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lip lit: paulina simmons, the bronze horseman


Dedicated to Hayley, and her own Shura

Move over Shakespeare, there is a new writer in town, majoring in love. The Bronze Horseman is an epic war torn romance between Tatiana and Alexander, during the Leningrad Nazi blockade. Paullina Simmons poetically takes the reader on a journey through the life of Communist living during a Nazi invasion, as well as focusing on family tensions and ultimately the act of falling in love in Stalinist Russia. The Bronze Horseman has the social struggles of Jack and Rose from Titanic, the passion of Ally and Noah from The Notebook and the literature beauty from Romeo and Juliet. Alexander, the obvious shining knight, makes your heart melt, whilst Tatiana, the frail heroine, makes the reader want to be her best friend. Paulina Simmons has outdone herself writing this romantic war epic for the eager readers of today.

Now don’t assume that I am a classic girly girl who cries at every first kiss she sees in a movie or reads in a book. I am tough when it comes to romance stories, and tougher when it comes to horror novels. Frankenstein and Dracula are apart of my classics collection. So do not judge The Bronze Horseman by it`s cover. The damsel in distress routine is non-existent and the white knight theme parallels the astounding historical accuracy Simmons gives. The descriptive imagery is haunting, tragic and then suddenly inviting. The depth of character`s and social themes are what compels Tatiana’s and Alexander’s love, not the usual boy meets girls, boy and girl fall in love, and they all lived happily ever after. For all those history enthusiasts out there, come on I know there are others than myself, reading The Bronze Horseman is like having Stalinist Russia outside your bedroom door. Unlike Tatiana and Alexander, this is just in our imagination.

The theme that resonates with me after I have put my bookmark in is the social struggle that is Communism. It is easy to objectively study the implications of socialism and Stalin in our history and politics books, but to truly understand what it was like takes imagination. Paullina Simmons takes us there herself, as the reader follows Tatiana and Alexander hide their love where communal living is treasured and any Russian comrade is an ally. Not only is the Communism life explored, but the Nazi blockade that caused millions of Russians to starve to death also confronts the reader. Simmon`s symbolism, description and empathetic literature causes even the reader to begin twitching in hunger. The historical and social themes within the book are what drive the entire plot and characters.

The Bronze Horseman is not for the faint hearted and is not only for lovesick girls. True, the love that embraces Tatiana and Alexander is addictive, however the accumulation of their attraction and the tragic writhe against fate to survive is what makes their love pure gold. A book that you will not be able to put down, guaranteed.

Samantha Jones

11 thoughts on “lip lit: paulina simmons, the bronze horseman

  1. This has been on my favourites list for years now. You’re right, it’s the historical backdrop that absolutely MAKES it. Have you read the sequel yet?

  2. Hey Sara. I know! me too. I hear they are making a movie for it soon. I hope it does the book justice. I have read the second and third book, but do not think it is nearly as good as the first. Lazarevo just does it for me. What do you think? Glad there are other fans out there x

  3. OOOOOOOH the Bronze Horseman-
    I fell in love with this book back in 2005 I think…. I cant count the amount of times I have read this book and enjoyed and learnt through it. Waiting for the third book was like a child standing outside a lolly shop but not being able to get in to eat them- but when the torture was over it sure was worth it . Admit-tingly these books some how made me find a Russian Boyfriend for awhile (big mistake), learn the Russian language and envisage a amazing Russian Adventure. but all and all the historical back drop had my mind boggling and I could hear old High school history classes actually coming not only to life but becoming Interesting. The Bronze Horseman is a equal first on my list of reading along with Paulo Cohelo… So great to see people enjoying it in 2012! Yay

  4. COMPLETELY agree! You have such an amazing way of putting my thoughts into words. I hope you don’t mind, I want to repost your blog onto mine (I’ll make sure to include a link to this website)! I’m currently reading the second one, and I am still absolutely in love…but I know that book 1 will always be my favorite. I can be an emotional person when reading, but I’ve never had a book affect me this way, ever. Just like you said–while they were starving, I felt hungry. I felt Tatiana’s heartbreak and longing, and once I hit Lazarevo, I literally stopped reading for a couple of days because I felt that their happiness deserved some time (& I knew it was going to end). Thanks for sharing. Truly an amazing post!

  5. Pingback: I know I alread… « the place between sleep & awake

  6. Pingback: bronze horseman: pure gold « the place between sleep & awake

  7. Woah guys! I am overwhelmed with the feedback from my article. Not only do I live to see other Tatiana and Alexander obsessed people, but your praise really means a lot to me x

  8. I just loved this book!! As a fellow hopeless romantic, with a strong feminist exterior, I have spent my life looking for the perfect romantic, historically accurate and guaranteed hope filler novel that lives up to the classics, I have to thank you Sam so much for selling it to me…

  9. no worries Elise. I am so glad you enjoyed it. Not sure if you know, but it is apart of a trilogy. The second book is called “Bridge to Holy Cross”. Enjoy!

  10. Hi everyone! I’m another lover of this trilogy. I would like to ask if anyone has read the 2011 Christmas version of Tatiana & Alexander which had special content (a deleted scene between Tatia & Shura and a letter from the author). Greetings from Spain.

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