I didn't enjoy THE GIRL FROM JUNCHOW as much as the previous book, THE RUSSIAN CONCUBINE, and certainly not as much as THE JEWEL OF ST. PETERSBURG.
THE GIRL FROM JUNCHOW felt like a mishmash of plot ideas with no real cohesive flow. It was not as well-written or as well-plotted as the first two books. As a result, Lydia Ivanova never becomes as compelling a character as her mother Valentina was in THE JEWEL OF ST. PETERSBURG. I found Lydia to be stubborn for stubbornness sake, which gets very annoying.
The first 300-350 pages of my 488 paged copy were a chore for me to slog through. I wasn't very interested in all the details of the political landscape in either China or Russia; nor did Alexei's storyline hold my attention much. There was one compelling event that happened to him, but from there, his experiences just meandered and lost my interest. And in the end, there were too many events that were just over-the-top and this is especially where it shows the plot wasn't very well thought out at all.
The only saving grace for this book was the fact that we got to spend some time with Jens Friis and learn how he'd spent the last 12 years, the toll on his life....Liev Popkov's devotion to the Ivanova women makes him a compelling character and I'm glad of how things turned out for him.....I'm also glad we get to the bottom of whether or not Lydia and Alexei are really brother and sister, as after reading THE JEWEL OF ST. PETERSBURG then seeing where things went in THE RUSSIAN CONCUBINE, I was baffled, but, thankfully, this story puts it to rest.
The ending is open for a sequel. Would I read it? Certainly. Kate Furnivall wrote her way into my heart with one book: THE JEWEL OF ST. PETERSBURG! A+ And I gave THE RUSSIAN CONCUBINE a B+......but I can't get THE GIRL FROM JUNCHOW any higher than a C+, though I really wanted to love it just as much.
In the end, it just felt like the author had never really planned to write this book.
Loved this book and will pass it on soon.. I am finsihing the eric larsen book on my Kindle first.