Beautifully Written

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Relying on a go-between, Willow, Hongju, and Songwha undertake a long and arduous journey from Korea to Hawaii. They were led to believe that they could get rich and prosper being picture brides — marrying Korean men now living and working in Hawaii. They would soon find out, however, that pictures and tales of riches did not tell the real story.

The Picture Bride is a poingnant and heartfelt tale of three young women who dared to leave the comforts of home in Korea to make a better life for themselves and their families. But moving to a foreign land with different customs and languages didn’t make life easier. Add in the fact that their picture bridegrooms weren’t exactly accurate. How could they have believed everything that was told to them? And what other lies would they uncover?

As the granddaughter of a Japan picture bride, I found author Geum-yi’s depictions of the life and times of Asian and other immigrants so relatable. I didn’t get to hear many stories from my mother or grandmother. But I do know from what little they told me, that life on the plantation was very difficult. They made due with what little they had. And it was not until they were able to move off the plantation that life got better.

It is evident that Geum-yi has conducted extensive research. As a former Hawaii resident, I am quite familiar with all of the streets, townships, and cities that Geum-yi mentions in her novel. That is what made The Picture Bride so engaging for me. It’s not like she picked out ficticious names, but she actually used the real names of streets and plantations. And yes, those plantation towns still exist till today. Add in well developed characters and you have a beautiful novel worthy of five exquisite stars.

I received a physical ARC from Forge Books through BookishFirst. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.