(Warning- Contains spoilers for the book)
I discovered The Bronze Horseman on Booktube about 2 years back when it was very popular there. All I knew was that the book was set in Russia during World War 11 and that its a love story. I was very intrigued because I really like Historical Fiction and this book sounded good. I was very surprised but happy to find a copy of this book in my local market a few months later. Since then, this book has remained unread on my shelf.
A few weeks back, Whitney from WhittyNovels (A booktuber I love watching and highly admire) was reading this book and posting her thoughts as she was reading it. You can find the Twitter thread here. She posted direct passages from the book. I was so shocked because I hadn’t heard that this book had such a toxic relationship. There are many positive reviews of this book on Goodreads that say it is an amazing love story. I just had to read it and see for myself.
The first 400 or so pages of the book are actually quite okay. The writing and pace are good. We see Tatiana’s family struggle through the war. I haven’t read many books on World War 11 so I cannot really judge how well the war aspect of this book was done. I will talk about the romance though.
Tatiana and Alexander meet and its an instant connection. Then they find out that Alexander has actually been seeing Tatiana’s sister Dasha for a while. This follows a series of unnecessary drama. Alexander continues to see Dasha while having stolen moments with Tatiana. Tatiana being the wonderful sister that she is, makes Alexander promise to not break Dasha’s heart and so they hide their feelings for each other from everyone. There’s also Alexander’s creepy friend Dimitri who is interested in Tatiana.
I couldn’t digest the stupid love triangle that was going on in the book. Also, Alexander continues to see Dasha and hook up with her while also confessing his love and feelings for Tatiana. Like WTH? I was constantly waiting for this to end soon but it continues for a very long time.
Then afterward, Dasha and the rest of Tatiana’s family dies and Tatiana is living with a family in Lazarevo. Alexander comes to meet her there following which is a huge, long argument between them. This argument is one of the most stupid and frustrating parts of this book. Tatiana accuses Alexander of not loving him, loving Dasha and completely stupid things. I honestly questioned the sanity of both of these characters. This argument goes on for pages and pages and I don’t know how I found the energy to continue with this book.
Until this point, there was a fair balance in the book between the war aspect and the romance but after this, for some pages, it is basically how they both get married and spend their days having sex. Then comes the worst part of this book.
Alexander becomes a disgusting, dominating, creepy, insensitive human being. He is rude to Tatiana’s relatives in Lazarevo and stops her from going to meet them. He is rude and insensitive. I also hated what Tatiana becomes. She submits to his every demand and says sorry when it’s not even her fault. Some of their intimate scenes made me sick. I suggest you read Whitney’s review if you want to know exactly what I’m talking about. After this, Alexander goes back to war and Tatiana returns to Leningrad when he specifically told her not to. When he discovers this, he flies into a hot rage and behaves even worse which I didn’t think was possible.
I skimmed over the last 100 pages because I just wanted to be done with this book as soon as possible. Stupid Melodramatic ending.
I have to say that the last few pages made me tear up a bit. This made me realize that this book had a lot of potential. It could have been an ‘epic love story’ just like it is described if only it had been handled properly. I’m in no way going to read the sequel.
This is completely my opinion of the book. If you loved this book, I respect your opinion so please respect mine as well.
What did you think of this book? I’m up for discussion in the comments section.