The Kinship of Secrets
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.In 1948 Najin and Calvin Cho, with their young daughter Miran, travel from South Korea to the United States in search of new opportunities. Wary of the challenges they know will face them, Najin and Calvin make the difficult decision to leave their other daughter, Inja, behind with their extended family; soon, they hope, they will return to her.But then war breaks out in Korea, and there is no end in sight to the separation. Miran grows up in prosperous American suburbia, under the shadow of the daughter left behind, as Inja grapples in her war-torn land with ties to a family she doesn’t remember. Najin and Calvin desperately seek a reunion with Inja, but are the bonds of love strong enough to reconnect their family over distance, time, and war? And as deep family secrets are revealed, will everything they long for be upended?Told through the alternating perspectives of the distanced sisters, and inspired by a true story, The Kinship of Secrets? explores the cruelty of war, the power of hope, and what it means to be a sister.

The Kinship of Secrets Details

TitleThe Kinship of Secrets
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 6th, 2018
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-139781328987822
Rating
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction

The Kinship of Secrets Review

  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this book - an emotional, based on true life story of a remarkable bond between separated & reunited sisters. Unforgettable. Highly recommend.
  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    This novel has everything I love about reading about other cultures and time periods, starting during the Korean War, and extending well into the '60's. Najin and Calvin emigrate to the U.S., but only bring one daughter, Miran. Inja is left behind with her grandparents and Uncle's family - with the intention of bringing her over. However, due to war, financial circumstances, and other situations, Inja does not come to the US until she is 15. Adjusting to live in America, adjusting to having a si This novel has everything I love about reading about other cultures and time periods, starting during the Korean War, and extending well into the '60's. Najin and Calvin emigrate to the U.S., but only bring one daughter, Miran. Inja is left behind with her grandparents and Uncle's family - with the intention of bringing her over. However, due to war, financial circumstances, and other situations, Inja does not come to the US until she is 15. Adjusting to live in America, adjusting to having a sister, and parents is not an easy feat. Learning about Korea in the 1950's, the politics and culture of the times, as well as the character development of both sisters, makes for a wonderful read. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
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  • Laura Hill
    January 1, 1970
    The Kinship of SecretsThank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for an early review copy of The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim, which will publish November 6, 2018.  All thoughts are my own.Writing: 4 Plot: 4.5 Characters: 5An utterly engaging story that follows two sisters as they grow up separately due to the Korean War. When Najin and Calvin leave Korea for America, they bring with them the older sister — Miran — but leave baby Inja behind with her uncle and grandparents. What w The Kinship of SecretsThank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for an early review copy of The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim, which will publish November 6, 2018.  All thoughts are my own.Writing: 4 Plot: 4.5 Characters: 5An utterly engaging story that follows two sisters as they grow up separately due to the Korean War. When Najin and Calvin leave Korea for America, they bring with them the older sister — Miran — but leave baby Inja behind with her uncle and grandparents. What was originally meant to be a 1-2 year absence becomes a 16 year separation as first war and then U.S. immigration policies serve as barriers to reunion. When Inja is finally reunited with her “real” family, she is understandably bereft at being torn from her “real” home and family in Korea.Well-written and full of fascinating, well-researched details of life in both locations as seen through the eyes of a young girl growing up. The time frame spans 1950 through 1973. Inja’s life in Korea goes through the terribly difficult war years, the armistice, and reconstruction before she leaves for America. Ten years later she returns and sees yet another Korea - one that is modernizing under the leadership of Park Chung-hee. The focus on individuality and independence in America is contrasted with a more communal priority in Korea. For Inja, “The comfort of being home, her Korean home, came from fulfilling the drive to belong. But this drive also heightened the pain of division when a single small thing marked one as different, such as Inja having a mother but not having a mother; for Uncle, having her as a daughter who was not his daughter; for Miran being Korean yet not being Korean.”The role of secrets and the truth in love and family cohesion is a theme throughout the book. A number of painful secrets are kept in order to avoid bringing others pain. Inja has learned and internalized this behavior and reflects on its value: Secrecy is “a way to live in the accumulation of a difficult family history, a way that was a profound expression of love.” When Inja thinks of the many secrets she keeps, she thinks: “These were all precedents that venerated keeping secrets from her mother as being rituals of love.”This book is genuine and full of insights. It’s a great opportunity to learn history through the eyes of people who have lived it and culture through the eyes of people who embody it. The story appears to be loosely based on aspects of the author’s family which is probably responsible for the natural and honest feel of the prose. While full of feeling, the book is not overly dramatic which I appreciate. For those who enjoyed Pachinko, I found this to be a complementary narrative that further fleshes out Korean culture and history. A great read.
