Heather (Let's-Go-Pens-We're-Gonna-Take-This-One) 's Reviews > The Bronze Horseman

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
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Jan 14, 10

it was ok
Read in January, 2010

The Bronze Horseman...
I didn’t like any of the characters in this story, or any of the decisions that they made. If you have followed my reviews on any other stories, you’ll know the two situations that I don’t like reading about in romance novels. The first (it being mandatory that there is a virgin heroine) isn’t applicable to this story, however the second (never double cross a loved one, family member or friend by getting with someone they’re involved with, in unrequited love with, or even someone whom they like from afar) is so heavily laced throughout this story that it was doomed from the start.
I read the whole story through though (regardless of the fact that it goes so against something that I feel very strongly about) for a friend, and reserved my judgement until the end, just to give it the benefit of the doubt.
Tatiana, the main female character, innocently meets a handsome soldier while out getting supplies for her family on the first day of Germany’s invasion of Russia in the Second World War. Now, let me begin by telling you that she has been told by her father to go get as much food as she can because they are afraid, and rightly so, that it will soon become difficult to obtain the food that they’ll need in the future. Now let me tell you that instead of getting food, this little twit (and at this point I asked my friend if she had some sort of brain injury, because what 17 year old on the planet wouldn’t understand the importance of the situation), stops to buy herself an ice cream cone!...she frustrates me... Anyway, she innocently meets a handsome soldier while “out getting supplies” and it becomes apparent that she’s dawdled to the point that there is nothing left for her to buy. The soldier, who loves (let’s be honest, he’s 22 so he really just lusts) her from the start plays the hero by taking her to the “Soldier Only” store and buys everything she’ll need there and then also helps her bring everything back to her family’s apartment.
Earlier that morning, this is very important for you to know, Tatiana’s sister tells her how she is in love with a man that she has been seeing and that he’s the one. Well wouldn’t you know it, Alexander (the hero soldier who made all Tatiana’s shopping dreams come true) is “that” man, the man her sister is in love with. One thing leads to the next and Tatiana and Alexander decide to not progress with their relationship, although they love each other dearly, and he’ll continue to see Tatiana’s sister because Tatiana can’t bear to see her sister’s feelings hurt.
Ok, so here I’m thinking “Yes, they’ve made the right decision. Good job people!” and hope that I was wrong about who the main female character is and that maybe, just maybe, it really is Tatiana’s sister. But no, I’m not that lucky. Tatiana and Alexander pretend to not really even like each other while Alexander continues to date and have sex with Tatiana’s sister and Tatiana proceeds to date Alexander’s best friend Dimitri, while whispering sweet nothings and “she doesn’t really mean anything to me at all, you know that darling” to each other up until the death of Tatiana’s entire family, their near starvation, their evacuation out of Leningrad and then the death from starvation of Tatiana’s sister. And still, these two most impossibly selfish people that I’ve ever read about (don’t even get me started on how I feel about a man who would not only dally with someone he claims to love her on a daily basis, but who is also leading on her child-sister the entire time) not only continue to see each other, but now they begin a sexual relationship and then get married.
At this point, I still don’t like either character. Alexander is hauled back to the front and Tatiana, because she’s still an incredibly immature woman, decides she’ll follow him back to Leningrad because she feels he needs her there. Blah, blah, blah. More crazy antics ensue, more of her being unjustifiably headstrong and ridiculous and then the books ends as a cliff hanger.
It isn’t until the last chapter either, where Tatiana believes Alex is dead, that I actually started to like either of them. Alex stages his death so Tatiana doesn’t know he’s really been arrested and Tatiana flees to America to save her baby. But now, I have to read the next damn book to find out how Alex gets out of prison and to see how Tatiana takes care of her tuberculosis-ridden self and her child in America, until the arrival of her long lost, thought dead, husband.
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Kelly (last edited Jan 17, 2010 10:14PM) (new) - added it

Kelly Heather I just read your review. Wow you and I don't see eye to eye on this one.

I do get your fustration with Alexander and Dasha's relationship. I was really not liking him at that point. But Dasha does tell Tatiana that her and Alex stop having sex at the end of August I believe after the tower incident they are not together any longer sexually.
You really can't refer to Tatiana as an immature woman the fact is she is a very young sheltered 17 year old girl.
Also many Russians believed Lenin when he claims that Russia would not be at war long and would defeat the Germans in no time.

I loved your review, although I came away with a much diffrent outlook on the book. I enjoy and respect your take on it.


