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The Russian ConcubineKate Furnivall
A sweeping epic and stunning debut, this novel brings to life the war-torn China of the 1920s. On opposite sides of a political and social divide, an ailed Russian girl and a Chinese Communist boy find love; a mother must face what she would rather forget; and an idealist realizes his greatest enemies might be his own kind...
Junchow, China, 1928. Perhaps it's her red hair, or her hard life. Whatever the reason, Lydia Ivanova has a fierce spirit. Nothing can dim it, not even the foul waters of the Peiho River. Into the river's grime bodies are tossed, those of thieves and Communists alike. So every time she steals some marketplace treasure, the sixteen-year-old takes her life in her hands. Her mother, Valentina, numbered among the Russian elite until Bolsheviks rounded them up. They took her husband, but Valentina managed to buy back her child and bring her to China.
Now, though mother and daughter live r the whites-only International Settlement, no walls can keep Lydia in. She escapes to meet Chang An Lo, a handsome youth with fire in his eyes. He returns her love, but other dangers threaten him. Chiang Kai-shek's troops are headed toward Junchow to kill Reds like him -- and in his possession are the priceless jewels of a dead tsarina, meant as a gift for the despot's wife. Their all-consuming love can only bring shame and peril upon the pair, from both sides. Those in power will do anything to quell it. But Lydia and Chang are powerless to end it...