The Russian Concubine

The Russian Concubine A sweeping novel set in war torn China with a star crossed love story at its center In a city full of thieves and Communists danger and death spirited young Lydia Ivanova has lived a hard life

  • Title: The Russian Concubine
  • Author: Kate Furnivall
  • ISBN: 9780425215586
  • Page: 248
  • Format: Paperback
  • A sweeping novel set in war torn 1928 China, with a star crossed love story at its center.In a city full of thieves and Communists, danger and death, spirited young Lydia Ivanova has lived a hard life Always looking over her shoulder, the sixteen year old must steal to feed herself and her mother, Valentina, who numbered among the Russian elite until Bolsheviks murdered mA sweeping novel set in war torn 1928 China, with a star crossed love story at its center.In a city full of thieves and Communists, danger and death, spirited young Lydia Ivanova has lived a hard life Always looking over her shoulder, the sixteen year old must steal to feed herself and her mother, Valentina, who numbered among the Russian elite until Bolsheviks murdered most of them, including her husband As exiles, Lydia and Valentina have learned to survive in a foreign land.Often, Lydia steals away to meet with the handsome young freedom fighter Chang An Lo But they face danger Chiang Kai Shek s troops are headed toward Junchow to kill Reds like Chang, who has in his possession the jewels of a tsarina, meant as a gift for the despot s wife The young pair s all consuming love can only bring shame and peril upon them, from both sides Those in power will do anything to quell it But Lydia and Chang are powerless to end it.

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      Published :2020-03-04T16:06:02+00:00

    About " Kate Furnivall "

  • Kate Furnivall

    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 from there she went into publishing, writing material for a series of books on the canals of Britain Then into advertising where she met her future husband, Norman She travelled widely, giving her an insight into how different cultures function which was to prove invaluable when writing The Russian Concubine.It was when her mother died in 2000 that Kate decided to write a book inspired by her mother s story The Russian Concubine contains fictional characters and events, but Kate made use of the extraordinary situation that was her mother s childhood experience that of two White Russian refugees, a mother and daughter, stuck without money or papers in an International Settlement in China.


  • First of all I give this book two big thumbs up. I LOVED IT. I would rate it a harsh pg-13. Very little language, but a couple of steamy love making, and a couple of nasty violent scenes (all of which had to be there to make the book so great).I'm going to start with a quote straight from the book. This summs up the books meaning."w she knew tht you didn't survive on your own. Everyone who touched your life sent a ripple effect through you, and all the ripples interconnected. She could sense the [...]

  • The Russian Concubine started out like Cool Whip: light & fluffy. But I thought to myself, "Sometimes Cool Whip is good!" Unfortunately, midway through, I began to feel as if I'd eaten an entire tub of that crap. Then came page 331, and I knew I couldn't read another line and still respect myself in the morning: "Enjoy this breath, Po Chu, because it will be your last if you call my beloved a whore again" "She begged. Ah, Tiyo Willbee, how she begged" "Begged? For what?" "For our honorable f [...]

  • Blech. This sounded exactly like a book I would love. It's historical fiction, lots of drama, a hint of romance in the storyline, but I couldn't have cared less what happened to these people. The first chapter was harsh, but it kind of grabbed you. Then, it was all downhill from there. The mother, whom you thought was going to be this big champion for her daughter, all of a sudden is horrible and doesn't care a fig about anyone in chapter two. I understand the need to make characters complex and [...]

  • First, something that keeps coming up - the title. My best guess is that it's called Russian Concubine because there are hints of Valentina being a slave to money from men - letting men have her to keep her family fed, clothed, her daughter in school etc. While she was not a concubine she essentially sold herself and used her sexuality to gain what she wanted or needed. It started in the first scene where she virtually offers herself up to save her child’s life and towards the end she marries [...]

  • DNF at page 109I'm three quarters Cantonese and though I can't do kung fu to save my life, but I can rip this book apart.First of all, I dnf-ed this book because it was 517 pages and I was not into it. I have a good number of reasons why.Basically, this book is Tsarina and Tiger's Curse, only without the crappy fantasy element of the former and a bit less of the latter's unintended potential racism. It starts with an intense but cheesy prologue where they introduce our MC as a supposedly "Strong [...]

  • The Russian Concubine starts in the time of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. Lydia Ivanova’s parents, part of the educated and elite in Russia, are shipped out like cattle. At the end of their journey her father is shot in front of her.Move forward to 1928 China, where the winds of communism are fanning the flames of revolution once again. Exiles in a foreign land, Lydia and her mother are barely surviving, no thanks to her otherwise beautiful mother’s drinking and fragility. Both know ho [...]

