The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman Trilogy)
I don’t have much experience with historical romance novels. In fact, I tend to bypass them, and in all honestly, I don’t even know WHY I usually choose to skip them for something contemporary. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed those that I’ve already read. As I think back to them, I’ve loved them all. Books about Highlanders, some from the Victorian era, and then some, errrr… okay. Mostly Highlanders. LOL! Each and every one of them has captured my attention and I’ve found myself completely absorbed and dreaming of a different time. A different way of living. A different way of loving. Some occasional scenes depicting appalling male tendencies and customs, to be sure, but these romance authors sure have a magic touch in making some of them hero-worthy. I don’t think I’d want to test my luck in a real-life “time travel” experiment, but in the land of fiction, these guys seem just as wonderful and exciting as our contemporary bad-boys.
But here’s the thing. This is what I suspect… with me, historical romance books tend to require a commitment from me. To buckle down and let go of what I’m used to. Release my normal expectations. Completely change my frame of mind so that I can connect with a time and reality that I have no actual experience with. Contemporary romances are easy for me. I recognize the “guy-behavior” and can see him perfectly in my head. It’s so easy to match up the tattooed bad-boy with some hot-guy image in my head. Where they are, how they act, the things they do… all stuff I’ve done, been and seen, also. Easy. Sure… contemporaries can be deep and dark and gritty too, but they don’t require me to adjust my mental images. I’m already there. And I think that is mostly why I shy away from historicals. Sometimes, I’m just not ready for the change.
Which brings me to this trilogy. Recommended over and over again by those insisting if I loved “Diana Galbaldon’s Outlander series” (which I did), then I would surely love this one. I read the premise. War. ICK!!! (BTW it is WWII in Leningrad). Hitler. ICCCCCKKKK!!! Soldiers… errrr… ok, not ick. *blush* Tee hee!!! That was actually the magic word. A soldier that falls for a civilian during wartime, and devastating and impossible events unfold in life, and for them. Okay. I was curious!
So I waited until I was in the right frame of mine, and dug myself in. Heard there’d be a slight “intro-hump” to get over, and then I’d be in love with it. Wanna know what? I didn’t even notice the hump. I don’t know if it was me that was simply ready for something this BIG… this profound. If it was the warning and then the promise of excellence. Or if the writer is just that magical that I barely even noticed she wasn’t writing about me. I became one with the story almost immediately. Book #1 stole my heart. But it wasn’t just romance with a bad backdrop. I was terrified, elated, desperate, traumatized, angry, and then in love over and over again. My friend Jackie asked:
Jackie: I’m downloading those for my holiday. Let me know what they are like. Also if they are suitable for my daughter (age 15).
Maryse: Book #1 rocked my world. I am beside myself right now and in mourning needing so badly to read# 2. It is tame for the first half of the book, but it is not YA. It’s not overtly descriptive, but there are plenty of steamy intimate scenes at some point. Soooooooo soooooo good. One of my favorites without a doubt. I don’t know whether to cry right now ’cause of everything it put me through, or giggle with glee knowing that I still have two more books. *sigh*
‘Tis true. It was a wreck of a book, moments of terrible and utter despair and yet… titillating like no other. Teasing. There is love and life within and beyond war, and while the struggles and turmoil of war dominate their way of life, there are incredible moments of light, in this tale. And the light shines so bright. Blinding. My heart was glowing.
Already that the Soviet way of life was… difficult (communal living… and so much more). These folks still managed to be happy, loving, and hopeful. Had customs, had celebrations, had vacations. Had happy children. Devastating life circumstances occurred, of course. Things were about to get so much worse.
But I, the reader, saw a carefree spirit in the eyes of our heroine (Tatiana).War? War was not here, yet. What was the rush? Why was everyone racing to the banks? To the grocery stores? She looked beautiful today, in her flirty summer dress, and red high heels. Tomorrow was her seventeenth birthday. Her sister was in love. She wanted ice cream. And she had it. Along with the gorgeous, intense stare of the devastatingly handsome, (and young) soldier (Alexander) that crossed the street just to be near her.
…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 was if her heart started pumping blood through all four chambers at once, pouring it into her lungs and flooding it through her body. She blinked and felt her breath become shorter.
It starts just like that! Hump? What hump? I was already completely hooked when he followed her onto her bus… and it was so obvious, the intense connection between the two could not be severed.
Until she came home later that evening, with the help of that very handsome soldier (carrying her wooden crates of groceries her), and watched as her sister (Dasha) jumped into his arms, surprised and ecstatic that her very new “boyfriend” showed up at her family’s home. To his surprise, too. He, ummm… wasn’t quite expecting that his new friend was her sister. Eeeeek!!
“Alexander! What are you doing here?” Dasha didn’t even glance at Tatiana, who, perplexed, looked at Alexander and said, “You know Dasha…?” but then broke off in the middle of the question, seeing realization and conscience and unhappiness strike his mute, comprehending face.
Tatiana looked at Dasha, then back to Alexander. She felt herself paling from the inside out. Oh no, she wanted to say. Oh, no, how can this be?
Yep. Oh oh. It doesn’t relent. And it’s so much more than just a simple love triangle. This soldier has quite a secret that he harbors. I can’t say more. Fate? Destiny? Or tragedy? The whole experience from light to dark to light to dark again… and then?
She was entrenched. She had dug a trench all around herself called Alexander, and she couldn’t leave.
Addicted. That’s what I am. I’ve gotta get to book #2 ASAP before I gnaw my fingernails off. I am literally moping!! I need more. SO MUCH more.
I just received this comment from fellow reader, Aestas. I think this says it all:
“Omgomgomg I’m so glad you are reading this!! I just finished the trilogy last week and it has just completey taken over my life!!!! I got about 3 hours of sleep a night for the week it took me to read all 3 books and since finishing them, I’ve been thrown into a book funk where absolutely nothing seems remotely comparable to how wonderful these books were or to the depth of the love that Tatiana and Alexander shared. It’s just so epic and heart wrenching and beautiful!!!!!! I know I will be rereading them over and over and over again. I honestly haven’t been able to even think about anything else since I started them.”
I’ve only completed book #1 and already feel this way. I am SO in for it…
BTW – 5 stars from me!
The reading order guide —> Paullina Simons – The Bronze Horseman Trilogy (The Timeless Saga)