Friday, August 21, 2020

The Last Story of Mina Lee
by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

Publisher: Park Row
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Margot Lee’s mother, Mina, isn’t returning her calls. It’s a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown, LA, and finds that her mother has suspiciously died. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the tenuous invisible strings that held together her single mother’s life as a Korean War orphan and an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother.

Interwoven with Margot’s present-day search is Mina’s story of her first year in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises and perils of the American myth of reinvention. While she’s barely earning a living by stocking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing Mina ever expects is to fall in love. But that love story sets in motion a series of events that have consequences for years to come, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death.


Kritters Thoughts:  Told through two perspectives at two different moments in time.  Margot Lee is a daughter and telling her story in 2014 when she finds her mother has passed away suddenly and suspiciously.  Mina is her mother and her story takes place in 1978 as she arrives in the US in Los Angeles after a tragedy hit her in Korea and she is hoping to start fresh and new and make a new life for herself.  

I loved having these two perspectives and these two characters tell their sides of the story of immigration and the impacts it has on a person and those around them.  Seeing the US through an immigrants eyes was so enlightening for me.  To see how much Mina tried to adapt, but the things she wanted to keep from her home country as she settled in.  Then to read about a daughter of an immigrant as she is born in the US and trying to integrate herself while also living with a first generation immigrant.  

I would recommend this book to all readers.  This is one of those great mother/daughter stories that feels familiar and out of the box all at the same time.  Even if these character's experiences are not close to your own, you can hopefully relate to the simple mother/daughter relationship and learn something about how life can be a lot of tough decisions for immigrants.  

What a fantastic debut!  I can't wait to see more from this author.


Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2020 Challenge: 79 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Harlequin.  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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