  • 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 a [...]

  • I REALLY tried to like this book. I forced myself to keep reading, thinking and hoping that I would get hooked by the characters at some point. But, I have officially given up. Considering this is a period romance set in China during the 1920s, you'd think this was right up my alley. I certainly did. However, I was never interested in the characters that much. (And as a high school teacher a love story about 16-year-olds is disturbing on many levels.) Also, I felt that some passages read like a [...]

  • Set in 1928 Jungchow, China, this book follows Lydia, a Russian young woman who immigrated there as a child with her mother. Lydia spends her days going to a school that her mother cannot afford, pickpocketing on the Chinese streets, and struggling to get by in her poor community. Her life changes drastically when she meets Chang An Lo, a brave young Communist code-breaker. Lydia becomes caught up in Chang's idea of freedom and equality, and despite their differences in culture, feels increasing [...]

  • In 1917, a family caught in the midst of the Russian Revolution, is literally ripped apart when Russian revolutionary soldiers assault the train taking the exiles out of the country. Valentina Ivanova tries to barter for the lives of her husband and daughter. Lydia is saved, but her husband is beaten and dragged off with the rest of the men and children who have been forced from the train by the soldiers. The book was very loosely based on the life of the author’s mother.At first glance, I rea [...]

  • [possible spoiler/s ahead:]A deftly woven tale of political intrigue, betrayal and lies in a turbulent historical point in China, but at its heart a touching love story between two people—born worlds apart—who ultimately find love and communion in each other. The Russian Concubine is very well researched and the authenticity of the setting and characters portrayed by Furnivall is spot-on. I can see why people would hate this book, judging from some reviews on the site here, thinking it a mel [...]

  • This is actually Book two in a current trilogy that I am reading. Wow. What I love about this story is that the author is not sugar coating anything. If blood is to be spilled, it is and big time. It opens your mind to the true Russian and Chinese history in the early part of the last century. The Bolshevik and Communist history. and in between it has the forbidden love stories first of the mother and then her daughter too. If you only read book 1 "The Jewel of St Petersberg" you will end up wit [...]

  • This is the first book in the Russian Concubine series. I happened to read the third one first which was a prequel to this one (The Jewel of St. Petersburg). I liked "The Jewel" so much better than the "Russian Concubine." The characters you meet in the "Concubine" seem so flawed and almost not the same people I read about in "The Jewel." I loved and admired Valentina in "The Jewel", but did not like her at all in the "Concubine." The experience of fleeing for her life during the Bolshevik Revol [...]

  • Fantasticna knjiga! Ima svega - napetosti, uzbudjenja, straha, bola, srece, ljubavi, prolivene krvi, smrti, ali opet ljubavi, prave ljubavi Ovo je prica o jednoj mladoj devojci iz Rusije koja je prinudjena da se u mnogonacionalnoj kineskoj provinciji bori da prezivi. Ona srece svoju ljubav, mladog kineza, koji postaje njen glavni razlog za prezivljavanje. Prezivece oboje - saznajte kako!

  • The writing is mediocre. Ala 50 Shades of Grey style- adult concepts in young adultish writing. There's no transition between scenes. No buffer. It just switches from one scene or dialogue to another. I found that annoying also. Maybe works well on TV but sounds confusing and abrupt on paper. Especially in this case where there are so many plots which brings me to my next point.Too many things going on and there was no direction. Is this a political thriller? A love story? Chinese gangs, drug tr [...]

  • I finished reading this last night, and it was interestingly far-fetched to say the least, and sometimes shockingly so. It felt like the story was just dragging for a while and then nearing the end, the author just sped things up and it finished quickly, with some events that were so bad I think I actually liked seeing where they went next. It could have been better, but it wasn't. And I didn't like how some things just felt untied and on the "left-hanging" side of things at the end. The writing [...]

  • This was an ambitious first novel by Kate Furnivall, turning her mother’s experiences as a White Russian refugee in China into an amazing, page-turner of a book.The story revolves around Lydia Ivanova, a teenage girl living in Junchow, China in 1928. Her father has presumably been killed during the Russian revolution and her mother is struggling to make a living giving piano concerts.China is a land in turmoil. Chiang Kai-shek and the Koumintang army are in a power struggle against the Communi [...]

