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The Red Scarf

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,783 Ratings  ·  494 Reviews
The Russian Concubine dazzled readers. Now, its gifted author delivers another sweeping historical novel.

Davinsky Labor Camp, Siberia, 1933: Only two things in this wretched place keep Sofia from giving up hope: the prospect of freedom, and the stories told by her friend and fellow prisoner Anna, of a charmed childhood in Petrograd, and her fervent girlhood love for a pas
Paperback, 470 pages
Published June 24th 2008 by Berkley (first published January 1st 2008)
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The Bronze Horseman by Paullina SimonsAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyTatiana and Alexander by Paullina SimonsDoctor Zhivago by Boris PasternakWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Historical Fiction: Russia
18th out of 173 books — 276 voters
Phantom Wolf by Kia Carrington-RussellPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerSam Certainly Can by Bridgitte LesleyJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Books with an interwoven love story
21st out of 133 books — 239 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Unfortunately I was unable to finish this book – which is not something that happens to me very often. I hadn't heard of Under a Blood Red Sky until I saw it in the library and I thought I'd give it a try as I love historical fiction set in Russia.

However, right from the beginning of the book I felt we were being asked to accept things that weren't plausible. The whole plot was just too far-fetched for me. The other (bigger) problem I had with this book was that I couldn't connect with any of t
Mar 18, 2014 Beatrix marked it as did-not-finish
DNF at 40%

I really wanted to like this book, I really did.
I have a soft spot for all things Russian and books set in the Russian past are some of my favorites.

Sadly, this one was just not good.

The Red Scarf is all over the place. At first I didn't mind multiple POVs, I thought it added to the diversity of the novel, but as it's written in third person, after a while it became really confusing. Especially since the author switched between characters repeatedly.

Also constantly reading 'Spasibo. T
Feb 15, 2009 Toni rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult
Whoa. Great book. I actually described the plot to my family at dinner yesterday and my husband sarcastically said, "It sounds really boring." My six-year-old son replied,"No it sound really exciting!"

I didn't know much about Russia in the 1930s or even anything about the Russian Revolution except for what happened to the Tsar's family. This book has given me a picture of what it might have been like to live in Russia in that time period. Sofia escapes from a Siberian Gulag in order to save a f
Mar 05, 2009 Chris rated it it was amazing
Awesome! Absolutely loved this in depth story about a split Russia in 1933 under Stalin's reign. In a Siberian women's labor camp we get to know two women, Sofia and Anna. Anna came from a well-to-do family and tells Sofia stories of Vasily, a family friend and revolutionary who she has been in love with since childhood. Sofia escapes the labor camp to find Vasily, their only hope in saving a dying Anna. Sofia finds the village where Vasily is now living under a different name. These are difficu ...more
May 14, 2015 Blair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have nursed a slight obsession with Russia for years, so I was naturally intrigued by this, despite my concern that it might turn out to be a syrupy romance. I needn't have worried - it's a fantastically enjoyable, fast-paced adventure packed with unexpected twists and complex characters. And although this is primarily a novel about love and friendship, the attention to historical detail is extraordinary, making the book's depiction of life in Stalin's Russia incredibly vivid and believable. T ...more
Mishelle LaBrash
Feb 26, 2010 Mishelle LaBrash rated it really liked it
Okay, I confess, I picked up this book, and devoured it because of its obvious semblance to 'The Bronze Horseman' by Paullina Simons..

Yes it's backround is set in Russia, during Stalin's reign. Yes, there is relentless suffering, starvation, and those whom grasp onto almost anything, in an attempt of survival during a horrific time. Yes, It is a love story... But that is where the similarities end.

Sofia and Anna, are best friends, torn from their families, and all they've known and loved, thro
Aug 23, 2010 Nikki rated it liked it
If I had to used one word to describe this book it would be awkward. The way in which Furnivall wrote the book was awkward, the addition of Russian words was awkward and the way the plot was treated was awkward! The premise of the book is wonderful, I just don't feel as though Furnivall was able to get it to its full potential--Paullina Simons would have done a better job with the storyline.

