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The Red Scarf

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  4,009 Ratings  ·  522 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 SimonsWar and Peace by Leo TolstoyDoctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Historical Fiction: Russia
19th out of 181 books — 319 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
24th out of 152 books — 246 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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 ...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. ...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!
Alix ~*A Dream Needs Believing to Taste Like the Real Thing*~  [Semi-Hiatus]
3.5 stars

What to expect
A somewhat confusing but quite well-done historical novel with a hint of fantasy. At times it doesn't seem entirely realistic, but it flows well most of the time. Many of the same problems I had with Furnivall's first book The Russian Concubine are still present to a lesser degree. The book is shorter, so I was less impatient, the character's mission came before the romance so I became a bit more sympathetic to Sofia before she fell in love with Mikhail. There is also raci
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
I started reading this book and was hooked. The storyline, involving a young woman trying to escape (and rescue her friend from) a labor camp in Siberia, was immediately appealing. Well-developed characters, fast-moving plot, detailed historical setting, skillful interweaving of past and present, it had it all.

Unfortunately, the book only went downhill from there.

At face value, it looks good, and The Red Scarf has a lot of potential--so much that I was sorry to see how quickly it devolved. Fur
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 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
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 ...more
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 ...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 ...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 ...more

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
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!
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.
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.
Aug 29, 2016 Katie rated it 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! :)
Jean Ahn
Mar 20, 2016 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.
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.
Jayme Barnard
Oct 22, 2016 Jayme Barnard rated it really liked it
There were irritating things like the mixed Russian/English words and there was a bit of disconnect with the transitions between chapters at times. It had strange components to it like Gypsy magic (which I find intriguing). The ending wasn't very satisfying to me. It abruptly tied loose ends together and made a happily ever after (despite the feeling of running into a full speed into a brick wall and landing on a padded floor).
Overall, I did enjoyed the story. I enjoy trying to pick up clues fr
Rhiannon Dillon
Nov 03, 2016 Rhiannon Dillon rated it did not like it
This just isn't my kind of book. I loved the first one on the series but have found that the following prequel and sequel are not as good. It feels like it is moving too much towards a Mills and Boon type read. I stopped reading when the protagonist asked herself if she was a greedy bee.
Oct 26, 2010 Anita rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, romance
When thinking about trying to summarize The Red Scarf for a review, I found it very difficult. Kate Furnivall has written such a completely intertwined story that pretty much every moment from beginning to end is significant. As I write reviews, in most cases I like to be sensitive and not give away pertinent information to anyone who may be reading the review. I might give away names of characters or a side plot or something, but not something that will ruin the entire book for the reader. Belo ...more
I was captivated within the first few pages of this novel. It was nicely written with a very intriguing story and setting. I was really expecting to learn a lot about the culture and period of Russia during Stalin's reign. I *did* get an introductory sense of that, but unfortunately, I'm not a big fiction reader, so I lost interest within in the 1st 100 pages. The story was paced too slowly for me. I don't mind romance, but it was too much of a focal point for me and gave it that soap ...more
Julie H.
Jul 06, 2009 Julie H. rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
OMG I finally finished this book. I feel as though I escaped a gulag and walked all across Siberia. Twice.

Seriously though, this story is epic in scope and spans the fall of tsarist Russia to the Bolsheviks and then the rise of the Communist state. First and foremost it is the tale of the friendship of Sofia and Anna who are interned at the Davinsky Labor Camp in Siberia. The two women cobble together a friendship against the backdrop of inhumane conditions, ill-health, crushing hopelessness, an
Christina Patterson
Sep 20, 2016 Christina Patterson rated it really liked it
Based on some reviews, I didn't go into this book with really high hopes, but I like Funivall, so I wanted to give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The first half was probably 3 stars, but the last half of the book was 4 stars. I just couldn't put it down - it just kept pulling me along. Ideally, I would like to give this 3.75 stars. I wasn't really into the mystical stuff, but it played a very small part. I liked the twist towards the end that I didn't expect at ...more
Mar 08, 2013 Jeanette rated it did not like it
Shelves: my-books
The Red Scarf has a delightful premise: two women meet and fall into friendship in a Russian labour camp, suffering side-by-side in true solidarity under some of the harshest conditions ever imposed by human beings on human beings. Anna and Sofia share stories back and forth to help them survive, but slowly, the hard work, the harsh winter, and the lack of food is wearing them down. Sofia realizes Anna won't survive another winter. She escapes and begins on a wild adventure to find Anna's one ...more
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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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