This is going to be one of those reviews, so prepare yourself right now, okay? This is going to be a three star book review that reads like a rant of hatred, but, honestly, it's not. Every so often, there's a book you like, but that you have a lot of issues with, and you have to be up front about all of them. So, take this to heart: I did like The Bronze Horseman overall, despite my myriad issues.The Bronze Horseman and I were somewhat doomed from the start not to have as happy a relationship as hoped, sort of like Russia and communism. Basically, I looked at this gorgeous, highly recommended book, and I made a set of assumptions. Based on the size, I believed this would be a historical, an epic one, full of feels and delicious historical factoids. I was wrong, which isn't really the book's fault necessarily, but that still colored my enjoyment of it.Though historical fiction, The Bronze Horseman is first and foremost a romance novel. Now, I do not have anything against a good romance novel, but I really do not see the call for an 800 page romance novel. That just feels a mite excessive. A lot of readers are going to burn out along the way, I suspect. The first few hundred pages are romance, followed by some history, then a couple hundred pages of sexy times, and then more war-focused stuff. Readers here for historical will find the romance mind-numbing, and those just looking for sexy times will not appreciate the break to discuss starvation.Unsurprisingly, the bit in the middle where Alexander disappeared for a good chunk of time was my favorite. The romance took a back burner to a depiction of life in Leningrad during the Siege. Simons does a brilliant job portraying the hunger, the desperation, and the hopelessness of that experience. The realities of survival, and how most people didn't, are conveyed unflinchingly.Unfortunately, most of the book wasn't hard-hitting historical fiction: it was a romance that I just couldn't ship. From the beginning, I found Tatiana and Alexander's relationship off-putting, and I still haven't been able to forgive them for what assholes they were for so long. Now, I hope I can eventually so I can enjoy the next books in the series, but, for the moment, I'm very displeased with them.To explain why, I have to delve into some SPOILERS, so now's the time to look away if you don't want things spoiled.Tatiana and Alexander meet when she's just 17 and he's a soldier in the Red Army, several years older. The day they met, she was upset, unable to find food for her family on the day of the declaration of war, and comforting herself with creme brulee ice cream, when a soldier with eyes the color of her ice cream strikes up a conversation. His eye color already had me rolling my eyes with abandon, but it gets worse.Alexander does what any red-blooded (Soviet pun!) soldier would do for a pretty girl he's just seen licking a cone: takes her to buy food for her family from a special store for the military. Once she has what she needs, he escorts her home, only to discover that he has flirted with her sister Dasha in the past. Dasha, who likes to hang around with soldiers if you know what I mean ;), immediately latches onto Alexander, with whom she believes herself to be in love. He exits swiftly, feeling really awkward, and Dasha proceeds to tell Tatiana how perfect he is and Tatiana fails to mention her own attraction to him.Everyday, Alexander shows up to meet Tatiana after work and they fall in love. Meanwhile, whenever he visits her house, he pretends to like Dasha and even brings along his skeevy friend Dimitri for Tatania. To be fair, Alexander just wants to tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may, but Tatiana is unwilling to hurt Dasha's feelings. This charade goes on forever, and Alexander eventually proposes to Dasha. Head, meet brick wall.All this time, Alexander's hooking up with both sisters, and I basically want to murder all of them. To make things worse, Alexander and Tatiana never have to fucking come clean about the deception to anyone. Conveniently Tatiana's whole family dies except for her, with Dasha the last hold out. Gag me, okay. Ugh. No love triangle should ever be resolved by the death of one of the people in the love triangle. It's the coward's way out. Characters should have to face the consequences of their actions.Instead, Dasha dies and the two reunite and then have mind-blowing sex approximately fifty times a day for a month, until Alexander has to go back to work. While they're enjoying their honeymoon, he berates her for giving to much of herself to others and urges her to never leave his side. Of course, serving others is wrong, but she should do everything for her husband, because, you know, gender roles. Alexander is controlling, codependent, rude, and occasionally violent, not to mention a guy who would cheat on both his fiancee and his love for months. I can't root for that relationship. I just can't. Had I read this when I was a bit younger, perhaps when I was a teen, I would have been swept away by the romance and concern for the main characters, but now, as a jaded adult, I kept hoping for them to obtain comeuppance for their actions. The Bronze Horseman is a well-written romance in a historical setting, but do not come to it expecting to learn much about the Siege of Leningrad. This novel has more in common with Diana Gabaldon than Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn; that's not a bad thing, but was not what expected or wanted.