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The Red Scarf

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  4,910 ratings  ·  576 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 Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Kristen I would say no, a few sexual scenes, but think the entire subject matter would be very much lost on young kids.

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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,910 ratings  ·  576 reviews

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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 15, 2014 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 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
Mishelle LaBrash
Feb 20, 2010 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
Mar 05, 2009 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
Nov 14, 2008 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
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
If all the magical realism type stuff had been left out, I would have liked this book a lot better. I wasn't expecting it and I do not care for magical realism in general so I was disappointed by it. ...more
Jun 11, 2010 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 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!
Vrinda Desai
Jun 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
Just a few words.

Bullshit. This was a major disappointment. Also, I rather Sophia had taken the bullet instead of the dog.

Spasibo. Thank you.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting piece of history. We have never know the suffering of war and prison camps - let's hope we never do.
Amy Webster-Bo
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
awesome book, loved the story and the characters and the 7th daughter, of the 7th daughter, it was such an easy read
Lyd's Archive (7/'15 to 6/'18)
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
Aug 02, 2008 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
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
Mar 16, 2013 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
Nov 22, 2009 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
Feb 24, 2009 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 04, 2011 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
Nov 22, 2010 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?!" moments. As su ...more
Aug 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a by-the-numbers shameless attempt to cash in on a horrifying episode in our recent past, using all the current popular cliches.

To use a sanitised version of a Stalin-era labour camp as the setting for a glossy romance is tasteless on every level. So, you can murder a guard - without horrific reprisals? And get away so easily? I wonder why no one tried that?

This is a travesty that belittles and mocks the real horrors endured by real people - a few of whom are still alive today - and ins

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
Jan 24, 2015 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! ...more
Jul 05, 2008 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. ...more
Sep 18, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was a tough read. I was easily distracted, and couldn't wait to finish it. I was absolutely tempted to put it aside and mark it as DNF, but that is not in my nature. Note to the editor, the book was 200 pages too long. ...more
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story. It had a lot of different story elements and the characters were very likable.
Nov 09, 2011 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! :) ...more
Jean Ahn
Jan 30, 2015 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.
Victoria Budkey
Nov 16, 2015 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.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This book gripped me from the very first chapter. I loved the setting, the characters, the storyline… But what i loved the most was the twist at the end ! Another great novel by Furnivall.
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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

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