The Red Scarf
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The Red Scarf

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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  3,087 ratings  ·  437 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 p...more
ebook, 480 pages
Published June 24th 2008 by Berkley (first published January 1st 2008)
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Helen
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...more
Beatrix
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...more
Toni
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...more
Blair
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
Chris
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
Shell Schroth
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...more
Kara
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
Nikki
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...more
Jessica
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
Jayci
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
Emilie
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...more
Jennie
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...more
Toni
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
Jack Coleman
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!
Fran
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.
Rosanne
A mystical, magical book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Powerfully written and a pleasure to read, it made me feel like I was there. This book I highly recommend.
Erin
" 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
Rena
I loved this story. It had a lot of different story elements and the characters were very likable.
Toni Osborne
This is an epic that expertly creates the atmosphere of the time and place, an admirable work of historical fiction that vividly transports the reader to a Siberian labour camp during the 1930’s. The novel portrays the hardships endured by the detainees while dramatizing the convictions that motivated the Soviet leaders and the resistance.

The story is the ultimate will to survive of Sofia and her friend Anna while incarcerated in a desolate work camp in the frozen Russian taiga. Their only relie...more
Laurie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dawn
Once again, Furnivall has crafted a story that is engrossing, emotional and just all around wonderful.
This is a story of Russia at a time when everyone was suspect and life was full of secrets, in the 1930's and before WW 2.
Sofia and Anne are both in a labor camp when we begin the story. They are starving, overworked, cold and have little hope of leaving the labor camp alive. Their lives are little better than being dead.
Anne keeps herself and Sofia from utter despondency by telling of her past...more
Victoria
I don't know what it is about Kate Furnivall's novels that makes me keep picking them up, I'm usually a bit disappointed with them, and this one was no exception - but I digress. I thought this sounded like a great read, and I guess it could be for the right person, but not for me. It was just okay for me. Once again I liked the cover and design of the chapter pages, but...there was just too much...story. I do love a long engrossing read, but there's always something, something in her books that...more
Rachael
I really enjoyed this book. It was a real on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of book which is just what i like. It's also a very romantic book which is always good. Combine these two factors and you're bound to get a very enjoyable read.

It is based in Communist Russia in 1933 and it intruduces you to the two main characters, Sophia and Anna who are best friends inside a hidious and brutal labour camp. Anna tells sophia many stories of her past and of Vasily (a boy she loves) to help pass the time and...more
Julie H.
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...more
Kirstin
Communist Russia was not a happy place to live for the majority of its population and this novel really illustrates what some of the pressures and struggles those people faced. This story is focused on the love between two girls who met in a labor camp in Siberia. They were both political prisoners which were all too common during this time period. They found a bond which helped them survive 4 years in this labor camp. This novel begins after their first 4 years of an 8 year term.

Sofia is a stro...more
Jodi
Jul 15, 2008 Jodi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Jodi by: Gayle Byrne
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jilly
This author wasn't new to me as I've read her book The Russian Concubine. Part of me really liked her first book while another part of me felt something was missing and again I feel that. I do have to say that I liked this book a bit more, I think. I originally got this book because I did enjoy her other book and felt that this one being set in Russia would be more to my liking.

Now, I think what I felt was missing was the real sense of something being in jeopardy. There are times when Sofia or A...more
Tasha
I would rate this read a 3.5 stars if I could. Since I can't, I'm bumping it up to 4 because it is a better read than just 3 stars. My reason is, although I enjoyed the story, there were some parts of the story that just weren't believable for me and I had to work hard to accept it into the story. The story is a serious matter based on true events and then when it was sprinkled throughout with odd, unbelievable moments, it felt too unreal to me.

These events were (view spoiler)...more
Maggie
So I'm a huge fan of all things Russian, comes from being a history nut and daughter of a Russian teacher, so I absolutely loved that part. The portrayal of the people inside the Siberian labor camps and the struggle of the youth on the outside to reconcile consciences with the Comrade attitude, makes this book. What stops this book from getting a higher rating is the fact that it pulls in the supernatural and that some twist just don't make any sense and it just glosses over parts that the auth...more
Mallory
Sofia Morozova’s determination to save her friend and fellow prisoner Anna is what drives her to escape from the Soviet labor camp where she is held and trek through the wilds of Siberia. She promises Anna that she will return for her. Sofia eventually makes it to the village of Tivil, where she is looked upon with suspicion, but slowly is accepted among the people. She begins to fall in love with a man who has a direct link to Anna’s past, testing Sofia’s commitment to her friend. Furnivall giv...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
More about Kate Furnivall...
The Russian Concubine (The Russian Concubine, #1) The Jewel of St. Petersburg (The Russian Concubine, #0) The Girl from Junchow (The Russian Concubine, #2) The White Pearl Shadows on the Nile

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