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Forgotten Reflections

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  35 reviews
In the current international climate where North Korea takes center stage, “Forgotten Reflections” weaves an inspirational tale of family, lost memories, folklore and an unforgotten history, spanning three generations as South Korea rises from the ashes.


1945. Rice fields seem endless in a quaint farming village of South Korea, yet Iseul
Paperback, Alternative Cover, 500 pages
Published 2017 by Bn Publishing
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Forgotten Reflections, written by Young-Im Lee, is a powerfully poignant novel set in South Korea, during a particularly tumultuous time period remembered as the Korean War. There are occasional interjections that take place in the present, told through the narrator's (Iseul's granddaughter) point of view in a relaxed, conversational tone that almost seems to be beckoning readers to join the story.

I was totally cheering for young, fiery-tempered Iseul, who--excuse my language--gave zero shits th
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The plot was engaging, the characters likable, and the ability of the author to describe the world(s) she builds is impressive.

Without giving too much away ( I write this review specifically to avoid plot elements, and character development), I would like to give a brief synopsis: The story that unfolds is that of two people; or rather three people. We first meet our narrator Kim Jia who narrates to us (the reader) how she came to learn of her grandmother's past,
Ronald Keeler
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Forgotten Reflections by Young-Im Lee is described on its cover in small script as “A War Story.” True, a large part of the story is centered around the Korean War for which an armistice to end fighting was signed in 1953. As many leaders in modern day governments point out, there has not yet been an agreement to end the war signed. Much of the action described in the book takes place in a time between the Japanese Army leaving Korea after WWII and 1953. The overall context is a story about peop ...more
Pamela Peerce-Landers
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Forgotten Reflections" reflects the lives of two people, the author, Young-Im Lee and her maternal grandmother, Iseul. Iseul was a feisty, rural carpenter, whose love of guitar music and the help and encouragement of several men in her life, led her to build a renowned, international guitar-making business which lifted her and her family from poverty.

The story begins with Iseul around 12 encountering Yung-Soo, an entitled rich kid. She will not back down and her obliviousness about tact, endear
With the world’s current tensions around Korea’s divided land, Young-Im Lee’s Forgotten Reflections is perhaps a timely tale. It’s a story of contrasting worlds, the Korea of the past with its candle lights and the present day world of high-rise inhabitants gazing down on the tail-lights of cars. The young protagonist’s grandmother, a survivor of the Korean War, has moved into a high-rise home. But a treasured possession reveals the first clue in a curious secret, sending the granddaughter eager ...more
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
this was such a great book, one that doesn't even hit you till the last page. I loved the way it's narrated, and how it switches between not only past and present but also people. additionally the plot was incredibly twisty and whenever I thought it would be it, there was another surprise, the ending being the biggest!

it was great to read and spend time in this historical fiction novel.

disclaimer: I was sent this book by the author in exchange for an honest review
full review: https://utopia-st
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A tragic, emotional and powerful story about the reality of war and its impact on both a nation and the everyday people living through that war takes center stage in author Young-Im Lee's Forgotten Reflections: A War Story. Here's the synopsis:

In the current international climate where North Korea takes center stage, “Forgotten Reflections” weaves an inspirational tale of family, lost memories
Tony Parsons
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Seoul, South Korea. Ji Iseul (84, Granny (Alzheimer’s) was in the Sky Hospice Center.
Ms. Jia Iseul (17, student) came to see her quite often.
Yeong-Hoon (Jung-Soo’s father, cripple) is Iseul’s fiancé.
Jia Iseul also made daily wood deliveries to other Korean PPL.

The news broadcaster informed the citizens the UN Secretary General will be sending American military troops to the Korean Peninsula to help aid the Chinese & the Soviet Union forces.
What did Jia Iseul find out when she went to Yeoju, S
Viviane Crystal
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
1945 ended WWII and South Korea is still recovering from the Japanese Occupation. Anything that was edible was stolen by Japanese troops, therefore the poverty and struggles of farmers and local businesses is an ever-present, poignant reminder of the terrors of war.
Ji-Iseul, Jung-Soo and Yeong-Hoon are the three main characters in the story, which changes from present to past repeatedly. Ji-Iseul initially is an elderly person being moved into a hospice as she is suffering from advanced Alzheim
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This historical novel takes place in South Korea, both during the mid-20th century, and in the present day.

