Flamingo, £6.99

Leningrad 1941, Hitler has just declared war on Russia, the hard lives of the impoverished Metanov family are about to become impossible. Tatiana is 16 years old; she and her family live in two rooms in a communal apartment in Leningrad. She works in a factory by day and lives in a tiny space with six other adults at night. On 22 June 1941 when the country officially went to war Tatiana's life changed forever. Alexander, a captain in the Red Army, has his own secrets. But on 22 June, he meets Tatiana Metanov, and suddenly the world becomes a brighter place.

As the war progresses and the Germans blockade Leningrad, the Metanov family struggle to survive and in Tatiana's case, Alexander is the only thing that keeps her going. But their's is a love that could tear the Metanov family apart, and Alexander carries a secret that would mean instant death if it was ever revealed.

'The Bronze Horseman' is the story of two young people in love trying to survive Hitler's vast war machine and a country that could crush their spirits. It is a tale of an impossible love. Where the question is 'how much are we prepared to lose to gain the whole world?'

Russian born author Paullina Simons based the novel on the experiences of her grandmother who survived in Leningrad through the German blockade. Simons also experienced first hand the difficulties of growing up in communist Russia.

To all intents and purposes this is a love story, but it also carries a certain ring of truth and is one of the best historical fictions I have read.

Charley Maine