Name: The Bronze Horseman (TBH #1)
Author: Paullina Simons
Daniela’s rating: 5 stars
How can I even start this? I can’t tell you how in love I am with this book, the characters, the story, the love. It’s really hard to explain it but, beyond the suffering and the frustration… there’s such a beautiful story about love and patience and truth and loyalty. I couldn’t stop reading and I’m glad the book was long enough that, even though I couldn’t stop, it didn’t end as quickly, and even so, I still ended up needing more. Needing more of Shura.
God, Shura <3.
The story. Well, The Bronze Horseman is the story of Tatiana Metanova, a girl born and raised in Leningrad, Russia, around 1941. It’s set in a intense and difficult time. A time where hunger and suffering and death was all around. A war was warming up and people were getting killed either by the hand of others holding a gun or by the lack of food. It didn’t matter how, people were dying more and more every day. How hard it must’ve been. With every passing day, life got harder and harder and Tatiana struggled more and more, trying to keep her family alive. What kept her alive? Alexander Belov. He meant hope. He meant truth. He meant safety. He meant love. Whenever he was around, no matter how bad it was on the outside, there was hope that someday, somehow, everything would be okay.
It took me a while to read this book. Why? I’m still asking myself that same question. I don’t know, but I’m glad I finally did. While I was reading TBH, well beyond the frustrating and beautiful romance, there’s the story about how people struggled to survived and I kept thinking… it’s unbelievable how, after all these years, after all the supposedly advance society has made, there are countries that are still going through the same crap. Maybe not in the same way, because then it was a public masacre. Now, it’s all done discreetly. People die every day, but every day there is a better show to watch. You may not know this, you may not care, but I come from a country were food rations are now part of the daily shop. When (and if) you find whatever it is you’re looking for at the market, you can’t get as many as you want or need, because the government won’t allow it. My country is not at war with another country, it is at war with itself, which is way worse, if you ask me, and because of that, I don’t live there anymore. Just like Tatiana had to, we had to leave. So, without wanting to sound depressing or anything, I saw and felt the story in a different way that I’m used to. My country still has resources, but it’s all going down very quickly. It’s nice when a book takes you far away from your world and creates a whole new one just for you. But it’s always nice when a book reminds you of the world you do live in, of the things you have and how grateful we all should be for everything and everyone around us.
Now, let me go back to the story. More specifically, Tatiana’s story. Life has always had a way of getting in the middle of everything and make sure you have to fight for what you love. No matter how sick, no matter how mad, no matter how weak you are, you will always do anything and everything to keep your family safe. No matter how sad it makes you, no matter how much it hurts, you’ll always try to do what’s right, and that’s exactly what she did. She fought and stayed awake as long as she needed to and well beyond past that.
“Ask yourself these three questions, Tatiana Metanova, and you will know who you are. Ask: What do believe in? What do you hope for? What do you love?”
Tatiana is as good as she can be. She’s innocent and naive, and thoughtful and she’s kind enough to give away whatever she has for herself to make someone she cares about happy. She has a big heart and she’s one of the strongest female characters I’ve read. She loves deeply and trust completely on those she believes in. Her innocence is pure and it won’t stain the vision she has from the world, from the opportunity it has to offer. But don’t mistake her innocence for blindness. Even when her hopes and expectations are high, she knows what she has in front of her nose, she knows there’s probably a long way, but she’ll do whatever she can to make it happen, to get whatever it is she wants. She is infuriatingly stubborn. Once her mind is set, there’s no way she’ll go back. If she said she was going to get food, she won’t come back until she has something to eat on her hands.
“Alexander, were you looking for me?”
“All my life.”
Alexander. Belov. He is intense, passionate, thoughtful, strong, stubborn, stupid, sweet, frustrating, trustworthy, reliable. He is the kind of guy you won’t be able to stop thinking about. He’s the guy who takes care of the people he loves. He’s the kind of guy who will give himself away for the greater good, to save his everything. He’s a soldier. He fights for what he believes is right and he’ll do it until the very end. He doesn’t stop. He fights and gives and loves with all his heart and that passion is what makes you love him completely, deeply, wholeheartedly.
“There are some battles, no matter how much you don’t want to fight them, that you just have to fight. That are worth giving your life for.”
Now… Tatiana and Alexander’s story. You haven’t met a more frustrating and beautiful and saddest story than these two’s. No one said love at 17 was easy, specially not in Russia while Hitler is bombing, blocking and starving the country. They can’t be together, but they certainly can’t be away from each other. The walks, the visits, the looks. The stolen moments, the stolen smiles, the inside jokes. I loved and suffered every minute of it. There’s no other way to live this story. You will swoon and you will ache and you will struggle along Tatiana, along Alexander, just like they do to survive for the other.
The book itself is just brilliant. It’s not just a love story, it’s a story about how someone who’s gone through so much and yet, they still had the strength to keep going. It’s about surviving a life that completely sucks and still seeing the beauty of it. It’s not about accepting life and surrendering every day a bit more, it’s about accepting life and trying to make it better every day. It’s about accepting what you have and still fighting for that something more.
I think there’s no need to say it but I absolutely loved this book. The story is perfect even in it’s sad setting. The descriptions of how life was is so amazingly written, there’s no space for doubt of how hard and horrible it must’ve been. Everything is so detailed you can make out a perfect image in your head of what’s going on, how the people look, how they act, how they sound. I can’t wait for more.