The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simmons
I have no idea why I chose this book.
Many people have a habit of online shopping late at night. I have a habit of placing library holds on books late at night. Most of the time I remember why I placed them. For The Bronze Horseman, I have zero clue.
There is nothing about this book that would have had my fingers inching towards it. In fact it has pretty much most of the characteristics that dismiss it. It is a thick epic drama (about a million pages ).It is a war romance story between a pair during the siege of Leningrad in the 1940s.
As with any book that comes into my hands, I always try to give it a shot. If I didn't like it I had a huge pile of books freshly picked up from the library to go through. Well, I ended up having to pay some library fines for those books because The Bronze Horseman pretty much took over my life for weeks.
Before Leningrad was blockaded and millions died of starvation, two young people met for the first time. On the day that news broke out of war, young Tatya is tasked with collecting food for the family. Instead she buys some ice cream and sits on a bus stop.Across the street, a young soldier has arrested her gaze. When this young solider, Alexander, takes the first step towards Tatya, their fates were sealed. There are obstacles upon obstacles that are flung in their way. These obstacles are so heartbreaking, frustrating, and frightening but they still somehow stay connected. Their love is so solid, even when each of them try to give the other up.
This love story had me hooked. I felt the anguish when they parted, the heat when they were together. Oh boy, when they were together, it was HOT. As in, there were no boundaries or limits to their physical activity. I felt their frustration at their inability to keep the other safe and the mega frustration when the other would do something foolish for the other. The ping-ping of emotions of connections were the driving force for me to keep reading. Although I do have to say, Tatya drove me most insane with her blinded by love antics. I am seriously surprised by all of the outcomes but so many palm to the forward moments.
It's not a story that is purely fun or depressing. It is a story that trods along bringing the reader to feel a good portion of the emotion spectrum. You equally hate and love the characters. If the reader was familiar with the history of Seige of Leningrad, then many of the decisions of the characters were pretty cringe worthy. For me, who had zilch knowledge before researching the history behind it, it was still cringe worthy. For with or without hindsight, we know that these same decisions would have been still been made. No matter how bad the situation, the deepest, darkest aspect of the need to survive will surface. There will be those who sacrifice themselves for others and there will be others will do whatever it takes to take and survive.
What the book also did for me was to learn more about this historical event. It seemed that Simmons had did her research well. Almost everything that had happened has been alluded to in references or recorded personal accounts. It is reading the personal accounts that adds a heartbreaking spooky factor to it. Many of the people who had lives through are still alive.
I have only read the first of the trilogy. Would I recommend this? Yes but only purely based off the first. I don't regret reading this book at all. It was an overall beautiful book that had one of the most intriguing romances. It also truly made me appreciate the food that I have access to.