Wednesday, April 16

Book Review: The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall

Author: Kate Furnivall
Title: The Russian Concubine (Russian Concubine #1)
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 517
First Published: May 1st, 2006
Where I Got It: Borrowed from the library

"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 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."

Been wanting to read this for a while now and I randomly found this at the new library I live by now. I was sooooooo excited! can't win them all...sighs. 

The beginning was really good. It was pretty intense and even though you know Lydia and Valentina live, it was still worrisome. I was super sad about the Dad being taken...even though I knew this ahead of time.

After slowly fell apart:

Let's begin with a little rant about a couple of the characters:

I lost all respect for Valentina. I just wanted to punch her RIGHT in the face. She was a selfish and didn't care that they didn't have food on the table or that she pretty much made Lydia feel as if she had to take care of them. Onw of the times that Lydia brought home some money (strictly for bills), Valentina went out and bought dresses for the both of them. GAAAAH! This lead Lydia to steal in order to get money. This nearly cost her life multiple times! lead her to her lover, Chang. However, when Valentina found out that Lydia was stealing, she was furious! LADY YOU HAVE NO RIGHT! IT WAS YOUR FAULT!!! Meeeeeeeeh.   

Now Lydia...okay...I get that you have to steal, but really? Maybe try and get a job, so you don't get almost killed or taken into slavery EVERY DAY! Chang can't always be there to save your little butt. one really cares. I couldn't stand him or his POV. I admit it...I totally skimmed RIGHT through all his parts. I felt totally bad about his lover having to deal with him. 

Okay...I'm done with my rant.

The story was okay. It was interesting and there were a couple of times were I didn't expect something to happen. Especially the ending. The ending was okay, but it was defiantly a cliffhanger. I actually, kinda, want to read the next book to see what happens. We shall see though. I do, however, want to read the prequel of this series which is about Valentina and Lydia's father. Even though I have no respect for Valentina, I did like her in the beginning. She seemed strong and willing to do anything for her family. She offered EVERYTHING to the rebel's leaders to save her child and her husband. I want to learn more about that version of Valentina. 

The characters really upset me and I didn't really connect with any of them. It made it hard for me to like the story. This story also was very unrealistic at many points and bad things had easy solutions it seemed. It was all too tidy and convenient for my liking. It's hard to explain without giving away spoilers.

In the end, this was a disappoint for me. I was so looking forward to reading this. Sighs. You can't win them all. I would recommend this to those that like historical fiction with a touch of romance. Out of five stars, I grant this one 2 stars. The beginning and ending saved this from getting only one star. Also, Chang deserves some credit. He was a decent guy and oddly felt inclined to save Lydia.....

Favorite Character(s): Chang, the beginning version of Valentina, and Alexei 
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Theo (enough of your face), Lydia, Valentina, and Alfred.