13 Feb

If you loved The Bronze Horseman trilogy by Paullina Simons than you might have done one of the following after completing it. 1. Read the trilogy several more times.  2.  Read only the parts you loved several times. 3. Looked for books similar to The Bronze Horseman. Or 4. Did all of the above. Hahaha! Regardless, the fact is, you are hooked on historical fiction. In this article we will discuss what is historical fiction. What makes The Bronze Horseman so addictive? Plus discuss a couple of author’s similar to Paullina Simons. 


 “Historical fiction presents a story that takes place during a notable period in history, and often during a significant event in that period. Setting usually takes priority in a work of historical fiction, and the author should be making some sort of statement or observation about the period where and/or when the work is taking place.[3] Historical fiction often presents events from the point of view of fictional characters of that time period. Events portrayed in historical fiction must adhere to the laws of nature.

In some historical fiction, famous events appear from points of view. Historical figures are also often shown dealing with these events while depicting them in a way that has not been previously recorded. Other times, a historical event is used to complement a story’s narrative, occurring in the background while characters deal with situations (personal or otherwise) wholly unrelated to that historical event. Sometimes, the names of people and places have been in some way altered.”[1]


The main draw to this trilogy for me was the realism in the narrative. Meaning the historical fiction used to establish the characters personalities, ideology and circumstances give weight and complexity to this love story that’s difficult to dismiss and therefore setting it apart from the traditional romance genre built on fantasy and melodrama.  

 Below are some blogsites that discuss why this epic story is so addictive.

 1.      Page to Silver Screen

 2.      Smexybooks.com

3.      SMITTENS Book Club

4.      My Bronze Horseman Purgatory


Kate Furnivall- Does something quite amazing in her novels and that is she spares none of her characters from the harsh realities of life.  Taking her characters and readers on a ride that’s unforgettable makes this love story (set in 1910 Communist Russia and 1920 China) believable.  Yet, for all the harsh realities the characters endure she rewards them with passionate and poetic love scenes to help soothe the reader during the bumpy ride.  By the end of the ordeal you have fallen in love with the characters and their struggles. The only downfall to Furnivall writing is the pacing. The level of detail often feels overwhelming and unnecessary and slows down the reader which can be frustrating. Yet, by the middle the pacing picks up and you find yourself revisiting earlier parts of the narrative for clarity. Let me make it clear. Every detail Furnivall gives the reader has a purpose and is well crafted to support the story.  I would love to see this trilogy made into a film.

 The Jewel of St. Petersburg (the first book in the series)

The Russian Concubine  (the second book in the series)

The Girl from Junchow (the conclusion third book in the series)

 Jennifer Donnelly- I enjoyed The Tea Rose trilogy simply because Donnelly makes the reader feel they’ve been transported back to 1888 East London the time of Jack the Ripper almost effortlessly. The pacing is very good, the characters are funny and likable, I mean everything seemed to work out well for these characters (a little too well) making this trilogy too melodramatic and unreal at times.  The love story that threads throughout is very compelling but again too melodramatic because the triangle most love stories are built on was too unbalanced. For example the obstacle that comes between the two main characters in The Tea Rose is plausible but the situation that results from the obstacle drags on way too long making the final reunion a bit ridiculous. After awhile it begins to work against the narrative and likable characters that were so well crafted in the beginning. None, the less it’s still a nice read and I could definitely see this as a HBO miniseries.

 The Tea Rose (the first book in the series)

The Winter Rose (the second book in the series)

The Wild Rose (the conclusion third book in the series)



  1. openbook February 13, 2014 at 3:06 PM #

    I chose not to focus on the historical fiction part of both Kate Furnivall & Jennifer Donnelly books because I wanted to comment about it during the discussion. However, you can click on the books Title to get more description of the time period it’s set in.

  2. parisienne February 13, 2014 at 8:46 PM #

    For me, what makes TBH and the other books in the series so addictive is the fact that the characters are so well fleshed out and real the reader doesn’t stop to think if any of the history was real. I didn’t the first time I read them.

    • Open Book February 15, 2014 at 10:57 AM #

      “the characters are so well fleshed out and real the reader doesn’t stop to think if any of the history was real.”

      EXACTLY!!! What makes the characters for example Alexander so real to u? I will say what made Alexander so real to me was how he responded to his predicament it was so authentic not formulaic at all. I mean even his foibles seemed authentic. Tatiana was so well crafted depicting youth, being the youngest of her family and a reflection of her environment. So at times I felt she was a combination of stereotypes in the beginning until the second and third book of the trilogy but it was nice to see in contrast to Alexander who was so original. Can u think of any other fictional character in a novel written as well as Paullina wrote Alexander and I will add Dimmitri? Also, Dimittri was a royal well written A-hole character. 🙂

      • littlebells February 15, 2014 at 8:23 PM #

        I agree with what Paris said. I think what makes all of the characters so real and relatable is this: dialogue and experiences were very real. I remember reading conversations and thinking, “That’s exactly what you would say!” Alexander’s reactions to Tatiana always seemed dead on. particularly when she was talking to him about his sleazy boss (ca’t remember his name). She didn’t like him from the start and when she would confront her husband, he would brush it aside or say something to counter her. I’ve been there! It’s very hard to take a character seriously when their dialogue is just ridiculous.

