Marriage is sometimes more than a matter of choice, it is a matter of compromise. The problem with that is that if we compromise too much, we give our power away.
The 2012 romantic drama, This Burns My Heart: A Novel, by Samuel Park, was published in 2011. Soo-Ja Choi is a young lady coming of age in the 1960s. The Korean war is in the not too distant past. Though she wants more than to be someone’s wife and mother, she caves to the traditional culture that she has been raised in. Instead of marrying the boy she loves, Soo-Ja agrees to say “I do” to marry another young man whom her parents approve of. She believes that he will give her the freedom she desires.
Within a few years, her marriage becomes hollow and empty. Soo-Ja’s focus turns to her daughter, whom she hopes will have the freedom she never had. Though she is loyal to her husband, she has not stopped thinking about the one that got away. As they keep bumping into one another, she starts to question if she has a future with him after all.
I enjoyed reading this book. Park’s characters and narrative are fully formed. It was also a learning experience as I know next to nothing about Korea, or what was occurring at that time. It’s almost Persuasion like in the depths that the story goes.
Though it is not the best novel that I have ever read, it is engaging, well written, and a reminder of women cannot and should not be contained in what is considered to be an “appropriate” role in life.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
This Burns My Heart: A Novel is available wherever books are sold.