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  • Ruthie
    January 1, 1970
    This is the story of a Korean family who emigrates to the U.S, leaving one child behind. The younger daughter, Inja, is left with her grandparents, aunt and uncle. The plan is that the family will return for her, but fate intercedes - war, finances, paperwork - they all contribute to the postponement of the reunion until Inja is well into her teens. The book follows Miran, as she grows up comfortably in Washington D.C and Inja, as she and her relatives face war, displacement, famine and more. In This is the story of a Korean family who emigrates to the U.S, leaving one child behind. The younger daughter, Inja, is left with her grandparents, aunt and uncle. The plan is that the family will return for her, but fate intercedes - war, finances, paperwork - they all contribute to the postponement of the reunion until Inja is well into her teens. The book follows Miran, as she grows up comfortably in Washington D.C and Inja, as she and her relatives face war, displacement, famine and more. Inja bonds with her grandparents and her Uncle while Miran struggles to understand her parents. We also read the mother, Najin's, diary as she records her thoughts and struggles. She feels tremendous guilt, has trouble assimilating and misses her family. Eventually Inja is sent for- at age 16 - and the family must learn to be whole again. Inja must assimilate to both American culture and her nuclear family, Miran must learn to be a sister. The author, Eugenia Kim, paints a very realistic picture of how each family member copes, first with the separation, then with the newly re-formed family. The emotions of anger, hurt, resentment, fear, guilt and love are all explored and feel true. The background of life in Korea vs life in the USA - where the Korean war was not in the headlines is also interesting - always love when I learn stuff! My favorite parts were reading about Miran and her mother sending care-packages to Korea and what they send provides a snapshot of American culture and also shows how the gifts are sometimes little luxuries, sometimes the means of survival.The novel is based on Kim's family's true story (modified) and Kim describes how later in life she asked her sister what the experience had been like for her and she used this as the basis of the story.
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  • Theresa Smith Writes
    January 1, 1970
    ‘This novel is a fiction derived from the facts of my family’s life, and especially my sister’s life, during and after the Korean War, the fifth deadliest war in human history, also known as “the forgotten war”.’ – Author notes.This novel has impressed me so much more than I could have ever anticipated. It’s a delicate balance of clear expression and deeply moving prose, a story that is quite honestly, unforgettable. And the fact that it is based for the most part on the author’s own family, mak ‘This novel is a fiction derived from the facts of my family’s life, and especially my sister’s life, during and after the Korean War, the fifth deadliest war in human history, also known as “the forgotten war”.’ – Author notes.This novel has impressed me so much more than I could have ever anticipated. It’s a delicate balance of clear expression and deeply moving prose, a story that is quite honestly, unforgettable. And the fact that it is based for the most part on the author’s own family, makes it even more impacting. Some might wonder why, with so much truth embedded into the narrative, the author didn’t write this story as a memoir. Personally, I feel that fiction offers more creative power to most stories, provided you can strike the right balance between truth and narrative, which Eugenia Kim does with a deft hand.