Publisher: Madhouse Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: copy provided by author
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.
First off, my decision to not finish this book shouldn’t hinder anyone from reading it themselves. I love historical fiction. I, however, could not get into this story no matter how hard I tried. In a month’s time, I only read 75 pages. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say that it’s a boring read. I just could not keep reading this book without getting angry. This is me trying to brave past my own personal demons, but I just couldn’t do it.
It started out with a young Korean-American woman, dealing with the death of her adoptive mother, and her going to Korea to meet her birth mother. Mind you, she never really cared about meeting her until recently, so she and her adoptive father travel to meet the woman who gave her life. When she arrives at the place to meet her, she is informed that her birth mother passed away, and she wants to know why that information wasn’t provided before she flew all those miles to meet her. As she is leaving, she is accosted by an older Korean woman who gives her a package and a cryptic message to meet the following day, alone. From there, I gathered who the mystery woman is and the beginning of a long and painful story that lies behind an old family heirloom. As the story slowly unfolded, I just could not go any further. It was too much to take, and I tried daily to keep reading but failed miserably.
I have no clue how the rest of this story played out. I’m hoping sometime in the near future that I will be able to sit down and finish this book. Don’t let my thoughts keep you from this story. Everyone has different reactions to stories, mine just happened to be a negative one that has no bearing on the rest of this book. If you enjoy historical fiction then I say go for it. There are a myriad of Korean and Japanese proverbs within just those 75 pages that I read, so that was insightful. As I didn’t finish this book, I can’t rate it appropriately.