It took more than half of the book for me to feel ANY connection to the characters whatsoever. The additi
Jack Coleman
Aug 21, 2013 Jack Coleman rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the read it was an ok story, but Russian Atheists don't have
horns sticking out there heads any more than modern Catholics are architects of the Inquisition . Spare me the occult crap.I gives me a
real Siberian chill reflecting on how many people gave this book 5 stars!
Nov 26, 2009 Kara rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be the best I read all Summer. I boughtthe book in an airport bookstore while I was away for a work conference. I began reading it on my plane ride home and found that I could not resist finishing it. I love historical fiction and have been interested in the Russian gulag camps since I read "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" in the tenth grade. Like Solzhenitsyn's piece, Furnivall created a detailed setting that allowed the reader to understand the brutal working condi ...more
Nov 22, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it
I'm glad I read this book, why I don't know. I had a VERY Russian uncle so I got to giggle through out this story as things reminded me of him & how he talked & how absurd it sounded. Not much to say except I felt the hard times of Sofia & Anna a little on the light side for me. I read things were difficult & sad off the pages but never really felt it. I don't know if that even makes sense. I'm usually not too surpised by twists in stories, but I'll admitt I had "Whoa, what the?! ...more
Feb 24, 2009 Jayci rated it it was amazing
Imprisoned in a Russian labor camp during the 30's, Sofia is subjected to physical abuse and near starvation--finding comfort only in her friendship with Anna. Anna was once a privledged daughter of a doctor shares stories of parties, warm foods, and lavish clothing, and the love she has for a revolutionary named Vasily. As Anna succumbs to the sickness that the brutal winters bring, Sofia knows she must escape the camp to save her friend. Finding herself in a small village, Sofia tries to inter ...more
Mar 16, 2013 Emilie rated it liked it
Best lines:

Now she could see clearly the look of loneliness in his young face, the need for something that felt like love even if it wasn't.

But he wasn't hers. She was stealing him. An ache started up in her chest.

A tiny worm of jealousy squirmed into being,, and she stamped on it again and again until it was nothing but a green lifeless smear. Sofia would never betray her.

She plunged under the surface of the water, a cold black world where you couldn't tell which way was up and which way was do
Aug 02, 2008 Jennie rated it really liked it
Really, this book deserves 3.5 stars, but since that isn't an option I was generous. As someone who doesn't generally like historical fiction I was happy to enjoy this book.

Admittedly, there was not a lot of "action" initially in the book, but the development of the relationships between the characters was wonderful. THe description of not only their conditions in the camp but Russian society as a whole were very detailed and complex. Nothing in the depiction of the society was one dimensional a
Mar 10, 2011 Antoinette rated it did not like it
I don't want to insult any creative writers that may read this, but I have to say this book reminded me a lot of fan fiction. The characters were so completely blank that it seemed impossible that the writer gave birth to them. This book just didn't come alive for me. I hope you all know I'm not a book snob. I really do like reading everything (including fan fiction), and I am terrible with grammar. Yet, even I noticed some mistakes with editing. There is something seriously wrong with a book wh ...more
Feb 16, 2015 Connie rated it really liked it
I had to work hard with this book, not because it was difficult to read but because I was so transported into the story. I was right there in the Russian labor camp in the 30s, but then I escaped and had a hell of a time before coming to a small town in the Ural Mountains. My mission was to find a particular person and talk him into coming back to the labor camp for his long lost sweetheart. In the meantime I fell passionately in love. I'm exhausted, I tell you!

I read this book in one sitting, could not put it down until 2AM when I finished. The story is captivating, the characters are people we care about, and there are twists and turns you never see coming. I loved Furnivall's the Russian Concubine, but I think I love this one even more.

The tie of friendship between Sofia and Anna has faced unbelievable strife, yet that tie only grows stronger as they are apart and Sofia will do anything to find Vasily and save her best friends life. The author does
 Soph - Lock&Key
This was me trying to venture out of my usual reading genres (aka a lot of NA and YA). I wanted something that was a little more Heavy, made me feel more, and expressed a different outlook on events. When I came up with this checklist I was positive that historical fiction was the way to go, and for the most part THE RED SCARF worked a charm; with it's rich plot and captivating events, mixed with history, there was not a lot wrong with it. However, although I did enjoy this, there was something ...more
May 15, 2014 Preeti rated it liked it
While walking down an aisle in the library, I was drawn to ‘The Red Scarf’, as if by a force of magnetism. Historical fiction has always intrigued me - particularly Russian Revolution and its aftermath. So, a story based on the inhuman Siberian labor camps combined with the grit and courage of a woman who overcomes it for the love of her fellow prisoner and best friend seemed like something I shouldn’t miss.