‘Forgive me, Lord, if in the darkest places hidden deep in my heart – hidden even from my own sincerity – there should reside the thought that I have brought the wrong daughter to America.’The Kinship of Secrets tells the story of two sisters growing up apart. One with her parents in America, the other in South Korea with her extended family made up of her uncle, aunt, and grandparents. The story begins at the outbreak of the Korean War, when the girls are aged three and four years old, and spans through until they are in their mid-twenties. It seems at first unbelievable that a couple would migrate to another country and only take one daughter. As a mother myself, I found this intensely unsettling. Yet, I was unable to reproach Najin, because her loss and sacrifice was so profound. Times were so different, it was no simple matter of hopping on an aeroplane and travelling in comfort like we do today. As reprehensible as it seemed to leave one child behind, I could understand it intimately, and as more information surrounding the decision and what influenced the choosing of one child over the other came to light, the more I understood, and the more my heart cracked open for Najin.‘Her mind swirled with questions and something dark she didn’t like feeling. Always it was the war. This war, the war before, the one before that. It seemed everyone used it as an excuse for all ills. And perhaps it was.’I’ve never read a novel about the Korean War before, so I really appreciated gaining such insight into the politics and the conflict, both during the war and in the unsettled years that followed. I draw back to Eugenia Kim’s effortless writing style, so clear and precise, yet never overloading with facts or politics. I felt like I was fully informed, yet never weighted down. By facts, at least. My emotions were another story! There were so many moments, of horror, of simple joy, of human connection, that impacted me greatly.‘Would she even like her? Something about that thought felt wrong, as if having a sister meant they’d automatically like – and even love – each other. But what if they didn’t?’The separation of these sisters is the driving force behind this story as we are eternally moving towards a time when they might meet, when Inja might finally be reunited with the family she has no memory of. The difficulties attached to this were explored fully, most notably the emotional side of it. Inja’s uncle was such a incredibly wonderful man, he was truly inspirational in the way he loved Inja and brought her up on his sister’s behalf with such care. But this of course made it all the more harder for Inja to contemplate ever leaving Korea. She loved Korea: her friends, her school, her family. Everything in America was unknown, most particularly, her sister Miran who spoke no Korean, just as Inja spoke no English. These sisters were not only separated by distance, but by culture. It was quite heartbreaking.‘She was aware of a strange kind of power one gained from holding secrets, and how confidences begat a kind of self-confidence – how the power of secrets required an inner strength and the maturity of discernment to keep them hidden.’Inja was a favourite of mine but I did really feel for Miran, a Korean girl who was not Korean, if that makes any sense. She was American, but growing up in the era of the Cold War, shadowed by a mythical sister who had been left behind in Korea, who her mother clearly pined for. Inja was a big part of her life, for fifteen years parcels were sent, she shared so many of her things with Inja, without having ever met her. Their language barrier meant they were unable to even exchange letters. The adjustment period for the sisters when they at last lived together was fraught at times, but lined with sincerity. I loved how they made their way with each other, connected by a fragile thread in the web that made up their family history. This is a novel about strong women, about hardship and sacrifice, about love and honour. It’s about finding yourself when you are lost within circumstances not of your own making. The title is particularly profound, especially with regards to Inga, who became quite the secret keeper within the family. So many themes of culture and family are explored alongside the consequences of war. The Kinship of Secrets is a remarkable novel, magnificent in its execution and profoundly beautiful in its narration. This is one I highly recommend.‘Her mother and grandmother had risen like dragons from the sea floor of a centuries-old, neo-Confucian culture of female oppression. She had been given a tremendous gift of two unique women whose lives – whose Korean lives – had already exemplified for her what she could learn from the burgeoning American feminist crusade.’Thanks is extended to Bloomsbury Publishing via Netgalley for providing me with a copy of The Kinship of Secrets for review.
