A friend of mine raved about this book so I picked it up and had it on my shelf for a few months before I read it. I do that for some reason. If I know that a book is going to be good I put off reading it. I like to save "for sure" books for days when I really need them. I have been on a great book streak lately so I decided to keep it going with The Russian Concubine. This was a great novel. Over 500 hundred pages but I couldn't put it down. The story is set during 1928 in an International Settlement in Junchow China. The story focuses on a young Russian girl, Lydia and her beautiful but poor and alcoholic mother who are stuck in China with no papers or passports or any way to take care of themselves. Lydia steals to keep her and her mother with a home and food. One day her luck runs out and thats when she meets Chang An Lo, the man she will later fall in love with. There is also a sub-story following Theo Whilloby, the headmaster of the school that Lydia attends. Theo is in love with Li Mei, the daughter of the local opium dealer and his life gets more and more complicated as the story progresses.
I loved the characters in this novel. I loved how fierce and smart Lydia was. She was a great young female character. She had strong opinions but always was eager to hear others points of view and to gain more knowledge. It was a great love story. The fact that Chang An Lo and Lydia were so different, not ownly culturally at the beginning but also politically made the story more interesting for the reader. I hope a sequel is made of this book. I would love to see where the characters lives lead them and whether or not love does conquer all.