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637 pages, Paperback
First published July 17, 2000
“Ask yourself these three questions, Tatiana Metanova, and you will know who you are. Ask: what do you believe in? What do you hope for? But most important – ask: what do you love?
… I know who I am, she thought, taking his hand… I am Tatiana. And I believe in, and hope for, and love Alexander for life.”
❝Good-bye, my moonsong and my breath, my white nights and golden days, my fresh water and my fire. Good-bye, and may you find a better life, find comfort again and your breathless smile, and when your beloved face lights up once more at the Western sunrise, be sure what I felt for you was not in vain. Good-bye, and have faith, my Tatiana.❞
"Love is," she repeated slowly, "when he is hungry and you feed him. Love is knowing when he is hungry."
"Love is, to be loved," said Alexander, "in return."
"I found my true love on the banks of the river Kama," whispered Alexander, staring at her.
"I found my true love on Ulitsa Saltykov-Schedrin, while I sat on a bench eating ice cream."
"You didn't find me. You weren't looking for me. I found you."
Long pause. "Alexander, were you...looking for me?"
"All my life."
"When Tatiana looked up from her ice cream, she saw a soldier staring at her from across the street."
"Oh, Alexander," she said, "what do you want from me..."
"Everything!" he whispered fiercely.
The awful living conditions during the war in Leningrad only become more brutal during the winter time. The hunger, the loss of family and friends...they all start to take their toll on Tania. And honestly, reading those scenes was pure torture at times, especially because of the whole. But, Tania os strong and determined and Alexander does everything in his power to help her through. Despite Tania being so young and vulnerable, she's one of the strongest and most admirable female characters I've ever come across.
And then comes my favorite part of the book: Lazarevo. ♥
"Ask yourself these three questions, Tatiana Metanova, and you will know who you are. Ask: what do you believe in? What do you hope for? But most important - ask: what do you love?"
I know who I am, she thought, taking his hand and turning to the altar. I am Tatiana. And I believe in, and hope for, and love Alexander for life.
"And that's my point: all great things worth having require great sacrifice worth giving."
"Good-bye, my moonsong and my breath, my white nights and golden days, my fresh water and my fire. Good-bye, and may you find a better life, find comfort again and your breathless smile, and when your beloved face lights up once more at the Western sunrise, be sure what I felt for you was not in vain. Good-bye, and have faith, my Tatiana."
"He wanted to explain but felt shattered. He was shattered." - Yes, I know, Alexander. Me, too. Review to follow when I feel less shattered. On to Book 2!! ^_^
12+ Hours later….
5+ Stars!!! - Also reviewed at:Lady Jayne's Reading Den
Okay, I figure there is NO WAY I can ever do this book justice, so, I just need to pour out this “review” now, and hopefully in the release of my swirling thoughts and emotions I’m not too nonsensical.
Firstly, I would like to THANK my GRs friends, Viola and Quinn, for recommending this book to me, and to thank them and other GRs friends (Catherine, Sans, MBR and Zosia) for giving me some "emotional support" (knowingly and unknowingly) as I read this. *HUGS* Why did I need “emotional support”, you say? Well…
Have you ever read a story that so CAPTURED you, that even as you put it down, the emotions it evoked in you stuck with you all throughout the day, until you could return to it again and were sucked in even MORE? Have you ever read a story that stole your breath away, made your heart feel like it was being twisted into a pretzel, and kept squeezing until you felt…SHATTERED? And yet it also filled your heart to bursting with a love so beautiful it brought tears to your eyes? Have you ever read a story that made you FEEL SO MUCH, that it felt like it was TOO MUCH - too much longing, too much pain, too much anger, too much love - and you needed breaks from it, while also feeling COMPELLED to keep reading, and you actually thought: "HOW CAN I SURVIVE THIS BOOK?!?!" Have you ever read a story of a love so INTENSE and CONSUMING, that it transcends the pages it is written on and etches itself into your heart?
The Bronze Horseman was such a story, for me!
Viola and Quinn told me it would be “heart-wrenching” but that didn’t even begin to cover what I (and I'm sure they) felt reading it. How can I possibly convey the sweet agony of this ACHINGLY beautiful, evocative and EPIC love story? I can honestly say I have NEVER FELT SO MUCH reading a book before!! In fact, there were moments when I wanted to hurl the book against the wall because I felt so strongly…and I have never felt that urge before.
The Bronze Horseman begins on 22 June 1941 in Leningrad, when war is declared between the Soviet Union and Germany. A 17-year-old girl named Tatiana is sent out to buy food supplies by her father. As she sits in her white dress with red roses, at the bus stop, eating her favourite crème brulée ice cream, her eyes meet those of a young soldier named Alexander Belov, who is standing across the street.
