Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tatiana and Alexander

I hate to say it, but Diana Gabaldon, you have a little competition.
Those of us who live and breathe books all know the feeling when we find an author whose books are so amazing that it's impossible to find another author who even comes close to their genius and you end up reading that author's books over and over, and sometimes you end up reading chick lit.
I started reading Diana Gabaldon's books when I was fourteen, and now, at 22, I can't even count how many times I've read the seven books in the Outlander series.

While I contemplated branching out to other authors, I had picked up The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons hundreds of times while browsing the bookstores, and finally decided to buy it last year, despite reading no reviews about it.

The Bronze Horseman begins the story of Tatiana, a 17-year-old Russian girl and Alexander, a Red Army soldier with a secret that can, and does, destroy lives, on 22 June, 1941 - the first day of World War Two for Russia.

Tatiana and her family suffer as Hitler's army advances on Leningrad, as the Russian winter closes in, and as the bombs drop and hunger and cold plagues the city, Tatiana and Alexander are drawn to each other in a love that could tear Tatiana's family apart.

Although it's little hard to get into, The Bronze Horseman is mesmerising from beginning to end, and is impossible to put down. The language is deep and detailed, coming from an author who grew up in Leningrad, Russia and emigrated to America in the 70s. She has an amazing understanding of the war, Russia and America and that definitely shows in the depth of her writing.

The pain and suffering Tatiana and Alexander endure through the war is unimaginable to us safe here in the 21st Century, and the power of the human spirit and the will to survive is just incredible.

Book two, The Bridge to Holy Cross (aka Tatiana and Alexander) is heart-wrenching when Tatiana escapes war-torn Leningrad to America, the land of their dreams, pregnant with Alexander's child, believing her husband is dead.

But she can't let him go and something tells her he's still alive, and she finds herself drawn back to Europe in search of the man she loves.

The Summer Garden, the third and final book, sees Tatiana and Alexander struggling to create a new life for them and their son, Anthony, and to let go of the past.

You expect this book to be a "happily ever after" story, but surviving the horror that the war had to offer leaves painful open wounds that they almost don't survive.
But they do, and the ending will leave you smiling after so much pain and sorrow.

Once you get past the first book, the second and third books will consume your life.

Man did I learn a lot. Every Sunday roast with the family concludes with either a debate about rugby or politics, or a history lesson.

I've grown up learning about the wars, but I feel like I learned more about World War Two through Tatiana and Alexander's story than from all the history lessons I've had in my life. Although, I do still appreciate dad's unique take on the wars (salt and pepper shaker soldiers, fork trenches, pea bullets, you get the idea...)

So for those who like a book that cons you into learning something about history, makes you laugh, cry, and reassures you about the enduring power of love, read Tatiana and Alexander's story.

I'm now reading Tully by Paullina Simons due to its glowing reviews, and the first chapter has me hooked. Diana, you're still my favourite, but Paulina sure comes close.

Also, I just found out The Bronze Horseman is being made into a movie for release in 2012!

1 comment:

  1. These look wonderful--I enjoy Russian fiction from this time period. Upon searching this author online I stumbled across another author with similar series--Kate Furnivall. I personally haven't read her yet, but hers look good too! Rae