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  • Charlotte
    January 1, 1970
    "Everybody wanted to go to America. Mountains of gold, streets strewn with coins, heaven on earth". And for Najin, Calvin Cho and Miran - only one of their two daughters- the dream has become a reality. But left behind in a very unsettled Korea, is the rest of the mother's family including their younger daughter, Inja. So the story is set -neither 'family' can settle and focus on the here and now as they constantly look across the seas and set their sights on a future where the will be a reunio "Everybody wanted to go to America. Mountains of gold, streets strewn with coins, heaven on earth". And for Najin, Calvin Cho and Miran - only one of their two daughters- the dream has become a reality. But left behind in a very unsettled Korea, is the rest of the mother's family including their younger daughter, Inja. So the story is set -neither 'family' can settle and focus on the here and now as they constantly look across the seas and set their sights on a future where the will be a reunion. The voices of both sisters are believable as they embrace their lives in the way children, who of course don't know any different, always do. Inja adores her Uncle as he is "so easy to love" with his "unreserved and expansive emotions" and quietly admires her grandmothers strength; "Her mother and grandmother had risen like dragons from the sea floor of a centuries-old, neo-Confucion culture of female oppression." Meanwhile Miran, in the land of plenty, struggles to understand her mother's more reserved nature and contend with the 'ghost' of her absent sister to whom her parents are so devoted. I was swept up in the family's story and their attempts to cope with the situations that years of political unrest placed them in. Furthermore, I was very taken with the close bonds that Eugenia Kim demonstrates between the different family members -understanding that physical representation and ease of communication are quite often lacking in familial relationships but that the respect and adoration is still there. Weaker were the attempts to draw the whole tale neatly together with the secrets referenced in the book's title. Inevitably, misunderstandings; inconsistencies in memories; deliberate attempts to spare others' heart-ache and opinions versus facts, lead to a series of 'hidden' truths within the family and I found the overt references to Inja's increasing responsibility as the new guardian of these truths jarred;"She was aware of a strange kind of power one gained from holding secrets, and how confidences begat a kind of self-confidence - how the power of secrets required an inner strength". Whilst this does not undo the story-telling, it does 'cheapen' the overall atmosphere and left me slightly deflated by the end.
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  • Diane Dunn
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley, the author and publishers for a copy of this book.Told through the perspective of two “sisters”, one who remains with grandparents and uncle in Korea and the other who emigrates with their“parents” to the U.S in search of better opportunities. Reuniting the family proves a struggle as the Korean War ensues. Very well written, seeing the struggle of the immigrant in a new country and the sister left behind. Interesting read as I knew little about this period of history.
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  • Reviewer The Brown Bookloft
    January 1, 1970
    Publicaton Info: November 6th 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Pre-pub Kindle edition courtesy of Eidelweiss+ by Above the Treeline.Summary: Four-year-old Inja lives with her uncle, aunt, grandparents and a small household staff in Korea. Rumors of an invasion, of impending war, swirl around. Her Uncle is concerned and follows the news and — the much more accurate — rumors closely. But Inja’s head is full of dreamy visions of her mysterious family in America. Inja knows she has a mother, fathe Publicaton Info: November 6th 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Pre-pub Kindle edition courtesy of Eidelweiss+ by Above the Treeline.Summary: Four-year-old Inja lives with her uncle, aunt, grandparents and a small household staff in Korea. Rumors of an invasion, of impending war, swirl around. Her Uncle is concerned and follows the news and — the much more accurate — rumors closely. But Inja’s head is full of dreamy visions of her mysterious family in America. Inja knows she has a mother, father and a sister who live far away. They regularly send her packages with toys, food and clothing. She has heard all her life that someday she will go live with her family in America, but there is always another reason for a delay.Nearly five-year-old Miran lives with her parents in America. Her father, Calvin, works as Korean translator and does Voice of America broadcasts. He is also a minister at the Korean church. Her mother, Najin, doesn’t speak English well, so Miran communicates for her when they run errands. She helps her mother assemble and mail the boxes to her mysterious “sister in Korea”.The novel continues in alternating chapters about the lives of both families. Inja grows up in war-torn Korea in a loving, but impoverished home. Miran’s family lives in typical post-WWII middle-class America. On the surface, the lives of the two girls have little in common. But as Inja matures and learns more about her family’s hidden history, she realizes that sometimes secrets don’t tear people apart; sometimes they are a powerful force that can bind people together.Comments: Overall, I liked this book and enjoyed reading it. At first, I found the writing and observations to be simplistic, but the story’s voice matured as the main narrator, Inja, did. The novel spans several decades and sometimes short-changes periods in the character’s lives. I realize this was done to keep the book to a manageable length, but it just felt awkward.The real depth of the book, obviously the most emotional part for the author, comes toward the end of the story and in the author’s notes. These sections bumped the book up a few notches for me. The author draws inspiration for The Kinship of Secrets from her own family.Recommended for readers of general, multi-cultural and historical fiction.
