The Bronze Horseman

Leningrad 1941: the white nights of summer illuminate a city of fallen grandeur whose beautiful palaces and stately avenues speak of a different age, when Leningrad was known as St Petersburg.

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 the fateful day, Tatiana meets a brash young officer named Alexander.

Tatiana and her family suffer as Hitler’s army advances on Leningrad, and the Russian winter closes in. With bombs falling and the city under siege, Tatiana and Alexander are drawn to each other in an impossible 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 the one hand by Hitler’s unstoppable war machine, and on the other by a Soviet system determined to crush the 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.

Mesmerizing from the very first page to the final, breathtaking end, The Bronze Horseman brings alive the story of two indomitable, heroic spirits and their great love that triumphs over the devastation of a country at war.


Reviews

"Set in her native St. Petersburg, Russia, Simons's latest thick novel (after Tully, etc.) focuses on a WWII love affair. As the story opens, Tatiana, the youngest member of the Metanova family, is just 17; she still shares a bed with her older sister, Dasha. Not long after the country goes to war with Germany, Tatiana meets Alexander, a soldier, and sparks fly. It turns out, however, that Alexander is the same soldier Dasha has been crowing about. Possessed of a strong sense of family loyalty, and living under conditions that permit no privacy, Tatiana refuses to interfere with her sister's happiness, but the attraction between Tatiana and Alexander proves too powerful. Complicating matters, another soldier, Dimitri, has information that could destroy Alexander, and Dimitri likes Tatiana, too. In order to protect both Dasha's feelings and Alexander's life, the star-crossed lovers become part of a deceptive quadrangle as war intensifies around them. Taking her title from a tragic poem by Alexander Pushkin, Simons skillfully highlights the ironies of the socialist utopia..." Publishers Weekly
"...A heart-stopping love story by the author of Tully (St. Martin's, 1995). Teens will also be gripped by descriptions of battles of World War II Europe on the eastern front, when Hitler abrogated the nonaggression pact with Stalin and invaded Russia. The events are told in explicit detail, from battle scenes to the horror of life in Leningrad under siege to passionate lovemaking..." School Library Journal, Molly Connally, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA
"The Soviet Union suffered immensely at the hands of Germany during World War II, and no Russian city suffered more than Leningrad. The Germans laid siege to Leningrad in 1941, and the resulting horror and chaos gave rise to many dramatic tales of deprivation and heroism. Simons tells one of them here. Tatiana Metanov's life is typical of the way most people lived in Leningrad in the late 1930s and early 1940s: her family is crammed into a small living space, and their days consist of endlessly waiting in various lines for supplies. On the day Germany invades the Soviet Union, Tatiana meets Alexander Belov, a lieutenant in the Red Army..." —Booklist
"The Bronze Horseman' is the story of two young people in love trying to survive Hitler's vast war machine and a country that could crush their spirits. It is a tale of an impossible love. Where the question is 'how much are we prepared to lose to gain the whole world?' Russian born author Paullina Simons based the novel on the experiences of her grandmother who survived in Leningrad through the German blockade. Simons also experienced first hand the difficulties of growing up in communist Russia. To all intents and purposes this is a love story, but it also carries a certain ring of truth and is one of the best historical fictions I have read." Bibliofemme