This Burns My Heart
By: Samuel Park
Paige’s Rating: (4) of 5
Recommended for: Fiction Readers
In a country torn between past and present, Soo-Ja struggles to find happiness in a loveless marriage and to carve out a successful future for her only daughter. Forced by tradition to move in with her in-laws, she must navigate the dangers of a cruel household and pay the price of choosing the wrong husband. Meanwhile, the man she truly loves remains a lurking shadow in her life, reminding her constantly of the love she could have had.
This book was beautifully written, and I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of it although I felt that the first half of the book was far superior to the second half. The story begins with a head-strong Soo-Ja who has the nontraditional dream of being a foreign diplomat. Her parents refuse her to leave alone, her mother suggesting she could pursue her dream if she left her village with a husband. Soo-Ja finds a young man who is easily won, but finds to her horror just how weak he is soon after their marriage. The author makes the story believable and does an excellent job of describing the consequences of Soo-Ja marrying the wrong man.
It is in the second half of the book, however, where Soo-Ja runs into the other man who desperately wanted to marry her. He is a doctor now, married, and while he should have no concern for Soo-Ja, it is apparent in his actions that he still loves her and cares for her. At this point, their relationship becomes one where there is love still between them, but neither act on it. Here I find the plot a bit stagnant and parts of it even far-fetched. The love that is suppose to exists between the two seems cold, and maybe that is only because it would be culturally inappropriate for them to have any sort of physical contact. Regardless, the character of Soo-Ja has opportunities to correct her mistake of marrying the wrong man, but doesn’t and I find this to actually be out of line with the character that had been described all along.
The ending is what it is, and I won’t say anything else to spoil it. However, I dove into the first half of the book and read it steadily but found myself losing interest towards the end. The plot seems to become loose, the characters rigid and the writing hurried. Yet overall, a nice book indeed.