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  • Cavak
    January 1, 1970
    Coincidentally, The Kinship of Secrets partly addresses that void I felt from another book about the Korean War I read this year, On Desperate Ground by Hampton Sides. Whereas Sides extols heroics and/or events that occurred with North American military intervention, Kim weaves a decades long family narrative laying out the hardships of war from the divided, the fleeing, the confused and worried—the people without a gun or military connections.This isn't The Nightingale with spies and soldiers r Coincidentally, The Kinship of Secrets partly addresses that void I felt from another book about the Korean War I read this year, On Desperate Ground by Hampton Sides. Whereas Sides extols heroics and/or events that occurred with North American military intervention, Kim weaves a decades long family narrative laying out the hardships of war from the divided, the fleeing, the confused and worried—the people without a gun or military connections.This isn't The Nightingale with spies and soldiers running around committing espionage. This isn't The Bonesetter's Daughter about a mother's hidden past of public oppression and executions. This isn't H.M. Moran's fights to save lives on two fronts. In the ocean of novels set during a period of warfare, I haven't read too many where the main draw of the story are the ordinary people avoiding conflict altogether and surviving. That admirable act of living that we all take for granted at one point in our lives.Surprise: it's a story about a family before and long after two major wars. And surprise, surprise: it's roughly based on Kim's own family history both in North America and in South Korea. Many characters in the book reflect lines from her own family history, turning the mundane into an extraordinary feat.Even if you divorce The Kinship of Secrets from historical events, you still get a strong narrative about two families being separated. While the summary notes the two sisters' perspective, it's also told through their mother's eyes as she struggles to adapt to a foreign country and broods over her choices. When the sisters are too young to fully comprehend the world around them, the mother was a welcome addition to add some clarity to the situation. I was drawn into the novel about the midway point, when the sisters begin to form their own identities and how the social shifts affects them.When two cultures interact within fiction, many stories often have one favored side as "the correct one." But Kim writes about both cultures with warm respect and familiarity; they're both accepted with equal integrity. You don't have to have extensive knowledge of either culture to get a feeling of what it was like then. Though I think Inja gets slightly more focus than Miran towards the end, which kinda dampened my empathy for her when the secrets about their family are told in full. Personally, I think the writing is easy to binge-read. It's rare that you would be encouraged to look up something, and it's simple to understand. Yet I think The Kinship of Secrets is a stronger experience if you slow down to take in Kim's sensible and careful prose. Sure, it may seem slow and boring to do it that way. To me, I thought it was a necessary step. Because a story about the passage of decades is better when it isn't rushed.I received the book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.
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  • Dianad0018
    January 1, 1970
    I was tasked with reading the uncorrected proof of this book, and I gladly took on the responsibility, also seeing as it was a big opportunity to learn more about Korean people and a bit of Korean history.I LOVED it!! The book was so educational and enlightening from the small perspective of A Korean family during the difficult times... I was consumed and so addicted while reading the book. Taking into account it's a fiction based on a true story and real timeline, everything was so much more re I was tasked with reading the uncorrected proof of this book, and I gladly took on the responsibility, also seeing as it was a big opportunity to learn more about Korean people and a bit of Korean history.I LOVED it!! The book was so educational and enlightening from the small perspective of A Korean family during the difficult times... I was consumed and so addicted while reading the book. Taking into account it's a fiction based on a true story and real timeline, everything was so much more real. I can't express the emotions I felt while reading the story and the development as well as the pains and hardships of the two families, it was truly an emotional rollercoaster.What I loved the most about the writing and style; the short chapters with glimpses of the situations on both ends(Korean and American families) made is so much easier to read and most of all understand what they were going through. It was like experiencing everything as you were there. Worry was the first emotion I could grasp onto. Eugenia Kim did a great job with expressing the emotions of both sides of families at their time. Great respect!