“It was a perfect day. For five minutes there was no war, and it was just a glorious Sunday in a Leningrad June.
When Tatiana looked up from her ice cream, she saw a soldier staring at her from across the street.
Tatiana normally would have glanced past him down the street and moved on, except that this soldier was standing across the street and staring at her with an expression Tatiana had never seen before. She stopped eating her ice cream.
Her side of the street was already in the shade, but the side where he stood swam in the northern afternoon light. Tatiana stared back at him for just a moment, and in the moment of looking into his face, something moved inside her; moved she would have liked to say imperceptibly, but that wasn’t quite the case. It was as if her heart started pumping blood through all four chambers at once, pouring into her lungs and flooding it through her body. She blinked and felt her breath become shorter.”
My Tatiana (Teresa Palmer)
And I came across this very well done fan-made video of The Bronze Horseman, starring darling Henry. ^_^ I quite like the choice of Romola Garai as Tatiana in this video, too.
Edited to add some songs from my "playlist" for this book:
And have you ever read a story that affected you so much that you found yourself constantly looking for songs to become your "playlist", so that music could capture what you couldn't in your own words? Well, this book did that to me!
Song For A Winter's Night - Cover of Glenn Lighfoot's song by Sarah McLachlan:
It represents Tatiana's hunger for Alexander during the winter of the siege of Leningrad, and also the starvation of the city. I love the lyrics and her haunting voice.
And this song, Falling Softly (Kris Allen version), to me, represents Alexander's feelings about Tatiana and the whole situation in The Bronze Horseman:
1. The Bronze Horseman
2. Tatiana and Alexander (also titled The Bridge to Holy Cross, in some editions) - My Review Here
3. The Summer Graden – To be reviewed.
DISCLAIMER: I do not hold the copyright to any of the images, videos or music used in this review. They are posted to add visuals and "soundtrack" to the review and for fun. If any of these images are yours and you would like me to remove them, please let me know, and I will do so as soon as possible. If I can identify the copyright, I will do so.
When Tatiana looked up from her ice cream, she saw a soldier staring at her from across the street.
At 4 a.m., without declaration of war and without any claims being made on the Soviet Union, German troops attacked our country, attacked our frontier in many places, and bombed from the air Shitomir, Kiev, Sevastopol, Kaunas, and other cities. [...]
Our cause is just. The enemy will be crushed. Victory will be ours.
“Are you getting on, young lady? I can’t be waiting forever.”
Getting on? “No, no, I’m not going.”
“Then what the hell are you doing waiting for the bus!” the driver hollered and slammed the doors shut.
Tatiana backed away toward the bench and saw the soldier running around the bus.
The bus doors opened again. “Need the bus?” asked the driver.
The soldier looked at Tatiana, then at the bus driver.
“Oh, for the sake of Lenin and Stalin!” the driver bellowed, slamming the doors shut for the second time.
Tatiana was left standing in front of the bench. She backed away, tripped, and sat quickly down.
In a casual tone, with a shrug and a roll of his eyes, the soldier said, “I thought it was my bus.”
“Yes, me, too,” she uttered, her voice croaky.
Tatiana couldn’t tell if he was young like her; no, he seemed older. Like a young man, looking at her with a man’s eyes. She blushed again, continuing to stare at the pavement between her red sandals and his black army boots.
“Where were you going?” he repeated politely, still standing across from her, not moving, not making a move to move. Standing completely still, eclipsing the sun.
"Tania...you and I had only one moment.." said Alexander, "A single moment in time, in your time and mine...one instant, when another life could have still been possible."
Please, God, Alexander prayed. Let her not love me anymore, but let her live.
Under a black smoky sky, amid burning woods, Alexander carried Tatiana on his back six kilometers to the next station.
"Shura, how can we have such a closeness? How can we have such a connection? Right from the start."
"We don't have a closeness."
"No. We don't have a connection."
"No. We have communion."
“Ask yourself these three questions, Tatiana Metanova, and you will know who you are. Ask: what do you believe in? What do you hope for? But most important - ask: what do you love?
... I know who I am, she thought, taking his hand and turning to the altar. I am Tatiana. And I believe in, and hope for, and love Alexander for life.”
“A bus came. The soldier turned away from her and walked toward it. Tatiana watched him. Even his walk was from another world; the step was too sure, the stride too long, yet somehow it all seemed right, looked right, felt right. It was like stumbling on a book you thought you had lost. Ah, yes, there it is.”
“I saved you for me.”
"I can't breathe" (..) "Open your mouth" she wispered leaning into his mouth "I'll breathe for you."