Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: The Russian Concubine

What a misleading title and cover. There aren't any concubines in the book but that does not make it bad.

The story begins as the Friis family is leaving Russia during the Revolution and their train gets stopped by the Red Army. The family gets separated and the mother and daughter are allowed to continue on the Junchow, China.

Lydia, the daughter, grows up in the Russian Settlement of Junchow with her mother. As White Russians, they are stranded there without passports or money to leave. Her mother, an alcoholic, is not supporting her daughter as she should and Lydia takes to stealing to support her mother. When she is rescued out of a compromising situation on in an alley by a Chinese teenager, her life changes.

I like the history of this book. I have read other novels of lives in rich English Settlements in Shanghai but this book explored those in the seedier European settlements and what was going on China in the 1920s.

The cover and the title annoyed me a little, I will be honest and I might have rated it higher but the annoyance won out. I will read the next book in the series The Girl from Junchow based on the ending that hooked me

Monday, February 6, 2012

Currently Reading Storm


I have been reading up a storm but I have finished nothing.

Currently, I am reading.

from library

bought for Kindle

from library

from library

A little diverse, no?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: Instruments of Darkness

Part of what drew me to this book was the cover. Like wine, I do read some books by the cover, or at least the blurb on the cover.

Goodreads describes this book as:

In the year 1780, Harriet Westerman, the willful mistress of a country manor in Sussex, finds a dead man on her grounds with a ring bearing the crest of Thornleigh Hall in his pocket. Not one to be bound by convention or to shy away from adventure, she recruits a reclusive local anatomist named Gabriel Crowther to help her find the murderer, and historical suspense's newest investigative duo is born.

For years, Mrs. Westerman has sensed the menace of neighboring Thornleigh Hall, seat of the Earl of Sussex. It is the home of a once- great family that has been reduced to an ailing invalid, his whorish wife, and his alcoholic second son, a man haunted by his years spent as a redcoat in the Revolutionary War.

The same day, Alexander Adams is slain by an unknown killer in his London music shop, leaving his children orphaned. His death will lead back to Sussex, and to an explosive secret that has already destroyed one family and threatens many others.

Instruments of Darkness combines the brooding atmosphere of Anne Perry with the complex, compelling detail of Tess Gerritsen, moving from drawing room to dissecting room, from coffee house to country inn. Mrs. Westerman and Mr. Crowther are both razor-sharp minds and their personalities breathe spirit into this gripping historical mystery.

This story takes place in Sussex and London, England in the 1780s and has flashbacks to Boston during the Revolutionary War. Mrs. Harriet Westerman, a naval commander’s wife, finds a body of a man on her Sussex estate. She enlists the aid of anatomist Gabriel Crowther, who lives alone hiding his own secrets, to solve the murder. At the same time, the author tells the story of Alexander Adams, a music printer in London.

I like the rolls the townspeople played rolls in the story and you got to know the family dynamics of the local gentry.Imogene Robertson weaves the three stories together in a way that sucked me in and grabbed me. She had me turning the page and wanting more.

My only disappointment was by the last few chapters I had guessed who done it. Though, I was not disappointed enough not to want to read the subsequent book in the series, The Anatomy of Murder.