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The Jewel of St. Petersburg

Average Rating 4.5
( 30 )
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5 Star

(24)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

wonderful historical fiction

In 1910 Valentina Ivanova is considered The Jewel of St. Petersburg aristocratic society. However, she does not want to be the top diamond as she is uninterested in being the image of the young paragon. Instead Valentina wants to become a nurse and prefers not to wed ...
In 1910 Valentina Ivanova is considered The Jewel of St. Petersburg aristocratic society. However, she does not want to be the top diamond as she is uninterested in being the image of the young paragon. Instead Valentina wants to become a nurse and prefers not to wed the chosen Count selected for her.

When she meets visiting Danish engineer Jen Friis, she falls in love, but her parents reject the non-Russian working class outsider. As the embittered squabble between the Duma and the Tsar heats up with the Bolsheviks fomenting more trouble, Valentina must choose between the people she love; her younger sister who needs had and her parents vs. Jen who wants to take her and their love child back to Denmark.

This prequel to Valentina Ivanova's later tale in The Russian Concubine and her daughter's saga as the Girl From Junchow describes her early days before the Revolution with a deep vivid look at a teetering tsarist Russia. The story line brings out the era while the love story of the Dane and the Russia is beautifully depicted as she as the title character who struggles with heart wrenching choices at a time her world is collapsing. This is a wonderful historical fiction novel.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on July 11, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Disappointed by this book

I bought this book based on the high praise it received here. Unfortunately I do not feel it lived up to the 4 1/2 stars it currently has. I felt like the heroine was too "modern" and did not fit into the early 1900s time period of the novel. She constantly made fool...
I bought this book based on the high praise it received here. Unfortunately I do not feel it lived up to the 4 1/2 stars it currently has. I felt like the heroine was too "modern" and did not fit into the early 1900s time period of the novel. She constantly made foolish choices yet suffered no repercussions for these mistakes. The same can be said of her mother. In the end I didn't really end up caring about any of the characters and was glad when it ended.

posted by trixieq on March 1, 2012

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  • Posted July 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    wonderful historical fiction

    In 1910 Valentina Ivanova is considered The Jewel of St. Petersburg aristocratic society. However, she does not want to be the top diamond as she is uninterested in being the image of the young paragon. Instead Valentina wants to become a nurse and prefers not to wed the chosen Count selected for her.

    When she meets visiting Danish engineer Jen Friis, she falls in love, but her parents reject the non-Russian working class outsider. As the embittered squabble between the Duma and the Tsar heats up with the Bolsheviks fomenting more trouble, Valentina must choose between the people she love; her younger sister who needs had and her parents vs. Jen who wants to take her and their love child back to Denmark.

    This prequel to Valentina Ivanova's later tale in The Russian Concubine and her daughter's saga as the Girl From Junchow describes her early days before the Revolution with a deep vivid look at a teetering tsarist Russia. The story line brings out the era while the love story of the Dane and the Russia is beautifully depicted as she as the title character who struggles with heart wrenching choices at a time her world is collapsing. This is a wonderful historical fiction novel.

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2012

    Disappointed by this book

    I bought this book based on the high praise it received here. Unfortunately I do not feel it lived up to the 4 1/2 stars it currently has. I felt like the heroine was too "modern" and did not fit into the early 1900s time period of the novel. She constantly made foolish choices yet suffered no repercussions for these mistakes. The same can be said of her mother. In the end I didn't really end up caring about any of the characters and was glad when it ended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2011

    New Favorite Author

    Kate Furnivall has become my favorite author. Her story development is outstanding and it continues in her following books. The characters have been completed to the smallest detail.

    After a recent trip to Russia, I felt that I had returned to the beauty of the country, complimented by past lifestyles.

    It is a must !!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2010

    Powerful and Heartbreaking

    A book too astounding for words. I could not put it down. The plot constantly twists and turns down bright paths and dark ones. Valentina is a strong character that instantly relates to all women and her love for Jens transcends the pages of her story. Be prepared for heartbreak in the end. This was one of the few books that made me cry, but I do not regret reading this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Captivating

    The novel transports us back to a time preceding the Russian Revolution of 1917. Set against a background of elegance and opulence this dramatic story is of love, courage, revenge and heartache.

    The heroine is Valentina Ivanova, daughter of a minister under Tsar Nicholas also a young pianist and the darling of St. Petersburg's wealthy aristocracy. Valentina's only dream is to become a nurse and take care of her sister, who was maimed for life during a Bolshevik attack on the family estate. Her father has other expectations, marrying a Russian count would solidify their place amongst the country's elite. But strong headed Valentina, determine in her own way, graduates from nursing and eventually falls in love with Jens Friss, a Danish engineer.....A life changing decision with many consequences.

    This is a harsh and scary time, the Tsar, the Duma and the Bolsheviks are at each other's throats.....A revolution is in the making, the days of the ruling aristocracy are numbered and no one is safe.

    Following Valentina we are plunged into two contrasting worlds, one of the miserably poor and the other of the extreme rich. This sweeping story highlights to what means desperate people pushed to the limit will go to obtain recognition and the basics of life they need to survive. The characterization is well done, realistic and very gripping. This compelling tale draws its readers into a fast-paced and captivating historical-fiction with graphic details of the period.

    I enjoyed previous novels of Ms Furnivall and this one did not disappoint. I can say I am a fan.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Spectacular!

    Author Kate Furnivall has written an utterly engrossing story of Valentina Ivanova, a daughter to the finance minister to Tsar Nicholas II, set in St. Petersburg during a time of great civil unrest in Russia's history. The working class and poor are getting more desperate every day as they fight starvation and disease or get injured, maimed or killed at the un-safe factories they are forced to work in while the upper class grow more rich and spend more extravagantly. The Revolutionaries are killing off government officials left and right and Valentina's father is among the targets.

    Valentina, though born in the upper class, is more interested in taking care of people than of dresses and parties and dreams of one day becoming a nurse. She is a bright, strong-willed girl whom I liked immediately and the rest of the characters were just as engaging - the endearing engineer, Jens; Arkin, the Revolutionary with a heart, Valentina's sad mother Elizaveta and her unfortunate sister Katya. With exceptional descriptions of 20th century St. Petersburg, from the opulent homes of the Russian nobility to the squalid homes of the working class and the underground tunnels beneath the city, Furnivall draws the reader in and the fast-paced action keeps you flipping the pages quickly to see what happens next.

    Having thoroughly enjoyed my first book by Kate Furnivall, I am now on a mission to own them all! If you like your historical fiction exciting, enthralling and unputdownable, then this is the book for you!

    Valentina's story doesn't end here, check out The Russian Concubine, which is the sequel to The Jewel of St. Petersburg and tells the story of Valentina's daughter.

    www.passagestothepast.com

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bridget's Review

    Gorgeous Valentina doesn't welcome all of the attention she gets. Her dream is to help others in nursing, not being handed over in an arranged marriage.

    She meets the dashing Jen Friis and her heart immediately belongs to him. Torn between running away to be with Jen and raise their child that she is carrying and her sister.

    Hands down, this is one of the best historical romance books ever written. I was instantly sucked in and even when I reached the back cover, I still couldn't wrap my head around the fact that the book was over.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2012

    Loved it! Could not put it down!!!

    Loved it! Could not put it down!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    You won't be disappointed

    I have loved every book that this author has written ~ memorable!!

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  • Posted February 7, 2011

    highly recommended

    I love all of Kat Furnivall's books! Her books come to life. I can't put her books down!

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    Posted August 6, 2011

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