The Picture Bride was an incredible story about young women sending a picture of themselves to potential grooms in hopes of being chosen as a bride. The story takes place in the early 1900's, when there was a shortage of women for the immigrant workers (mostly Korean) in Hawaii. The women took a chance on this adventure, hoping to improve their current life situation and leave Korea (at the time under threat of Japanese rule.) Unfortunately, not everyone portrayed themselves accurately in the pictures and biographies, often depicting themselves as younger, wealthier, healthier, etc., than was true. This story focuses on three particular women - Willow, Hongju, and Songwha - each escaping Korea for a different reason. Although they left with anxious excitement, their emotions quickly shifted upon meeting their newly betrothed husbands and glimpsing the reality of their futures. They move forward, however, bravely carving out their lives despite the difficult roles they must experience.
This book was very intense and revealing. I wasn’t familiar with ‘picture brides’ between Korean women and Hawaiian men, and the large number of immigrants that state invited into its borders in the early days to help manage its crops. I understand the picture bride attraction and how these women could easily have been deceived, but it is even harder to grasp the difficulty of the lives upon arriving to Hawaii. They endured so much and kept pushing through, often leaning on each other, sometimes pushing back. When one reads this book, they are opened to the history of this time period and these particular people. They were brave and made the most of the situation they were dealt. I thoroughly enjoyed this book for the historical, romantical, emotional, familial, communal, and sisterhood of these women. This is a book for all types of readers - women, men, young, old.
I received an ARC copy of the book, and all comments and thoughts are my unbiased opinion. Thanks to #bookishfirst #ThePictureBride #LeeGeumyi #Forge