Captivating historical fiction

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It’s 1918 and 18-year-old Willow leaves her home in Korea for the foreign land of Hawaii to become a Picture Bride. Upon arrival, she soon realizes that the matchmaker’s promises were actually lies. THE PICTURE BRIDE follows Willow’s life as well as several other picture brides as they navigate their new lives and work to overcome struggles.

THE PICTURE BRIDE was a fantastic historical fiction read. I found Willow’s story to be captivating and loved that her connections to her friends were also included so that we were able to see how other picture brides found their way as well. I can’t imagine being in Willow’s situation, uprooting my life and traveling so far away to marry someone I’d only seen a photo of. As if the disappointment in finding out the matchmaker lied to her about being able to attend school and that her husband was a land owner wasn’t enough, Willow faced challenge after challenge yet somehow still persevered. Her strength was phenomenal and kept me turning pages to see how she would navigate whatever was thrown at her next. The pacing was well done. There was a twist toward the end of the book that took me by surprise.

I liked that the author noted how this book came to fruition and the translator gave notes on the methods of translation. Given that I do not speak or read in the original language, it’s difficult to comment on the quality of translation. I can say that I appreciate the careful thought and detail taken by the translator as described and I found the notes to be an interesting insight into the process. This is the first of Lee Geum-Yi’s books to be translated to English. I would certainly read others should they be translated in the future.

I enjoyed THE PICTURE BRIDE very much and would definitely recommend to fans of historical fiction.