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  • Kati Berman
    January 1, 1970
    The Kinship of SecretsI received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This story is loosely based on the experiences of the author’s family and based on the very helpful author’s note at the end, it accurately represents the story of Korea from the end of WWII to the 1970’s. Two sisters separated nearly from birth are later reunited. Miran grows up in America with her parents, Inja is left behind with an Uncle, Aunt and grandparents. The novel details what led to their sepa The Kinship of SecretsI received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This story is loosely based on the experiences of the author’s family and based on the very helpful author’s note at the end, it accurately represents the story of Korea from the end of WWII to the 1970’s. Two sisters separated nearly from birth are later reunited. Miran grows up in America with her parents, Inja is left behind with an Uncle, Aunt and grandparents. The novel details what led to their separation, the over 10 years living apart, their reunion in America and their return visit to Korea. As an immigrant to America, I could identify with both sisters, their experiences in America and their return to their native Korea. I found the first part of the book a little slow, and the last part rushed. I would have liked to see more balance. Overall, I learned a lot about Korea from reading this book and I am rating it 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4. Thanks NetGalley, the publisher and the author for the advanced copy.
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  • Anita Eti
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Just wow. This is one of those books you keep on your bookshelf and open when you're feeling ungrateful or something. Just reading about the experience of the 2 sisters makes one feel as if they should go thank their parents, and reading the descriptions of the brutality perpetrated during the seldom mentioned Korean war makes me feel like I need to review my history.This is a beautifully moving book, and I couldn't help but be engrossed in their lives, their kinship and shared connections. Wow. Just wow. This is one of those books you keep on your bookshelf and open when you're feeling ungrateful or something. Just reading about the experience of the 2 sisters makes one feel as if they should go thank their parents, and reading the descriptions of the brutality perpetrated during the seldom mentioned Korean war makes me feel like I need to review my history.This is a beautifully moving book, and I couldn't help but be engrossed in their lives, their kinship and shared connections. How jarring it must be to be separated from your parents for over a decade while you lived life in post-war Korea- or to be the other sister in America who feels as if she doesn't quite belong?As you progress in the story and learn about the other characters you really feel as if this is a movie playing in front of your eyes- and learning that its based on a true story makes everything come alive.Thanks Edelweiss+ for an ARC of this novel.
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    An impossible choice separates a Korean family just before the Korean War breaks out in Eugenia Kim’s The Kinship of Secrets. This choice means that Inja is left behind with her relatives while her parents take her slightly older sister, Miran, to the United States. The book follows the two sisters as they grow into teenagers, each wondering about the other while also resenting their parents’ divided attention. This quiet novel takes its time building up the characters and never gets too harrowi An impossible choice separates a Korean family just before the Korean War breaks out in Eugenia Kim’s The Kinship of Secrets. This choice means that Inja is left behind with her relatives while her parents take her slightly older sister, Miran, to the United States. The book follows the two sisters as they grow into teenagers, each wondering about the other while also resenting their parents’ divided attention. This quiet novel takes its time building up the characters and never gets too harrowing (not compared to some things I’ve read). It’s an intriguing meditation on the complexities of family relationships after they’re derailed...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss, for review consideration.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    I could not put it down. I loved it and could not wait to see what would happen next. I love historical fiction. This book really made me much more aware of Korea, her people and her history. I had empathy for all the characters in this book. All of them were in difficult positions. There were many family secrets in this book. Inja seemed to think it was better to keep things secret. Maybe that is a Korean culture thing because I thought some of these secrets would be harmful. I am American and I could not put it down. I loved it and could not wait to see what would happen next. I love historical fiction. This book really made me much more aware of Korea, her people and her history. I had empathy for all the characters in this book. All of them were in difficult positions. There were many family secrets in this book. Inja seemed to think it was better to keep things secret. Maybe that is a Korean culture thing because I thought some of these secrets would be harmful. I am American and as a culture I think we are against secrets. I think both sisters were put in a hard place. It would be difficult to be the sister left in Korea and the one brought to America although in different ways.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    In contrast to all the books about WWII, this is about a relatively unknown (and seldom written about) war in Korea. Sisters Marin and Inja are raised in different cultures and countries, one in America with a minister father and unsentimental mother and the other in Korea with a loving uncle and bickering aunt. The sisters constantly expect to rejoin one another, but when will this happen? We experience what life was like for these sisters in Korea and in the US during the 1950s - 1970s. Well w In contrast to all the books about WWII, this is about a relatively unknown (and seldom written about) war in Korea. Sisters Marin and Inja are raised in different cultures and countries, one in America with a minister father and unsentimental mother and the other in Korea with a loving uncle and bickering aunt. The sisters constantly expect to rejoin one another, but when will this happen? We experience what life was like for these sisters in Korea and in the US during the 1950s - 1970s. Well written, fascinating, and gripping. Maybe a little slow in the middle third. Based on the author’s family experiences.
