Alexander.
With bombs falling and the city under seige, Tatiana and Alexander are drawn to each other in an impoosible 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 one hand by Hitler’s unstoppable war machine and on the other by a Soviet system determined to crush 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.
I read this book for The Royal Readers, a book club I moderate with a group of lovely ladies (instagram and goodreads), as it was our February BOTM. I have so many things to say about this book that I don’t even know where to begin. I suppose I should at least start by saying that I did not enjoy this book and the more I think about it, the more I dislike it. This is probably the first book that I’ve ever wanted to put down and never pick back up. I’m not one to give up on a book even if I’m not enjoying it, but I got extremely close to doing so with this book. Instead though, I kept telling myself it was going to get better, that it had to get better. And so it went a little something like this…
100 pages: Meh, I’m only 100 pages in it’s going to get better from here.
200 pages: Not much has happened yet but I’m sure it will soon.
300 pages: Well I’m half way through surely it’s going to get good now.
400 pages: Still waiting for something to happen.
500 pages: Well I’ve only got 100 pages to go I may as well finish it.
637 pages: THANK GOD IT’S OVER!
In all honesty I have no idea how I managed to get through this 600 page book, and even though I’ve read books bigger than this, the book was just not enjoyable for me at all. Not only that, but I also have a lot of issues with this book and the characters. But before I get to the characters, I want to touch on the story itself.
I expected a lot of action and drama since the book is so long and it’s set around the war, but unfortunately it fell quite flat. I felt like the storyline moved at a really slow pace, and even when there was action or drama, it didn’t feel like the pace changed at all. With such a lengthy book you really need a change of pace to break it up every now and then, and just to keep readers engaged. The Bronze Horseman didn’t have that, so unfortunately I found myself getting rather bored quite frequently. And when I wasn’t bored, I was extremely frustrated and annoyed at the characters.
I honestly think I only liked 2 characters in the whole book. And those two characters were minor characters that only said probably around ten sentences each. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that all of the other characters annoyed the absolute crap out of me. At first it was Tatiana’s family. I couldn’t believe how poorly they treated Tatiana, it was just horrible. They treated her like a child when she was 16 at the beginning of the book, and even as she aged their attitude towards her did not. Not only were they awful to her, they also made some pretty stupid decisions that really annoyed me.
And then there was Tatiana, my god. I don’t think a main character has ever frustrated me as much as Tatiana did. I felt sorry for her at the beginning due to how she was being treated and everything that was happening with her and Alexander, but I soon just grew really tired of her crap. She was such a push over and she just never stood up for herself, neither to her family or Alexander, and when she did it never ended well. She also made some really stupid decisions as well.
Alexander, my god, I really, really disliked him. He was such a jerk throughout the whole book to basically every other character that was in Tatiana’s life. The way he treated Tatiana was horrible and their relationship to me was not healthy at all. He pressured her to do everything, like absolutely everything, and then got so mad at her when she did something he didn’t like that I literally thought he was going to punch her in the face. How is that a good relationship? Just thinking about some of the things he said is making me mad ugh.
It’s clear that I really didn’t enjoy this book much at all. I had extremely high expectations since everyone had been raving about it and saying that they love it. I can’t see what all the hype is about, or really see how it is such a well-loved novel, but of course that is just my own opinion and I respect everyone else’s as well. In saying all that, it was a lot easier to read than I had anticipated and I must have liked something seeing as I kept reading through the 637 pages.
I originally gave it 2.5 stars, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised how much the book really annoyed me and the less I liked it.
So that’s most of my thoughts on The Bronze Horseman! I could rant and rant about how much I disliked it honestly, but I wanted to keep it spoiler free.
What were your thoughts on this book? Did you love it? Did you dislike it? Or are you yet to read it?
Until next time,