Thursday, August 28, 2014

History Corner: Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews


Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from the author, for review purposes on social media, and this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.


Daughters of the Dragon cover


Synopsis:

During  World War II, the Japanese forced 200,000 young Korean women to be sex slaves or “comfort women” for their soldiers. This is one woman’s riveting story of strength, courage and promises kept. In 1943, the Japanese tear young Ja-hee and her sister from their peaceful family farm to be comfort women for the Imperial Army. Before they leave home, their mother gives them a magnificent antique comb with an ivory inlay of a two-headed dragon, saying it will protect them. The sisters suffer terribly at the hands of the Japanese, and by the end of the war, Ja-hee must flee while her sister lies dying. Ja-hee keeps her time as a comfort woman a secret while she struggles to rebuild her life. She meets a man in North Korea who shows her what true love is. But the communists take him away in the middle of the night, and she escapes to the South. There, she finally finds success as the country rebuilds after the Korean War. However when her terrible secret is revealed, she’s thrown into poverty. In the depths of despair, she’s tempted to sell the comb with the two-headed dragon that she believes has no magic for her. Then one day she discovers its true meaning and her surprising heredity. And now she must find the only person who can carry on the legacy of the two-headed dragon… someone she abandoned years ago. 

Set within the tumultuous backdrop of 20th century Korea, Daughters of the Dragon by award-winning author William Andrews will make you cry and cheer for Ja-hee. And in the end, you’ll have a better understanding of the Land of the Morning Calm. Daughters of the Dragon is inspired by The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, Memiors of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, the books of Amy Tan and Lisa See.


Review:

This book very much reminded me of Memoirs of a Geisha- it had the same pull you in from page one, and not let you go aspect, as well shaking up what you THOUGHT you knew about history! I found myself saying I would read 2/3 chapters, and reading 9 instead! Once I started, I couldn't wait to get back into the book and see what would happen next, hoping it would be nothing but goof for Ja-nee. The first part of the book deals with the Japanese occupation and is an eye opener as far as the 'lost history' of the comfort women. The second part tells the story of Communism in Korea- how it started and the after affects from it. Both sections are history that the Western world doesn't hear much of, so the entire book is an excellent history lesson of the East. But it is also a character driven tale, and you will find yourself cheering for Ja-nee and her descendants and the end will come as no surprise! This is a tale that will stay with you for a long time, and I highly recommend it as needed reading! 

Be sure to check out the author's website for more information on the history of the comfort women, and the controversy surrounding the 'apologies' and demands for restitution. It helps to lead context to the story!



About the Author


Bill Andrews has a personal connection to Korea - his only child who arrived from the Land of the Morning Calm as a cheerful, smart four-month-old. Since then, Bill has been fascinated by Korea. 

For over 30 years, Bill was a copywriter and a marketing/brand executive with several Fortune 500 companies. For fifteen of the more painful years, he ran his own advertising agency. At night and on weekends and sometimes during the workday, Bill wrote fiction. Bill's first novel titled THE ESSENTIAL TRUTH (coming out later in 2014) won first place in the Mayhaven Contest for unpublished fiction. Check out his website for more info.

Today, Bill is retired and focuses on his writing. He lives in Minneapolis with his lovely wife, an inner-city public school teacher for 32 years. And Bill proudly reports that the cheerful, smart four-month old is now an orthopedic surgeon.


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