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  • Joanna
    January 1, 1970
    I truly enjoyed reading this beautiful book! The writing was lovely, the characters were endearing and complex, and the details about life in Korea were fascinating. I can't wait to read more from Mrs. Kim. Thank you, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for an advance readers copy!"These writings expanded Inja's view of the world, even of her own national history in the way that only books can - by seeing through the eyes of the people who lived through those times, and others from foreign l I truly enjoyed reading this beautiful book! The writing was lovely, the characters were endearing and complex, and the details about life in Korea were fascinating. I can't wait to read more from Mrs. Kim. Thank you, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for an advance readers copy!"These writings expanded Inja's view of the world, even of her own national history in the way that only books can - by seeing through the eyes of the people who lived through those times, and others from foreign lands whose history and culture marked men so differently."
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  • Janilyn Kocher
    January 1, 1970
    The Kinship of Secrets is based on the author's family history. Two sisters are separated. One is taken to the US with her parents and the other is left with family in Korea. The narrative switches back and forth between the sisters and their different upbringing in different cultures. Eventually, the one sister is reunited so her family and years later travels back to Korea with her sister for a visit. The author wrote an engaging story. I hope there might be a third installment, since this boo The Kinship of Secrets is based on the author's family history. Two sisters are separated. One is taken to the US with her parents and the other is left with family in Korea. The narrative switches back and forth between the sisters and their different upbringing in different cultures. Eventually, the one sister is reunited so her family and years later travels back to Korea with her sister for a visit. The author wrote an engaging story. I hope there might be a third installment, since this book is a sequel to The Calligrapher's Daughter. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
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  • Glenda Nelms
    January 1, 1970
    The main themes of the novel are family, war, time,separation and reconnection. Two sisters, one raised in the United States, the other in South Korea. The Korean war kept the two sisters apart. There are deep family secrets that are revealed in the book. It's about the power of family, faith and love that bound them together. It's based on Eugenia Kim's family story. Beautifully moving, enlightening and well-written.
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  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    This book started out a bit slow for me. I found it difficult to remember the details from chapter to chapter and I was slow to keep picking this book up again.About half way, I became much more interested and the book picked up quite a bit. I'm glad I stuck with it thru the slow beginning, as this story unfolded beautifully.I also learned information about the Korean War.I really enjoyed this book once I got into it.
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  • Lee
    January 1, 1970
    Ms. Kim probs the depths of tradition, honor, respect and love. Taking an incident that she knows personally she weaves a heart rending story of a family separated by time, war, and continents. Do they endure, will they reunite, and is honesty about the past the best policy? You’ll love the answers, and this book.
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  • Mary Greiner
    January 1, 1970
    A great followup to The Calligrapher's Daughter. The next generation is impacted by the next war. How the family deals with the separation and hardship, being Korean and becoming American. Great historical fiction. Thank you Goodreads for giving me the book.
