Willow faces an uncertain future as a "Picture Bride"

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After leaving Korea in 1918 to become a "Picture Bride" in Hawaii, Willow faces an uncertain future with Taewan, a man she's never met. Will he treat her kindly? Will he allow her to attend school? Will his face even match the one in the photograph she received from the matchmaker?

I simply cannot imagine leaving behind not only my family but my country in order to marry a man I'd only glimpsed in a photo. But these are desperate times and Willow is anxious and excited to face her future. Luckily for Willow, she embarks on this great adventure with friends Hongju and Songhwa. Once she reaches Hawaii, however, the friends are soon separated. What joys and hardships will they face in their new lives? Will they regret their decisions?

I enjoyed learning about Willow's life as a Korean woman moving to Hawaii and the unrest between Korea and Japan... and how it still affected them even while living in Hawaii. Speaking of Hawaii, I loved revisiting locations I've been to and learning more about its history. I'm not sure if it's because this book was translated from Korean into English but some of the conversations felt a bit stilted and unfinished. When the last section of the book jumped ahead 18 years, it felt rushed, like the author was trying too hard to create a strong, meaningful ending.

If you'd like to read more about this topic and the history of Hawaii, I would highly recommend Honolulu (5 stars) by Alan Brennert!

Location: Korea and Hawaii

I received an advance copy this book from BookishFirst. All opinions are my own.