Toni Osborne's Reviews > The Russian Concubine

The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall
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Jun 06, 09

Read in June, 2009

This gripping tale brings us to war torn China circa 1920. After loosing her husband in a Bolshevik round up of Russian elites, Valentina and her daughter manage to escape, eventually locating to Junchow, China, in a Whites-only settlement where survival is harsh.

The author masterfully describes the struggle to survive in a dangerous location where there is a clash between cultures, abuse is prolific and life has little meaning. Don't let the title fool you, the story revolves mainly around Lydia, and she is not a concubine but a teenager living with an alcoholic mother. Lydia is forced to steal in order to eat and pay the rent. We follow her adventures through the streets of Junchow on an endless battle against poverty.

Some may find this novel long and tedious but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not only was it entertaining but it was also an enchanting and gripping love story that captured eloquently the hopes and dreams of the people of Russia as well as those of pre-revolutionary China.

We are introduced to a cast of memorable characters and the fast moving story line will keep most on edge. It is an amazing book, a real page turner that provides us with a bit of everything: history, romance, espionage, action and deceit. Rarely have I read a novel that covers so many topics in such a gripping manner.
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Reading Progress

05/15/2009 page 350
67.7% "this is an excellent novel"

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