        Paullina digs deep relationships and conversations with her characters. She really did not hold back on the realities of life and love and I think that (aside from great history) has made TBH so popular.

        • Open Book February 18, 2014 at 3:11 PM #

          LB U stated “Paullina digs deep relationships and conversations with her characters.”

          That is so true and the best way to describe her character development. Have u read Tully by Paullina?

  3. littlebells February 14, 2014 at 12:15 AM #

    1. Guilty
    2. Guilty
    3. Guilty
    4. Guilty!!!!

    I look forward to this discussion. Excellent article topic!

    • Open Book February 15, 2014 at 10:59 AM #


      LB-What other books have u read that were similar to TBH or Paullina Simons?

      Have u read any of the books I listed above in my article? If so what did u think of them?

      • littlebells February 15, 2014 at 8:23 PM #

        Honestly, I haven’t read any of her other books. I’m almost scared to because I’m afraid of being disappointed. I have also not read the books you listed, but am eager to check them out of my library and get back to you!

        • Open Book February 18, 2014 at 3:23 PM #

          ” I haven’t read any of her other books.”

          Ok! Totally forget my statement about Tully up above. Hahaha!

          Anyway, I have read “Tully” and it’s really good too. Very strong three dimensional character and story. I can’t believe that was her first novel. U won’t be disappointed.Trust me.

          Well I hope u get a chance to read the other books I listed.

          I just finished reading “The Typewriter Girl” another Historical Fiction book. I’m about to begin reading “The Aviator’s Wife” and “Life After Life” then “Z” about Zelda Fitzgerald.” I’m not sure which one I will read next but they are all HF novels and on my reading list for the next few weeks including “Somewhere in Time”… 🙂

  4. Open Book February 15, 2014 at 11:02 AM #

    Which one do u prefer to read? A fantasy, melodramatic romance story or a historical fiction romance story?

    • littlebells February 15, 2014 at 8:29 PM #

      I really enjoy historical fiction stories, romance or non-romance. I feel that the realism of the setting adds to the intensity of the story. It’s as though the story REALLY could have happened. Of course the author should do a great deal of historical research because if that is not accurate, then the story goes nowhere for me real fast. One of my other favorite authors, Wally Lamb, wrote a book “The Hour I First Believed”. His story is loosely tied to the Columbine shooting. The shooting is more background text than actual story, however, because of the the history and his ability to create characters with depth, strengths, and weaknesses, I found his book incredibly engaging. I actually have three of his books in my own personal library for the mere fact that I can find so many little life lessons within the pages. He gets me thinking and I like to be able to go back and read these little gems.

      • Open Book February 18, 2014 at 3:40 PM #

        So true HF makes the story so believable. A book I just finished reading “The Typewriter Girl” was very compelling and I fell in love with the characters Betsey and Mr. Jones. Atlee, demonstrates the strength and courage of a woman willing to work hard to take care of herself. Yet, she does not lose the sensual traits and dainty trends of being a woman. Great read.

    • littlebells February 15, 2014 at 8:29 PM #

      What about you OB? What is your favorite and why?

      • Open Book February 18, 2014 at 3:42 PM #

        Hmmm! That’s a difficult Q for me 😦

      • Open Book February 19, 2014 at 2:35 PM #

        Sorry, LB I wasn’t trying to weasel out of answering your question. I just needed time to think. Especially, after u answered my questions so thoughtful and well. Hopefully, I can be clear and concise and not ramble on and on. Hahaha!

        Given we’ve talked about Paullina Simons I’m going to select her. Simply because I’ve never read an author that has captured my imagination and made me think long after I’ve read the books also all her stories are very well researched historically, unpredictable and very spiritual (like u and Paris stated) she digs deep and sometimes it’s not pretty. I’ve read almost all of her books except her latest book but her characters all have the same quality that TBH has. I hope that answers your question.

  5. littlebells February 15, 2014 at 8:32 PM #

    Another favorite is “To Kill A Mockingbird”. It’s ties to the south and segregations and racism of what was going on at that time adds a richness to the story. Again, history gives the fictional story a bit of “this could have happened”.

    • Open Book February 18, 2014 at 3:46 PM #

      Soooooo! Well said I agree 100%. History, good historical research and events makes the story and characters come alive.

  6. the place between sleep and awake March 8, 2014 at 3:28 PM #

    I love this book SO much.

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