As a person thoroughly intrigued by all things Russian, it was a no-brainer for me to read this book. I was not disappointed by the history of Russia, particularly Leningrad, during WWII contained within this book. But the true essence of this book is a love story, a wonderful love story. The love between Tatiana and Alexander is not only believable but enviable. The book exemplifies survival through love.
The only problem I had with the book was really a small issue considering the size of the book, but approximately page 600-700 needed an editor. I think Simons became a tad extreme with regards to her need to include sex. The point of her including this is clear, however, the point could have been made much easier. In addition, the sex frequently feels as though it is distracting from the true story. Soon after these pages, however, Simons recovers and it feels more in line with the first 500 wonderful pages.
In the end, the book is a thoroughly good read and I cannot wait to read the next in the series. It doesn't help that Simons leaves you with a cliffhanger ending!!! Highly recommended.