Genres: Women's Fiction
Setting: Seoul, South Korea
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Also by this author: Last Hope (Hitman, #4), Jockblocked, Downed, Undeclared
From USA Today bestselling author Jen Frederick comes a heart-wrenching yet hopeful romance that shows that the price of belonging is often steeper than expected.
As a Korean adoptee, Hara Wilson doesn't need anyone telling her she looks different from her white parents. She knows. Every time Hara looks in the mirror, she's reminded that she doesn't look like anyone else in her family--not her loving mother, Ellen; not her jerk of a father, Pat; and certainly not like Pat's new wife and new "real" son.
At the age of twenty-five, she thought she had come to terms with it all, but when her father suddenly dies, an offhand comment at his funeral triggers an identity crisis that has her running off to Seoul in search of her roots.
What Hara finds there has all the makings of a classic K-drama: a tall, mysterious stranger who greets her at the airport, spontaneous adventures across the city, and a mess of familial ties, along with a red string of destiny that winds its way around her, heart and soul. Hara goes to Korea looking for answers, but what she gets instead is love--a forbidden love that will either welcome Hara home...or destroy her chance of finding one.
Heart and Seoul totally stole my heart and soul! I have always loved Jen Frederick’s books, but this was unexpected! Hara is on a journey of discovery and she really does find herself. While I couldn’t understand Hara’s struggles and desires to know where you come from, I adored reading her journey.
As with all families, Hara’s family has it’s own dysfunctions, secrets, and struggles which she unpacks on her trip. Hara is learning about Korean culture and about her thoughts and feelings regarding her adoptive family. She is 25 and determined. I think the trip really pushed her out of her comfort zone, and that was something I truly admired. I don’t know that I could really do what she did! The is Hara’s story; it is more women’s fiction than anything. Hara blossoms during this book. It is at times sad, funny, heartbreaking and just about every feeling in between.
As I said, this is really more women’s fiction, but there is a small romance. I enjoyed it, but it almost felt awkward in a story so focused on Hara’s growth. I think if there was more romance, it would have felt more natural; conversely, if there was no romance at all it would have felt natural as well. But, the tiny romance just felt off in what was otherwise such a beautifully written story.
Anyone who has had a quarter life crisis over their identity will relate to Hara-even if your crisis wasn’t about being a Korean adoptee. There is a universality to much of the story, Heart and Seoul, that will ensnare readers!
- POV: 1st
- Tears: a few
Kristen Hannah, Nancy Thayer, Jan Moran…then you will probably like Heart and Seoul!