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The Kinship of Secrets

by Eugenia Kim

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817241,943 (4.31)4
"From the author of The Calligrapher's Daughter comes the riveting story of two sisters, one raised in the United States, the other in South Korea, and the family that bound them together even as the Korean War kept them apart"--

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War divides families in so many ways. This has been a reality through history and continues to be a reality for so many throughout the world. #TheKinshipofSecrets is a story written based on Eugenia Kim's own family history - modified and fictionalized but, at the heart of it, true. This book tells the story of a family - specifically, two sisters - divided and then reunited. A powerful and moving book of war, survival, and the immigrant experience against the backdrop of the Korean War.

Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2019/10/the-kinship-of-secrets.html

Reviewed for #NetGalley. ( )
  njmom3 | Oct 7, 2019 |
Miran lives in America. Inja lives in Korea. The two girls are sisters. In 1948, Najin and Calvin leave Korea with only one daughter hoping to return to Korea, soon, to reunite their family. They leave for America with the older, weaker daughter, intending to return for their other daughter. Unfortunately, the situation in Korea gradually grows hostile, and, eventually, war breaks out, delaying their endeavor for fifteen long, excruciating years. Though sisters of the same family, Inja and Miran grow up in very different environments. Miran grows up in a thriving, carefree, and prosperous United States, while Inja flees a war, struggles to find food, and lives in a very slowly developing, war torn Korea.

Secrets fill their family tree, and parents and children struggle to provide happiness for one another through maintaining these secrets. As these secrets are revealed to the reader, we realize the love and devotion to family and to what is right, that has filled the family’s life with unimaginable strife and struggle.

This is a tender and loving book about duty to family and to the human race. It is about silently doing the right thing and not bragging about it. It is about deep and enduring love. It shows us that there are more important things than material goods. ( )
  Sandralovesbooks | Jul 13, 2019 |
Wow! Being able to write like Eugenia Kim does is a real talent. Being able to tell the story of Korean War through a child and at the same time comparing it to the life of a sibling in America was riveting. The surprising interconnectedness between the two sisters deepened the story. ( )
  brangwinn | Jan 28, 2019 |
In 1948, a Korean family is split up. Najin and Calvin Cho want to go to the USA with their two daughters, but money is short and there is the issue of convincing the government that they intend to return. Leaving one daughter will solve both those problems, so they take baby Miran with them and leave Inja with Najin’s family. New born Inja doesn’t miss or remember them; to her, her uncle and aunt are parents. Her grandparents also share the house with them, so she has no lack of family.

When the Korean War breaks out, it makes the possibility of getting Inja out dimmer. Inja and her family find themselves running south from the North Korean troops, and spend time in a refugee camp with nothing to their names. It takes years for them to rebuild their lives again. Meanwhile, Najin sends packages to them every week with money, clothing, and other goods. She doesn’t know that Aunt and Uncle have to sell most of the goods to get enough money for food and necessities. The Chos work endless hours to afford a home in the suburbs as well, and Miran grows up as an American girl, albeit one who knows she is different.

It’s not until Inja is in high school that the Chos find a way to get her out. By then, Inja doesn’t want to go; she has friends, is doing very well in school, and she loves her Uncle and Aunt. She has no desire to see these people she doesn’t know; she speaks little English and her sister speaks no Korean. Miran is shaken by Inja’s arrival; suddenly she has to share everything including her room. Can two sisters so different find their way to love each other?

I loved this book. I felt great sympathy to all of them; they were all doing the best they could in bad situations. I held my breath to see how the sisters would do together; would they get along? Would they come to understand how the other had grown up? Would Inja grow to love her blood parents? The characters are easy to care about. The prose is wonderful. Five stars. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Dec 20, 2018 |
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On a chilly summer night, the newsmonger trudged uphill to a residential enclave of Seoul, the last neighborhood on his route.
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Eugenia Kim is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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