  • Very enjoyable tale, and although I may have skimmed a little bit, it was only cause it was a tad long winded in spots, but overall I really got lost in this story.I believe I have done this the wrong way around and read The Jewel of St. Petersburg first which was apparently released after this one as a prequel but going by peoples reviews it's all probably worked out for the best as I knew all the background to the story and people in it :)

  • "The train growled to a halt. Gray steam belched from its heaving engine into the white sky, and the twenty-four freight carriages behind bucked and rattled as they lurched shrieking to a standstill."I should have stopped when I read the first two sentences over and over because I couldn't get past how ridiculous they were. Growled? Belched? Heaving? Bucked and rattled? Lurched shrieking? REALLY?! Because I'm pretty sure this is what we call overkill. The entire book carried on this way. Everyth [...]

  • Firstly, the title of this book is completely misleading. One thinks that it should be a story about an actual concubine, to some royal or political figure. One thinks that it should be a bit of a saucy book.It is none of these things.It's a book about a Russian refugee in China, who falls in love with a Chinese boy, and makes bad decisions generally.It was ok, but I wish that the book wasn't so misleading. I won't get the next book in the series, because I really don't care much for the charact [...]

  • Eu estava à espera de um romance histórico suave e fofinho, mas este livro traz mais do que isso - uma intriga bem construída e interessante, que me fez gostar de Lydia e da sua impulsividade.Mas fica o aviso: contém algumas cenas de carácter mais violento e gráfico. Acho que é um daqueles livros "hit or miss", em que não há opiniões de meio termo. Eu gostei, muito."Porque, agora, sabia que ninguém sobrevivia sozinha. Todos quantos tocam a vida de uma pessoa provocam nesta um efeito v [...]

  • The only thing I didn't like was how choppy her writing was. Towards the end chapters were very short and there's no transition.*spoiler: I think she went overboard by chopping Chang's fingers off and making him skin and bones; I don't think anybody would be attracted to that.

  • Loved this book and now see there are a couple of sequels. Also a pre-quel. I need to get reading!!! Kate Furnival writes in such passion and heart, and the characters face brutal tough challenges in their lives. I noted that Diana Gabaldon, another favorite writer of mine, had positive thoughts about it. I like epic novels and world travel, and this one does not disappoint. It reminds me a lot of the struggles with the change of powers after Chaing Kai Shek in a book I read many years ago, call [...]

  • Not only are the plot and characters poorly constructed, this book is riddled with lazy racial stereotypes, and fetishistic/exotifying language.The premise of the novel is intriguing, but the number of cliches, and age-old, unimaginative references to China ("dragon's breath", "lotus flower", etc) leap out in a very unappetizing manner. It is as if the author is insistent that the reader adopt a very stereotypical mental image of China; even the native Chinese folk who inhabit the country this n [...]

  • An epic tale! Intense, gripping, dramatic, and passionate. Full of danger, fear, secrets and loss. Where Lydia must do whatever she can to survive. Set against a rich, exotic and vibrant backdrop of 1920's China. Well worth the read.

  • I have mixed thoughts on this novel. It took me a good four months of stopping and starting to finish it. I also made the mistake of reading the prequel first as I didn't realize it was a series. I would highly recommend reading the books in the order they were written in. It's also very difficult to write a review without giving away important points in the story. And I want to write great things about it because I loved The Jewel of St Petersburg so much. Unfortunately I cannot say the same fo [...]

  • I really enjoyed this book. It is the story of Lydia Ivanova and her mother who are White Russian refugees in China. She doesn’t quite fit into this strange world which was created by the Western world in the middle of revolutionary China. They live in an international settlement in Junchow where the British run the settlement. Lydia attends the British private school, where she is somewhat an outcast. She has a desire to know and understand the Chinese people and their culture. She frequently [...]

  • Kate still impresses with her skills at world building, characterization, and relationship dynamics. I’ve only read one book by her so far, one of her newer works. This one seems to be the one she’s known most for so I’m glad I was able to experience it.And “experience” is the correct term to use! The reader can literally smell the Chinese incense scents, see the vivid reds and golds of Chinese architecture and fabrics, and hear the calls of stall owners and shops of the markets. All o [...]

  • I tried writing up an articulate review of this book about three times (you know, like 4 decent pages or so of critique) and it always devolved in to me giving a play-by-play of the action which is something I hate reading in a review. Plus there was the ranting too that tended to ruin it. So not so articulately let me say that I didn't like this book. I didn't despise it because Furnivall tried her hand at creating some intrigue by weaving everyone's stories together but everything seemed a bit [...]

  • It just happens…. Not a word is exchanged, no promise uttered, no rhyme or reason. Love just happens…. In 1917 during the Russian revolution Jens and Valentina Friis are transported east as was done with many ex-royalists. Packed in freight cars without enough room, air, food and warmth they try to protect their one remaining treasure; their infant daughter, Lydia. These banned Russian aristocrats try to survive in an isolated and forgotten Chinese city of Junchow. Since the successful concl [...]

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