Friday, September 13, 2019

Review: The Starlet and the Spy by Ji-Min Lee

The Starlet and the Spy
by Ji-Min Lee

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 192
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  February 1954. Although the Korean War armistice was signed a year ago, most citizens of Seoul still battle to return to some semblance of normalcy. Conditions are dismal. Children beg for food, and orphanages are teeming. Alice J. Kim, a Korean translator and typist for the American forces still sanctioned in the city, yearns for the life she used to live before her country was torn apart.

Then Alice’s boss makes an announcement—the American movie star Marilyn Monroe will be visiting Korea on a four-day USO tour, and Alice has been chosen as her translator. Though intrigued, Alice has few expectations of the job—what could she and a beautiful actress at the peak of her fame possibly have to talk about? Yet the Marilyn she meets, while just as dazzling and sensual as Alice expected, is also surprisingly approachable.

As Marilyn’s visit unfolds, Alice is forced into a reckoning with her own painful past. Moving and mesmerizing, The Starlet and the Spy is a beautiful portrayal of unexpected kinship between two very different women, and of the surprising connections that can change, or even save, a life.

Kritters Thoughts:  Alice J Kim is living in a post war Korea and although it has been a year since it has ended, she and everyone else is still trying to figure out the new normal and how life will eventually look for them.  While she is working at a job as an interpreter she gets an interesting opportunity to help with the visit of Marilyn Monroe and the interactions between these women was fun to imagine!

Although I didn't completely love this book, it was the parts that took before Marilyn's visit that I just couldn't get into.  I wanted the book to focus more on Marilyn's visit and her interactions with Alice and the people of Korea.  It felt as though the book was advertised this way, but didn't end up being the true focus of the book.  

The writing was enjoyable in the book and the characters were full and great to read, so I would read another by this author.  This one just didn't live up to what I wanted it to be.

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Book Expo.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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