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A Book that is not a Historical Novel....or is it?

The Russian Concubine

by Kate Furnivall was partly a Christmas holiday read, then went on the back burner after my Christmas present reading.

This is a story of a daughter of Russians who escapes with her mother during the Bolshevik Revolution and flees to China.

It is set in the late 20s and the main character Lydia has to become very streetwise to survive. As a result, she becomes involved with a Chinese communist and Chinese gangs. It reads as quite an exciting thriller, as well as a love story and dare I say it? It is historical and educational as well. It reminds me of when I went through my Chinese novel phase and this period of history has been very well described in Wild Swans by Jung Chang, but this personal story of two young people from different cultures and the influence of International Communities on Chinese politics is quite fresh to me.

I would recommend this as a fast pace read, but personally I was a little disappointed in the way it ended. I like to be shocked, or surprised, and have an ending I would not have thought of myself but this was just a little too rushed and disjointed. I suppose it is realistic, but somehow everything was a little too convenient. I can imagine this making an exciting film, and I could imagine someone like Ang Lee doing a pretty good job of portraying both Chinese and International cultures.

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