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  • Angela Ryser Bahling
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for my review The Kinship of Secrets is a beautifully written novel. Very well researched which brought the history of Korea into focus for me. The characters are well developed and the descriptive writing was enjoyable.
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    Old-fashioned story telling in the best sense __ empathic characters living in culturally and historically compelling environments. Even the secrets (kept or carefully shared) build love and understanding. A refreshing read.
  • Cat
    January 1, 1970
    A sweeping, historical, family saga in which two sisters are separated during the Korean War. One is raised in the United States and the other in South Korea. For fans of Pachinko. #netgalley #ARC #libraryreads #houghtonmifflerharcourt
  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautiful, sincere novel! One of the things I appreciate about The Kinship of Secrets is that it depicts a family that truly loves each other. There are points of tension, of course, but everyone fundamentally loves each other. There are no overly-harsh uncles or abusive grandparents; at most, an aunt that married in is a bit crabby. This produces a story with no antagonists other than war, separation, and time.The secrets alluded to in the title are not so flashy as hidden affairs or t What a beautiful, sincere novel! One of the things I appreciate about The Kinship of Secrets is that it depicts a family that truly loves each other. There are points of tension, of course, but everyone fundamentally loves each other. There are no overly-harsh uncles or abusive grandparents; at most, an aunt that married in is a bit crabby. This produces a story with no antagonists other than war, separation, and time.The secrets alluded to in the title are not so flashy as hidden affairs or treasure. Rather, most of the secrets are ways in which a character demonstrates love but wants to spare the recipient of how large a sacrifice they made for it. In most cases, the secret is kept out of respect and the desire not to trouble someone with painful details about the past.The overall plot is very loosely based on author Eugenia Kim's family story. A Korean couple has a chance to relocate to the United States after World War II, but they can only take one of their two infant daughters. They take Miran with them because she is more sickly, and leave Inja in the care of her uncle and grandparents in Seoul. The plan was always for Inja to join her parents and sister in America, but then the Korean War breaks out, and political developments delay a reunion until Inja is a teenager. The story is told from the perspectives of each sister, knowing the other is out there but inaccessible, until they finally get to meet someone who had only been a story to them before. The story unfolds gently, with no contrived plot twists that violate the characters that have been established. It's one of the most understated novels I've read, and among the most moving.Thank you to HMH and Goodreads for giving me an advance reader copy for review through a Giveaway.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Just before the onset of the Korean War, a mother and father leave Korea for America, bringing one young daughter with them, but leaving the other behind with relatives in the hope to someday return for her. In alternating chapters, the two very different lives of Miran and Inja unfold with love, war, and rock-and-roll. But when Inja finally arrives in America, will she be meeting her true family at last or leaving her family in Korea forever? Inspired by the author’s family history, "The Kinshi Just before the onset of the Korean War, a mother and father leave Korea for America, bringing one young daughter with them, but leaving the other behind with relatives in the hope to someday return for her. In alternating chapters, the two very different lives of Miran and Inja unfold with love, war, and rock-and-roll. But when Inja finally arrives in America, will she be meeting her true family at last or leaving her family in Korea forever? Inspired by the author’s family history, "The Kinship of Secrets" is a powerful story of the everlasting bond between two sisters.
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  • Helena C
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely love historical fiction and this ticked all the boxes for me. Set between Korea and Washington in the US, it is a story about family, love and secrets. The author tells the story so eloquently through the words of Miran a young girl leaving Korea to settle in the US but whose baby sister Inja is left behind in Korea where we get an insight into what life was like for her during that time. It was also really great for me to learn a little more about Korean history and family culture wh Absolutely love historical fiction and this ticked all the boxes for me. Set between Korea and Washington in the US, it is a story about family, love and secrets. The author tells the story so eloquently through the words of Miran a young girl leaving Korea to settle in the US but whose baby sister Inja is left behind in Korea where we get an insight into what life was like for her during that time. It was also really great for me to learn a little more about Korean history and family culture whilst reading the book. Highly recommend.
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