Aaayyyeee, it’s 2.58a.m my time and I finished this book about fifteen mins ago, I tried to go to sleep but I really could not. I can’t believe what I just read, so I may as well give my review. Thank you to NetGallery for my free copy in exchange for an honest review… Let’s get into it!
From the bestselling author of Daughters of the Dragon comes an epic novel of a star-crossed couple who must defy tradition, war, and prejudice to keep their love alive.
At the urging of a Los Angeles detective, international rights lawyer Anna Carlson assists in a murder investigation. It’s a personal request from Suk-bo Yi, a ninety-nine-year-old woman questioned in a mysterious death at a Koreatown nursing home. A stranger to Anna, Suk-bo has a tale to tell. For reasons of her own, she’s chosen Anna—only Anna—to hear it…
Suk-bo’s story begins in 1937, when the Japanese occupying Korea force her to marry one of their own, named Hisashi. In spite of their differences, they fall madly in love, pitting them against two violently opposing cultures. When Hisashi joins the Japanese Imperial Army and disappears, Suk-bo embarks on a quest through years of war, bigotry, and poverty to find him.
But Suk-bo’s unfolding history reveals more than Anna can imagine: an heirloom comb bearing an intricately carved two-headed dragon binding her to Suk-bo’s past. Soon Anna will discover her own legacy at the heart of Suk-bo’s epic love story.
Kim’s Review 5 PLUS Amazing Stars
Did you read the blurb? Read it again, this is what captured me on NetGallery after I saw the cover. I don’t even know where to start with this review, but maybe I should just let you know if you don’t believe me how good it is once I closed the book I went to Amazon, to download the other two books ( I signed up to Kindle Unlimited last week and it’s free to read also if you have it). One of the books has over 1,000 reviews, and get this it’s still on five stars!! On the European Amazon. Here’s what I loved about this first one I read.
The plot and writing style> We follow a very strong female MC from a poor Korean girl, to a forced bride of a Japanese man,they fall in love, then all the ‘dirty scandle’ of what goes on in the household leads her to be split up from her son, (who they take away) and her husband. We follow her story up until she is a woman in her 90s and they are reunited in the USA, with of course some drama along the way. This is a brief outline with no real spoilers, however the plot is a genius itself.
It is written in a style I have just done and love, that classic ‘back to front’ style, where readers start at the end of the story (where she is arrested for murder in the present day) and then we go back to the Japanese occupation of Korea, and come forward to the present day. The plot has turns, twists, and heartbreaking movements that moved me to the point of actual tears overflowing. The ending also ties up nicely with Anna, I won’t give spoilers but it really did seal the 5 plus stars for me!!
Characters> They all moved me to some extent, really they did. However, Suk-bo herself, I felt as a reader was so authentic to read. All her experiences with her son, his downfall, her commitment to finding the Japanese man she was forbidden to love, how she experienced life when she landed in the USA, I could really dig. Especially her motherhood experiences. The characters are well developed and felt so real, I could relate.
The twists/tear jerks> Man, there were four main scenes/events that brought on the damp eyes. I won’t list them as they give too many spoilers, and I’m not really one to give away these and ruin your reading experience. But let me just say, it was an emotional read at times.
Overall for me as a reader I am giving The Spirit of The Dragon 5 plus stars, as I experienced a great love story and romance, that was executed to an outstanding standard as an avid reader of romance in my humble view. I also experienced a bit of crime (is she innocent or not) in the present day, interesting historical fiction with building on what already know about that Japanese takeover of Asia. But most of all I experienced how things like culture, race, bigotry, and small mindedness, also the government and their hidden agenda can tear up a community of people.
I put the book down, and like I said headed straight to Amazon for the other two, then for a moment I stood in my kitchen and really thought about what I just read, as the ending is outstanding!!! As well as the start and the middle!! When I tied it all up, and thought about how this author has used REAL historic events, and penned a fiction novel that covers a mash up of genres such as romance, historical,a bit of crime I said to myself (as I wiped a tear away) ‘God this writer is so talented, look at me I am still thinking about the characters and I have tears at the corners of my eyes’. This is the best book I have read in 2019, I know we still have two more months to go, but honestly people this writer has serious talent. I think God that he writes in the women’s fiction genre, as I appreciate him!! His work moved me to tears, and reflection on life and history.
Five plus stars! I recommend this to anyone who loves historical fiction, has a fascination with Asia, anyone who has an interest in human rights, loves romance, and mystery!
It’s after 3.00am now I have said me piece about how yummy this book is, maybe I can get to sleep and whip open one of the other ones tomorrow.
Happy reading if you dive into this!