Wednesday 18 January 2023

๐Ÿ“– Book Review ~ The Picture Bride by Lee Geum-yi (Translated by An Soen Jae)


10 November 2022

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book

Could you marry a man you’ve never met? Three Korean women in 1918 make a life-changing journey to Hawaii, where they will marry, having seen only photographs of their intended husbands.

Different fates await each of these women. Hong-ju, who dreams of a marriage of ‘natural love’, meets a man who looks twenty years older than his photograph; Song-hwa, who wants to escape from her life of ridicule as the granddaughter of a shaman, meets a lazy drunkard. And then there’s Willow, whose 26-year-old groom, Taewan, looks just like his image …

Real life doesn’t always resemble a picture, but there’s no going back. And while things don’t turn out quite as they’d hoped, even for Willow, they do find something that makes their journey worthwhile — each other.

๐Ÿ“– My Review..

It’s 1918 and three young women leave Korea to start a new life to be married to a man they have only seen in a photograph. Leaving behind their lives of poverty and oppression each of the women have a hope for a better future. However, as they arrive at their destination there is disappointment and sadness waiting for them as all is not as it was promised.

During the course of the book we follow the story of Willow, whose marriage to Taewan gets off to a shaky start, but determined to make the best of her new situation we grow to admire Willow for her perseverance and stoicism. Her two friends, Hong-ju and Song-hwa each have their own challenges when they discover that the promise of a better life doesn’t meet with their expectations.

The Picture Bride is beautifully written historical fiction which shines a light on a forgotten period, bringing to life the uncertainty of living in a time which was, not just politically uncertain but was also a time of great social change. Each of the women are brought vividly to life but it is Willow who really captured my imagination and for that reason I felt that she encapsulated the spirit of the novel.

Expertly translated, The Picture Bride is an enlightening story which will stay with me for a long time.

About the Author

Lee Geum-yi is a bestselling YA author in Korea. The Picture Bride is her debut adult novel, and her debut in the English language.

About the Translator

An Seon Jae has lived in Korea since 1980. He was born in Cornwall in 1942, and since 1969 has been a member of the Community of Taizรฉ, where he is known as Brother Anthony. He has published some 50 volumes of translated Korean poetry, as well as translations of several Korean novels.

Twitter #ThePictureBride


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to comment - Jaffareadstoo appreciates your interest.