Soo-Ja grows up in a wealthy family, loved by everyone. With the war ended, she dreams of going to Seoul to become a diplomat, but her father does not want to lose the daughter he idolizes. Soo-ja feels trapped and believes the only way she can succeed is to marry a weak man whom she can convince to accompany her to Korea’s capital. She sets her hopes on Min, a man who claims to be in love with her and not long before their wedding, Yul, who wants to marry her too, warns her that Min is a bad choice. Young and eager to fulfil her dreams, will Soo-ja heed Yul’s warning or, like her father said of a daughter-in-law who marries the oldest son, will she live a life with nothing but drudgery, slaving for everyone else in her new family?
Tag: Korean setting
Frances Cha—If I had your face *****
In an exclusive Seoul neigbourhood, is a cheap apartment building where a married couple and several single young women live. Minho is a talented artist, Kyuri, after multiple plastic surgeries, is a beautiful room salon worker in debt, and Ara a hairstylist.
This contemporary tale not only delves into women struggling to survive in an expensive city but explores the attitude of the rich who use and abuse those they consider to be on a lower peg than themselves. A must read for those who are curious about Korea’s social hierarchy and the lives some are forced to live.
Juhea Kim’s—Beasts of the little land *****
In 1919 Pyongyang, Jade is sold to Madam Silver who will train her as a courtesan. But when Madam Silver’s daughter, Luna is raped, she sends Luna, Lotus, and Jade to her cousin, Dani in Seoul to hide Luna’s pregnancy. Aunt Dani continues their training while JungHo heads south to Seoul in search of a better life after his father’s death. Under Japanese occupation, underground movements form in the hope of gaining independence.
This novel takes place over fifty years following the lives of these characters and Korea’s struggle to break free from Japan’s strangling grip.
Eugenia Kim’s — The Calligrapher’s Daughter *****
Najin doesn’t want to live a traditional Korean life, but her father tries to force her into a marriage with an aristocratic family. Her mother, defying the traditional obedient wife, arranges a position for her daughter in the king’s court as a companion to a young princess. With Japan’s control over the country and the dying monarchy, Najin’s life becomes oppressive. When she unexpectedly finds love, they are soon separated and she must face Japan’s attack on China and Pearl Harbour while her husband is an ocean away.
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