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The Oligarch's Wife
on 4 August 2014
Katya, a beautiful fourteen-year-old Russian girl, dreams of escaping her dreary life and, encouraged by the sleazy local deputy mayor, she enters a beauty contest, thinking that this her way out. By the age of fifteen Katya is working as a prostitute, and it is in a hotel bar that she meets English girl, Mo, and her best friend Eli, when they are on a school trip to Moscow. Mo, an attractive dark-haired girl, is friendly towards the beautiful Russian blonde, however Mo's main focus is on Pavel Ivanchenko, a good-looking but brutalised young man whose main aim in life is to make money and gain power, but all Mo goes home with is his telephone number. Several years later, Mo, who is now working in Moscow for an American TV company, tracks Pavel down and the two begin seeing each other against the advice of Mo's friend Eli, who is also working in Russia as a lawyer. Since Mo last saw Pavel, she has not greatly altered as a person, but Pavel's life has changed hugely, and he is now a rich, powerful and ruthless man who will let nothing or no one stand in his way. And then Pavel becomes involved with the lovely Katya ... (No spoilers - we know right from the beginning of the book that Pavel becomes involved with both Mo and Katya).
Set mostly in Russia, but also in England, Anna Blundy's novel is full of gritty and brutal scenes and the author, who has lived and worked in Russia, describes her Moscow underworld with enthusiasm. However, I have to say that I felt the characters in this story lacked depth, I unfortunately found none of them particularly likeable and I wasn't really convinced by some of the situations they found themselves in - but I can't really explain further without revealing too much of the plot. From a couple of the reviews I read before ordering this book, I was expecting a fast-paced thriller with a few unexpected plot twists along the way to keep me on my toes, but although the author is very good at portraying certain aspects of Russian life, this story is more twisted romance than thriller, and I am sorry to say that it did not really captivate or entertain me as much as I had hoped.