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Book Review of: The Bronze Horseman

We highly recommend The Bronze Horseman. This book is a "page turner," and you won't want to set it down. Order it here!

This book is cheap at any price. But, you can get it for less than $8.
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(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)

Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.

This is one of the most spell-binding books I have read in a very long time. Actually, I heard it on cassette, narrated by Kate Burton. Ms. Burton, a stage presence in her own right, is the daughter of Richard Burton. Obviously, the publishers thought highly of this book. And they had good reason to.

Ms. Simons was born and reared in Leningrad, and immigrated to the USA. She's written other books, including a sequel to this one. Unfortunately, the sequel (Tatiana and Alexander) is available in some countries (e.g., Australia) but not yet in the USA.

As a reader, you can't help but yearn for Tatiana and Alexander to realize their hopes and dreams. Yet, they face so many obstacles along the way that it's never certain they will. Their immense and powerful love for each other is evident, time after time.

The siege of Leningrad, in World War II, is something few American history books talk about. But, those of us who have read about what happened know how horrific it was. Ms. Simons lived there, and was able to talk to people who had--barely--lived through it. And that siege formed the backdrop for this intense tale of passion, betrayal, and danger.

It all began when 17-year old Tatiana was eating an ice cream on a beach when she noticed a Red Army soldier staring at her. Events moved forward from there. As Tatiana suffered one loss after another--her twin brother, her father, her mother, and her sister--Alexander showed his love for her. He often did so at great risk.

In fact, Alexander risked everything for Tatiana at the end of the novel. But, this love was not one-sided. Tatiana gave of herself, repeatedly--and also took great risks. This story is not about two young people who survive war. It's really about two young people caught in a complex web spun by other people--like the devious Dmitri--while the circumstances of war also bear down on them.

The Bronze Horseman brings romance, suspense, and adventure together into a story that is memorable and moving. That it's also entertaining, breathtaking, and heartbreaking is simply icing on a very tasty cake.

Ms. Simons has a few books published. I hope she writes many more of this caliber.



About these reviews

You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?

I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?

And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.

This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.

My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.

A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.

About your reviewer

  • Books are a passion of mine. I read dozens of them each year, plus I listen to audio books.
  • Most of my "reading diet" consists of nonfiction. I think life is too short to use your limited reading time on material that has little or no substance. That leads into my next point...
  • In 1990, I stopped watching television. I have not missed it. At all.
  • I was first published as a preteen. I wrote an essay, and my teacher submitted it to the local paper.
  • For six years, I worked as an editor for a trade publication. I left that job in 2002, and still do freelance editing and authoring for that publication (and for other publications).
  • No book has emerged from my mind onto the best-seller list. So maybe I'm presumptuous in judging the work of others. Then again, I do more describing than judging in my reviews. And I have so many articles now published that I stopped counting them at 6,000. When did I stop? Probably 20,000 articles ago! (It's been a while).
  • I have an engineering degree and an MBA, among other "quant" degrees. That helps explain my methodical approach toward reviews.
  • You probably don't know anybody who has made a perfect or near perfect score on a test of Standard Written English. I have. So, a credential for whatever it's worth.

About reading style

No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.

Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.

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