this book was poignant and beautifully written. It brought tears to my eyes to see the purity of love between two people so young, yet so scarred by life already. AND...it was left WIDE OPEN for a sequel! I am waiting to see!
While the title is very misleading (the main character may be Russian, but at no time is she anyone's concubine), it's a very good story. Coming of age for a young woman in an international settlement, in the beginning of Communist China. So, it not only deals with her personal conflicts, but the social/political situation as well. It is well-balanced so that part isn't overwhelming to the main part of the story.
I am confused about the title of this book. This book is about 17 year old Lydia who falls in love with Chang. Lydia lives in a whites-only part of a Russian town. Chang is a Chinese communist that is wanted by the police. Chang gets severely injured, and Lydia nurses him back to health. They fall in love, however, they both know that they cannot be together without the danger of being killed. I thought the book was a little difficult to read. I thought that it kind of rambled on and on. If you like historical fiction with a little romance, then this book is for you.
It took me a while to get into this book, but once I started to get to know the characters more, I found myself sucked in. To be honest, I was expecting this book to be more sexy and less story. I was dead wrong. This is more a historical fiction and character study than a romance. It does have some romance, but the setting in time and the events surrounding the romance take center stage. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction with a dash of romance featuring a strong female lead.
This is a good read in the Gabaldon tradition; well developed characters, believeable in their settings. I especially enjoyed the unusual time period and locale that is the setting for this novel--pre-Communist revolutionary China in 1928, against the background of expat White Russians who fled from the 1917 revolution in Russia and are now in the midst of the same fever in China.