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The Jewel of St. Petersburg    by Kate Furnivall order for
Jewel of St. Petersburg
by Kate Furnivall
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Lovers of Russian historical fiction will find The Jewel of St. Petersburg a treat. Valentina, a talented daughter of aristocrats, finds herself a pawn of her father's desire to keep his estate intact in the difficult times of the Bolshevik uprising. She must turn her back on a promising piano career to realize her independence.

From opulent parties in ostentatious homes to primitive lodgings off ill-smelling alleys, to the underground sewage canals of St. Petersburg, Valentina follows the path she has set for herself. She will be a nurse, and she will be united with her lover. But the Bolsheviks have other ideas for aristocratic families such as Valentina's, and their moves against the family mirror the larger backdrop of the intrigue of that time. The Tsarist government is weak, yet no one thinks the unthinkable until it is upon them, and then it is too late.

Kate Furnivall has got it quite right - the sounds, smells and sights of that time, along with the ennui of the rich, the political intrigue, and the wrenching poverty of people too long in subservience. The story emerges naturally from the situation, and we can't wait to find out how it will end. Although this is the third novel in a series (the prequel to the others), I believe it is the one in which the author was able to flesh out her characters most vividly. A novel to savor.

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