Title: The Jewel of St. Petersburg
Author: Kate Furnivall
Summary: Russia, 1910. The young Valentina Ivanova is the darling of St. Petersburg’s elite aristocracy charming them with both her classic Russian beauty and her talent for piano. But it is a scandal when she chooses her love not from their stock or even from Russian blood. Her romance with Jens Friis a Danish engineer, brings her life a passion and intimacy she has never known. Unbending in their opposition, her parents push her into a loveless engagement with a Russian count
Valenteina struggles to claim her own independence. But at the same time she is desperate to protect her young sister from the dangerous tumult that is sweeping through the city.
Meanwhile, Russia itself is bound for rebellion. With the tsar and the duma at each other’s throats, and the Bolsheviks drawing their battle lines, the elegance and opulence of tsarist rule are in their last days. And Valentina will be forced to make a choice that will change not only her own life, but the lives of those around her forever . . .
My Rating: 8.5/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: Wonderful book which at times devoured it, even the romance stuff which normally I’m not a fan of, had me hooked until the end.
This book had a lot of elements I enjoy in a novel, and some I don’t, like heavy romantic background story - but even that had grabbed my attention, there seemed to be a fairly good balance of everything in the book, historical fiction, romance with a slight twist of general/contemporary lit (day to day life, etc.) The historical fiction side, particularly on the Revolution, was very well done, it really grabbed my interest, and had me wanting to learn more about the Russian Revolution, and the history surrounding the events before and after it.
The characters were generally well done, although at times I felt they were a little stereotypical roles in this type of fiction, I still enjoyed reading about them. The author did do a good job at ensuring the reading could feel engaged with the characters, and at times, you were able to feel the emotions the characters were going through. But, as I said above at times I felt they the characters were a bit stereotypical. It wasn’t an overly bad thing, but it was something I’ve seen a lot. (For example, the rich girl from well to do family, with devious father, falls in love with peasant kind of character), but still, they weren’t bad, and over all I enjoyed reading about them.
One other issue is I felt time went buy in the book in odd spaces, and there wasn’t much notification to the reader. It was a bit inconstant at times. I wish there was more indication of when a large amount of time went by, or there had been more filler between the big jumps. I wanted a little more out of what I got. Not a big problem, but it was something I notice.
The ending, let’s just say the last few paragraphs are, intense, and at one point I was seconds away from hurling the book across the room (which would have been bad, as I was at a lunch break at the time), but the last sentence stopped me. I will stop right here. It was amazing, that last sentence. Made for a very good ending!
Overall, it was a very good book, and a great choice for any historical fiction fan.
Would I recommend it to read: Yes, even for people who aren’t that big on historical fiction or romantic historical fiction stories (it’s not big on love scenes, but it is a romantic story) would enjoy the book. I think there are a few people who wouldn’t enjoy it, but overall well worth reading.
What to read next: City of Thieves, The Sixth Surrendor
Challenges: Read ‘n’ Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge, Fall into Reading Challenge, RYOB Challenge
I received this book to review from the publisher.