I wish I liked this.
Honestly, I am really mad at this book. It’s not the author’s fault, it’s entirely the fault of the marketing team/publishing house, but yeesh.
he plot of Heart and Seoul is solid. We learn our protagonist, Hara, is adopted and South Korean but lived her life with her adoptive parents in Iowa. She never really felt like she fit in because of her heritage, which is understandable, and her adoptive parents are white and thus she doesn’t have a strong connection to her Korean culture. When someone close to her passes away she is prompted to take a DNA test she is able to figure out her biological father’s name and decides to travel to Korea to try and find him and learn things about her culture. Upon landing she of course ends up falling for a Korean man she meets early on, and the rest of the book is the drama that unfolds from there.
Originally I picked this book out to try as I adore K-Pop and have been taking a Korean class to learn how to read Korean and understand some things about cultural differences. However, I was totally deceived by the cover of this book. It does not at all accurately describe this novel. The cover is cutesy and very new adult contemporary romance, and the genre listing for this book also calls it romance.
It is not romance.
Romance novels NEED a “Happy Ever After” or a “Happy For Now” ending while the characters figure things out. To categorize this as a romance novel would absolutely piss off romance readers as this book ends in the most boring, not happy way. Had I known that from the beginning I wouldn’t have read it, honestly. This is a pretty okay example of Relationship Fiction as this is a book about her journey to finding her culture and finding her place in the world rather than her connection with her romantic partner. Yes, it does have elements of romance, but that doesn’t justify the classification.
I learned after reading that OF COURSE there is a sequel in the works to this, but I won’t be picking it up. This whole story is fine, I really loved the Seoul setting and found all of that fascinating, but the whole book is kind of just one long serious downer and not something I would ever read for fun.
Not a bad book, just a badly marketed one that ruined my experience.
Title: Heart and Seoul
Author: Jen Frederick
Three Descriptors: High-drama; Moving; Culturally diverse
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