Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Book Review of #3 The Girl from Junchow by Kate Furnivall
Author: Kate Furnivall
Part of a Series: Lydia Saga; The Jewel of St. Petersburg, The Russian Concubine prequels
Type of book: Russia, China, communism, 1929-1930, relationships, interracial relationship, Asian male/white female, protection
Year it was published: 2009
China, 1929. For years Lydia Ivanova believed her father was killed by the Bolsheviks. But when she learns he is imprisoned in Stalin-controlled Russia, the fiery girl is willing ot leave everything behind-even her Chinese lover, Chang An Lo.
With her half brother, Alexei, Lydia sets out on a dangerous journey. Tension grows between the two as Alexei's search for his past threatens Lydia's quest to find her father and forge a new future for herself. But when Alexei abruptly disappears, Lydia is left alone, penniless in soviet Russia. As she continues her search for information, Lydia finds herself caught in a perilous entanglement with a Russian officer.
But Chang An Lo has not forgotten Lydia. He knows things about her father that she does not. And while he races to protect her, she is prepared to risk treacherous consequences to discover the truth...
Again we meet a lot of memorable and interesting characters such as Edik and the puppy he's devoted to, Misty, as well as Antonina and her husband Dmitri and the former prostitute Elena. Besides Elena, the characters were well rounded and memorable and you get to see interesting faucets about them as well as discover interesting personalities and even the characters overcoming their shortcomings.
I think Lydia yet again struggled to survive and achieve her goals. I am not sure what lesson I got out of this book though.
I think it is necessary to read Russian Concubine before this book, and possibly Jewel of St. Petersburg, although the author wrote Jewel of St. Petersburg after this novel. This is written in third person narrative from multiple characters' points of view such as Alexei for one.
Author of 'The Russian Concubine' novel, about two White Russian refugees, a mother and daughter without money or papers in an International Settlement in China. (From Katefurnivall.blogspot.com)
The first time I read this few years ago, I was disappointed with the book because I had hoped to learn more things about Chang An Lo. The only things we learn are snippets but that's it. I am thinking that the back summary really didn't do the book justice and it tends to distort some events; one example being that Alexei was helping Lydia and Popkov search for his father instead of where he lived and grew up. Chang An Lo was sent to Moscow and only learns the truth after meeting with Lydia and whatnot, and not before. Like the previous books, this one is enjoyable and is crying out for a sequel in my view. (I guess I want to see the happily ever after with kids experienced by Lydia and Chang, and also I really want to learn more about him.) However I felt that this is the weaker novel when comparing it to Russian Concubine or Jewel of St. Petersburg. This book was published a year before Jewel of St. Petersburg though. It does leave a number of things to be answered, besides that of Lydia and Chang's relationship such as plots about Alexei for one.
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)