The Jewel of St. Petersburg by Kate Furnivall

Title: The Jewel of St. Petersburg
Author:  Kate Furnivall
Publisher: The Berkley Publishing Group
Publication Date:  Aug. 3, 2010
paperback, 421 pages
ISBN: 978-0-425-23423-5

Russia, 1910. Young Valentina Ivanova charms St Petersburg's aristocracy with her classic Russian beauty and her talent as a pianist. She scandalises society when she begins a romance with Jens Friis, a Danish engineer. He brings to her life a passion and an intimacy she has never known. Unbending in their opposition, her parents push her into a loveless engagement with a Russian count. Valentina struggles for independence and to protect her young sister from the tumult sweeping the city, as Russia is bound for rebellion. The Tsar, the Duma and the Bolsheviks are at each other's throats. Valentina is forced to make a choice that changes her life for ever ...

I know I say this a lot, but I really liked this book.  My favorite part of the book was the setting. I love that it was set in Russia during the revolution.  There was so much turmoil and unrest during this time that  it definitely added a raw grittiness to  the story.  There were a lot of characters in this book, but not so many that you lose track.  The story focuses on Valentina. She is from the aristocratic society whose path is already predetermined. Valentina decides to buck the system and make her own destiny. I really liked the strength of her character. She was willing to do what ever it took to save everyone she loved.  Speaking of love, let's talk about the romantic aspect of this book.  Valentina is expected to marry well, but she falls in love with a engineer, Jens Friis. Her heart belongs to him from the first moment she sees him, but she longs to please her parents also. This is an interesting relationship full of many complications.  I enjoyed this aspect as well.  The story line was very compelling and it kept me interested to the last sentence. 

The Jewel of St. Petersburg is the first book I have read by Kate Furnivall but she has written several other books including: The Girl from Junchow, The Red Scarf and The Russian Concubine. You can check out her website at

*picture and summary taken from Good Reads
** I received this book from Crazy Book Tours for review purposes. 


  1. I can rarely resist a book that either contains the name St. Petersburg in the title or promises a good tale with that city as its backdrop. I wasn’t disappointed as Kate Furnivall wove a tale of intrigue, treachery, loyalty, rebellion and love in pre-revolution Russia.

  2. I like that you mention that the number of characters is not unwieldy...I don't appreciate it when I have to keep a chart of the characters to keep things straight :)


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