I must admit - the book is a page turner. I sneaked out of my bedroom many a nights to go
Vibha Hegde
Nov 21, 2015 Vibha Hegde rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the cold waste lands to the sunny happy place, Kate Furnivall has made me feel each and every emotion in this book. The whole story is based in the lands of Russia when the fugitives were tortured to death and Enemy of the people were put in labor camps, again to be useful before they meet their ultimate sentence. But even in this scenario, young Sophia Morozova escapes the camp to save her dear friend Anna Fedorina. Remember the distractions of the free world can change anyone's mind or be ...more
Jun 02, 2014 Paige rated it liked it
So for some reason I am drawn to stories that take place in this period of Russian history. I cannot say why, because most of them are heartbreaking, but I just get emotionally pulled into them. In any case, this was my second book by this author, and I really enjoyed it. Nothing overly deep or original here, but the slight mix of the mystical in with such a cold period of time was very well crafted. I enjoyed the characters as well, the relationships they formed with each other and how they "pl ...more
Jul 13, 2008 Fran rated it really liked it
This is a historical novel about communist Russia in the 1930's and the relationship between two women who meet in a death labor camp. The story takes many twists and turns as Sophia escapes to help her friend Anna who is sick. A great read.
Jul 12, 2015 Kristen rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jean Ahn
Feb 09, 2015 Jean Ahn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a gripping story. Friendship and loyalty of two women met in labour camp was constant and everlasting throughout the book.
Nov 09, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it
I was honestly thrown for a loop with the unraveling secrets towards the end of the book. I won't spoil the ending, but I highly recommend it of you're looking for a story with a book twist! :)
Victoria Budkey
Jan 05, 2016 Victoria Budkey rated it liked it
At least it ended okay.
Too much filler though.
I did like the political stuff in it.
I didn't like the romantic stuff in it.
Feb 27, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
" Under a Blood Red Sky" which has now been republished as "The Red Scarf" is set in 1930's Soviet Russia. Two young women, Anna and Sofia, are both imprisoned in a gulag in Siberia. The description of the conditions in the camp are as terrible as they are described in the book. One thing keeps both women going and that is Anna's stories about her childhood love, Vasily. Sofia seeing that her friend's health is deteriorating makes a vow that she will somehow manage to escape the camp and find V ...more
Jul 21, 2008 Rena rated it it was amazing
I loved this story. It had a lot of different story elements and the characters were very likable.
Feb 03, 2016 Marian rated it liked it
This book is about living in Russia during the '30's as Stalin's communism gathers across the land. Sophia has escaped the gulag and goes in search of Vasily who is her friend's long lost love. She ends up in the village where he lives and tries to think of how she can go back to rescue her friend, Anna. Everyone can be an informer and the outlook for many is very bleak. The red scarf of the title is only mentioned a few times so I do not know why it is the title. To live happily in this land, y ...more
Allie Burke
Dec 01, 2014 Allie Burke rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My love for Kate Furnivall started with the Russian Concubine books, which read like mature YA, but they had nothing on The Red Scarf. There are a few really good historical romances, but this one is by far the best that I've read.

Furnivall has a fantastic ability to show pain and suffering through the beauty of lyrical writing. The Red Scarf is dark, and it's cold, and as you get towards the end of the book, it shocks you with its intensity, yet it reads like a stylized romance. It's one of th
I have a soft spot for any novel set in Russia, so I was really looking forward to reading the Red Scarf.
I think it was an OK story, I didn't get bored reading, but there are a few things that annoyed me. This is a real shame as the plot twist was excellent, I think, and could have been used more in the story. The descriptions of people suffering in the labour camp and what life was for people were good.

What annoyed me:

- The fact that we are given random Russian words at random time, and their t
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Kate Furnivall was raised in Penarth, a small seaside town in Wales. Her mother, whose own childhood was spent in Russia, China and India, discovered at an early age that the world around us is so volatile, that the only things of true value are those inside your head and your heart. These values Kate explores in The Russian Concubine.

Kate went to London University where she studied English and fr
More about Kate Furnivall...

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