Bronze Horseman

The Bronze Horseman - Paullina Simons 5 STARSIt's either I'm getting easier to please or June really might be my Epic Reads Month.I don't even know why I'm trying to fashion a review for this book. It's impossible. How do you encapsulate the depth and scope of a love story between a 17-year old girl and a 22-year old Red Army soldier in Soviet Russia on the cusp of WWII? Between someone like Tatiana Metanova and someone like Alexander Belov?I'm not even sure how this book burrowed a hole in my heart and settled comfortably somewhere between my love of SPAM (mmm... Garlic SPAM) and BBC documentaries. Because I very rarely touch historical romance books, especially those set in the 20th century. Especially those that at it's core involved some of the usual tropes that would earn an eye-roll from me under usual circumstances. Maybe the only way I can overlook insta-love, a virgin heroine and a beyond frustrating love triangle in a plot is if it's set in Communist Russia in 1942.Alexander and Tatia's story belong in a shelf, apart from the mass produced tropes of the tortured alpha male hero and the guileless, spirited heroine who fall in love, run into some obstacles, fight, have sex, rinse, repeat. You want epic love? This is love in it's grandest, heart-rending, soul-shattering scale. What both these characters had to endure, what they both had to be to each other and to the rest of the world was sometimes beyond credulity in its madness (especially towards the end). Half the time, I was hoping, praying for Alexander to bust out a Delorean, confessing to Tatiana he belongs to the future and that their next problem would be they might be late for the matinee screening of a drive-thru movie (especially after that Leningrad winter) just to make it stop.Then you realize is it really inconceivable? Or is it just the sad fact that the world just doesn't make Shuras and Tatias out of men and women anymore? Not saying we should go have WWIII just for the fun of it just so a man who wants a table would learn to go out in the forest, cut the wood and MAKE the table, just to be clear. I was easily enamored by Alexander's character but Tatia was a bit of a slow burn for me. Particularly her near self-destructive generosity of kindness and life in the face of despair and devastation. There were moments I wanted to smack some sense into that woman that in the end was outnumbered by the moments I coveted the very things that I initially gave her grief for. One can only aspire to have such immeasurable good in one human form.Alexander shook his head."How do you do that?" he asked. "Find comfort? Through anything. How?""Because I've been comforted by the master," she said, kissing his forehead.While this was in its core a romance novel, it was the non-corporal characters of Communist Russia and war that held my fascination most. Two things I claim no knowledge of at any perceivable depth. And yet the horror of the devastation that comes along with man's depravity reaches across the pages, gripping you with cold, sobering hands that people actually lived to tell the story of that nightmare.I've put off reading this book for so long because reading something with 900++ kindle pages isn't particularly enticing. That's like reading 3 contemporary romance books about a rock star, a playboy billionaire and/or a tattooed biker… all of which are keeping you from one of the most meaningful, brilliantly written romance you might ever read."All great things worth having require great sacrifice worth giving."Think about it.