Kate Furnivall was inspired by her mother’s story to write this book. The Russian Concubine contains fictional characters and events, but makes use of the extraordinary situation that was her mother’s childhood experience – that of two White Russian refugees, a mother and daughter, stuck without money or papers in an International Settlement in China. Kate Furnivall and her husband live by the sea in the beautiful county of Devon.
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.