Jessi's Reviews > The Russian Concubine

The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall
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's review
Jan 31, 2009

it was amazing

I chose this book from the book store mainly because of the front cover. The picture is very beautiful, and the title is intriguing. Although, after reading through the book, I don't really understand why it's called The Russian Concubine. Yes, Lydia and Chang are lovers, but concubine just gives a different connotation. Chang wouldn't be able to afford a concubine.

The book has such a wonderful array of rich and overlapping characters. If you meet a character once, you can be sure to meet them again in a different context. I do have to say that knowing the intimate details of the headmaster's love affair with Li Mei was a bit weird. I placed myself in Lydia's shoes, and knowing your teacher's sexual goings on is just not really something I want to know.

About half way through the book I thought I knew the characters and what would happen at the end of the book. I was so wrong. I was never so happy I was wrong. I hated to think that this beautiful novel would be a predictable love story. This story is well written with several different converging story lines. Although, sometimes the relationships between people made the story flow a little too easily. Too many happy coincidences. Then again, without the happy coincidences, this book would be all dark, and that's not a good alternative.

The only bad thing I will say is that the author set up for a sequel, but hasn't made one yet. I would love a sequel to this novel.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 31, 2009 – Shelved
January 31, 2009 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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JG (The Introverted Reader) I am so glad to see that I'm not the only one wondering about the title. That's been driving me nuts since I finished it.

message 2: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Same here! I've been looking around the author's website and online to try and find the answer. It ruined the book a bit for me because I assumed she was going to end up with Alexi, he being the only possible candidate for a "master".

Salsadancer Ditto that, except I kept expecting Lydia would end up with Alfred, especially since she made that promise to obey him for 3 months.

Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship Perhaps Valentina is supposed to be the "concubine" given the circumstances of her marriage? Either way, not a very good title.

message 5: by Yajaira (new) - added it

Yajaira true..true..shes not a concubine wtf?

Letitia I asked the author, and she said she originally wanted to name the book "Fire and Wind" or something like that because of Lydia and Chang , but the publishers chose The Russian Concubine.

message 7: by H (new) - rated it 5 stars

H There is a sequel! The Concubines Secret

Letitia I'm pretty sure the sequel is The Girl from Junchow...

Diane You guys do know this is the second book of the series, right? The first book is 'The Jewel of St. Petersburg.'

Lisasue It's just wrong to name a book "The Russian Concubine" if the main character doesn't have sex until page 279.

Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship It looks like there is some confusion about the book order. The sequel is The Girl from Junchow, which is called The Concubine's Secret in the UK. The Jewel of Saint Petersburg is the prequel.

message 12: by Amna (new) - added it

Amna The book is titled so as Valentina stays with different men to keep herself and her daughter fed and clothed in the war torn china. She plays the role of mistress of Alfred and that other guy and she's the concubine mentioned in title.

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