The Russian Concubine

The Russian Concubine

Book - 2007
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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.
Publisher: New York : Berkley Books, c2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780425215586
Characteristics: 517 p. : map ; 21 cm


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Aug 06, 2015

I found this book to be extremely unbelievable, and still don't quite get the title. I even looked up the word (Concubine), and I didn't think that the definition fit the story. Lydia wasn't secondary to any wife, and she wasn't really living with her Communist lover. She certainly wasn't a kept woman, other than by her step father. The author left the ending open for a sequel, of which I have no desire to read.

Jul 23, 2009

An unusual love story in a historical and sometimes very violent era. I completely enjoyed it.


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