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The Russian concubine by Kate Furnivall

The Russian concubine (2006)

by Kate Furnivall

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7153113,174 (3.49)27



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I agree with many people who commented here - why the title. There were no concubines in the true sense of the word. Enjoyed the book though. ( )
  alisonb60 | Jan 20, 2014 |
Lydia Ivanova and her mother fled war-torn Russia as the Communists came into power and wound up in China with no passports and very little hope. But 16-year-old Lydia is a survivor and finds ways to make ends meet. One day she meets Chang An Lo, a Chinese Communist who saves her life. The sparks are instant, but the cultural divide is huge.

This is another book that I wanted to give more stars to. I tore through it, breathlessly waiting to see what happened next. Overall, I wasn't disappointed. It was a solid story with enough twists and turns to keep me interested. But there was one HUGE thing that I can't let go.

*************************SLIGHT SPOILER********************************

Why on earth was the title of this book The Russian Concubine? Is my definition of concubine wrong? I did not see any concubines, Russian, Chinese, or otherwise, in this story anywhere. Was it just a ploy to make us think it was racier than it was? I don't get it.

****************************END SPOILER*********************************

There were a few other threads that weren't tied up at all, beyond the obvious fact that a sequel will be coming.

So, this was enjoyable, and maybe the problems I saw were things that I just missed. I was in bed with a cold as I read it, after all. I've asked the questions I had in a group here, hoping someone can explain what I missed. That may make me change my mind. But right now, it was a good book that could have been better. I will look for the sequel though.

( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
Present from the birthday RABCK group 2012.
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
Don't let the 500 plus pages scare you off. This story starts off with a bang and runs from there. The setting of post WWI China and the plight country-less White Russians made this story fascinating. Despite the fact that I found the central romantic characters to be too young to be believable, I became caught up in the drama of their lives and times. There are Chinese gangsters, Russian royalty reduced to crushing poverty, Chinese communist fighters, and English bureaucrats to name a few of the characters. It's a portrait of a society in transition. Making this even more fascinating is that the author based the story on the history of her own grandmother. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel and prequel to this story. ( )
  sgsain | Nov 12, 2011 |
Very interesting and action-packed book about the relationship between a White Russian refugee girl and a Chinese Communist boy in Jungchow, China during the 1920's. Lots of uptight Englishmen, Russian ex-aristrocracy, cautious Chinese and gangsters from all sides. The cultural melting pot keeps it interesting, the characters are varied although at times a little predictable, but not terribly so. The story is very rich, can be gruesome and gets pretty steamy near the end. All in all a fun read. ( )
  eenerd | Feb 26, 2011 |
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In memory of my mother, Lily Furnivall, whose story inspired my own. With love.
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The train growled to a halt.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 042521558X, Paperback)

A sweeping novel set in war-torn 1928 China, with a star-crossed love story at its center.

In a city full of thieves and Communists, danger and death, spirited young Lydia Ivanova has lived a hard life. Always looking over her shoulder, the sixteen-year-old must steal to feed herself and her mother, Valentina, who numbered among the Russian elite until Bolsheviks murdered most of them, including her husband. As exiles, Lydia and Valentina have learned to survive in a foreign land.

Often, Lydia steals away to meet with the handsome young freedom fighter Chang An Lo. But they face danger: Chiang Kai Shek's troops are headed toward Junchow to kill Reds like Chang, who has in his possession the jewels of a tsarina, meant as a gift for the despot's wife. The young pair's all-consuming love can only bring shame and peril upon them, from both sides. Those in power will do anything to quell it. But Lydia and Chang are powerless to end it.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:41 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In 1928, Lydia Ivanova and her mother struggle to make ends meet in China's whites-only International Settlement, where Lydia meets Chang An Lo, who endangers Lydia's life when his anti-communist activities draw the attention of the government, leaving him to trust Lydia to protect the priceless jewels he has stolen.… (more)

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