Forgotten Reflections by Young-Im Lee

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:


1945. Rice fields seem endless in a quaint farming village of South Korea, yet Iseul and the villagers have been on the verge of starvation for as long as they can remember; the last of their Japanese colonizers have taken every last grain with them. In the newly independent Korea, Iseul dreams of what her future might bring. Yet, war is on the horizon, and the boy she has fallen for is an alleged North Korean communist spy.

Amidst war, Jung-Soo and Iseul embark on a comic journey of self-discovery across the mountainous peninsula, where they are aided by the occasional legendary ghost and animals. Music helps them pass the time, as does the radio and the crafty carpentry skills of Iseul who would eventually make history with her handcrafted hanji paper. Unexpected friendships are forged, love burgeons and betrayal taints their elusive dreams.

In the current international climate where North Korea takes center stage, “Forgotten Reflections” ponders on what the Korean War means to South Korea, spanning three generations as the nation rises from the ashes.


Iseul’s and Jung-Soo’s story is a heart-wrenching one but, one worth reading. In Forgotten Reflections, we travel to the rice capital in South Korea during the time of the Forgotten War.

I love the history content in this story as well as the characters who bring it to life. Forgotten Reflections is written in my favorite style of historical fiction, in which the main story unfolds at the same rate that a character in our time is discovering the history, therefore we have two stories in one book.

It’s a slower paced novel for sure, and may seem to drag on for some readers, but it is filled with many interesting facts that help the story along. It’s relatively clean, with the occasional curse words and the violence that comes with war is only mildly graphic.

Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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