Happy Reading

Toni's bookshelf: read

The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep, #4)
Ape House
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Operation Napoleon
Walking Dead
The Sentimentalists
The Heretic Queen
The Midnight House
Cross Fire
Peony in Love
Finding Nouf: A Novel
City of Veils: A Novel
First Daughter
A Place of Hiding
Peter Pan

Toni Osborne's favorite books »

Friday, January 28, 2011

"The Girl from Junchow", by Kate Furnivall

Also published under the title "The Concubine's Secret"

This novel is a captivating and fascinating sequel to "The Russian Concubine", a tale of love and danger set in the late 1920's Junchow and Moscow. The story takes us on a journey, surrounding the intricacies of Lydia Ivanova's life, a life of drama graced with a touch of passion.

Lydia believes her father, Jens Friis, is still alive but held captive in Stalin's Russia. Determined to find him she teams up with her brother Alexie and close friend Popkov. The dangerous search leads them to bars of the seedy underworld where bribery of camp workers is one of their prime sources of information. In a world where they have to continually watch their backs, they befriend and betray those with key information, a treacherous game that eventually directs them to Moscow.

In Russia, with everything at stake Lydia becomes entangled with a soviet officer and Alexei is drawn into the hands of Russian criminals. Popkov finds himself in the precarious position of trying to keep his friends safe even at the risk of his own live.

On another front, Chang An-Lo, a high ranking officer who is advancing rapidly in the Communist party of China, is delegated to view the factories built by the Stalinist regime. He so happens to be Lydia's romantic partner while she was in China. As fate would have it, Lydia and Chang meet up at a party honouring the Chinese delegation and discuss old times. Their past strong romantic connection quickly has Chang sympathizing with her predicament and vowing to help her gather information and help in the possible rescue of her father.

Ms. Furnivall rich writing is very entertaining, gripping and provides all the thrills we are accustomed to. The dialogue is crisp and the setting vividly recreates Stalin era Russia. Lydia is maturing beautifully and is portrayed as a strong and loveable character; we easily fall into her spell. Some of the plotting may lack realism with its characters getting out of sticky predicaments and injuries a bit too easily for the times, but the interaction between characters is outstanding and is one of the attributes that makes this fantasy novel one of the best

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