Alycia I agree with you Heather, about the frustration. I definitely was frustrated with them both through out the book for the secrets and lies. My initial thought about Tatiana was that she was insipid. But after reading more I understood her whole purpose in life was sitting down to eat ice cream so at that moment destiny would take the lead and she would meet Alexander (maybe I am a hopeless romantic). When betraying a loved one, I didn't feel sorry for Dasha even though it was wrong, it was hard to like her and I never could. She came off as a brainless slut. She did not deserve to be wronged by her sister, but I didn't believe that she deserved someone like Alexander. In a way Dasha and Tatiana did get closure somewhat, it just took death to finish it.Not that I am condoning the actions of T & A but that situation definitely did drive the characters and plot through out. I think I appreciated their love more once they got passed everything and decided "no more lies" between the two of them. I did enjoy your review and opinion, it made me stop to think about this book some more, I just happened to like it :)


Heather (Let's-Go-Pens-We're-Gonna-Take-This-One) Alycia wrote: "I agree with you Heather, about the frustration. I definitely was frustrated with them both through out the book for the secrets and lies. My initial thought about Tatiana was that she was insipid...."

Alycia, you're funny. I agree that Dasha was a slut.

I just did not relate to the characters. I guess that was my problem. Who knows though, maybe I'll read the book again in ten years, be at a total different place in my life and see it in an entirely different light.

I think though that right now my view is this: Alexander could have been a veritable Adonis (was in fact in Tatiana's eyes), however I would never entertain the idea of doing anything with him if my sister possessed even the slightest glimmer of affection for him (regardless of her sexual inclinations) presently or in the past. I just couldn't and for me, the book stopped there.



Heather (Let's-Go-Pens-We're-Gonna-Take-This-One) Kelly wrote: "Heather I just read your review. Wow you and I don't see eye to eye on this one.

I do get your fustration with Alexander and Dasha's relationship. I was really not liking him at that point. Bu..."


I know I'm one in a million with my opinion of this book, which is weird because I generally love a love story. I just cannot relate to Tatiana in any way and I couldn't respect Alexander from the beginning.

With regards to Tatiana being immature, I think my ideas stem from the fact that I generally read books with a strong female lead, whereas Tatiana was anything but up until the end, at which point I started to respect her. I also think she was very naive, which comes from immaturity (I'll agree with you, this was due to her being only 17, however my 17 year old self was nothing like Tatiana's), and although she was naive, she was far too good for someone like Alexander. He may have been a brave soldier, but morally I think he was a weak coward of a man.

And thank-you, I appreciate your comments on my review. I think this is what a book club is all about. I wouldn’t want to read books where everyone I talk to has the exact same opinions and ideas as me.



Alycia Heather, are you going to try Tatiana and Alexander or not?


Heather (Let's-Go-Pens-We're-Gonna-Take-This-One) Probably not. I read it vicariously through Shell. She BB'd me the plot on a daily basis. LOL.
Actually, you can't buy it here right now. Shell had to have the library bring it in from Vancouver. I'll probably read it in a couple years; give myself time to forget that I didn't like the first one.



Alycia It's out of print here too. It can only be found used here. Its supposed to be reprinted this summer though. I just didn't want to wait that long. I don't know if you will be able to forget not liking the first one, but it is noble of you to try the second in a few years.


Heather (Let's-Go-Pens-We're-Gonna-Take-This-One) Thanks, I'm nothing if not noble...or forgetful...whichever sounds better. LOL


message 9: by Tina (new) - added it

Tina I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this because like you, I find plots where the sisters or bestfriends sharing the hero hugely distasteful. It has a huge ack factor for me. I was on the verge of trying it from reading all the raved reviews but from reading your comments, I know I would hate it.

So thanks for sticking your head out to write this very honest review! You saved me a buck or two! :)


Heather (Let's-Go-Pens-We're-Gonna-Take-This-One) No problem. To be honest with you though, I read the second in the series and LOVED it.


message 11: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Davie Wel, after reading all this...I ain't planning to even starting like a strong heroine and I realy hate betrayal.


message 12: by EvaS (last edited Aug 20, 2012 06:23PM) (new) - added it

EvaS I have started this book twice, and abandoned it both times. I loved your review and agree with all your points (although I did not finish it, betrayal is not something I can forgive either). For me, the reality of the situation hit a bit close to home with the world-building since I grew up in a poor ommunist country - after the ice cream moment, I lost respect for her and just could not get back into the story. As a ten your old girl, I remember getting up at the crack of dawn to go with my mom and stand in line for bread. She went to work and I'd wait in line so that my father could have a good spot when he finished the night shift... all the while praying no one stole my ration ticket (again). It never, ever, occurred to me to go play, or spend my money on ice cream. Even at ten, I understood the situation, so this book made me mad, and frustrated me.


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