In 1945, Korea's Japanese occupiers had just left, leaving a devastated country behind; there was very little to eat. Iseul was a young woman living in a village called The Wasteland, which was part of Yeoju (back then, Yeoju was a county; it became a city in 2013). People believed that village carpenters, like Iseul's father, could put ghosts in chairs and tables that they made, so Iseul w
Jay Odd
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Forgotten Reflections is a gripping coming of age story set among war and romance. The novel was written by Young-Im Lee.

This is a fascinating book and I do not usually dip into the two latter categories but I love intriguing coming of age tales and the backdrop of South Korea also appealed to me. The book was so good that I couldn’t put it down and it certainly exceeded my expectations.

This is a really interesting book with a fantastic and thrilling original story. It is also quite easy to foll
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Forgotten Reflections" tells two stories: one of feisty village girl Iseul, trying to survive during the Korean War, and the other of her granddaughter Jia, who goes on a quest to find out about her dying grandmother's past instead of studying for her end-of-school exams like the dutiful, obedient girl her mother wants her to be. The result is an epic story of love, family, tragedy, and survival against the backdrop of a Korea that was in danger of tearing itself apart.

The book begins and ends
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Korea and the Forgotten War. It’s 1945 when the book opens and the Japanese, who have colonised Korea since 1910, have just been driven out. Korea is finally independent. But within 5 years the country is plunged into a brutal civil war, the consequences of which we still live with today. There are two strands to the novel, one concerning a village girl Iseul and her struggles throughout that war, and her granddaughter Jia who becomes invested in finding out more about her grandmother whilst fac ...more
Southern Today Gone Tomorrow
This novel is written by Young-Im Lee, and follows an 18 year old girl in Seoul, South Korea, and her dying grandmother. This book revolves around the teen seeing her life beginning and comparing it to her grandmother, a woman who survived the Korean War (which still goes on today) to go on and start her own company. Who never forgot the war. And a girl who fears that, while her parents generation didn't fight, hers may be brought into a war as well.

These are just thoughts because this book didn
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
First, I wish to thank Young- Im Lee for sending me her book. I had a great time reading it. It seems that lately, all the book I had the chance to read are just great books. And Forgotten Reflections isn’t an exception.

What I loved the most at this book is the way how it is written. Is written as a story told by a young girl, called Jia. It feels like she was talking with me, the reader; like we were two friends talking about our lives.

And the language is so simple. No hard or complicated word
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions, however, are my own.

Title: Forgotten Reflections

Author: Young-Im Lee

Setting: Korea 1950s

I must admit that I haven’t read much modern Asian fiction, and even less Asian historical fiction, so when I was offered this book, I was excited to read it. When I got a look at how long it was, I admit to second thoughts. I’m glad I stuck with it because it was a great read.

This is two stories in one, the story of Iseul as a girl,
Lilith Day
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a small village in South Korea, Iseul calls home. She is not wealthy and does not have much to offer, but she is happy. She works along her father a woodcarver and befriends a wealthy person. Slowly war comes to and tears the whole village apart.

This is a story of Iseul and how she manages to turn war into success. She does what she can to keep her village together and herself. She contributes to the war effort despite starvation and lack of supplies.

Iseul is an interesting character.
Jeffrey Miller
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s 1945 and for Korea, after over thirty-five years of Japanese occupation, the country is filled with much hope and promise for the future. However, it is also a time of uncertainty and fear with two ideologies vying for the hearts of minds of its citizens.

This is the backdrop for Lee Young-im’s moving and evocative historical novel, Forgotten Reflections, A War Story. The story which follows the lives of three individuals amidst this turbulent time from the days following the end of the Worl
John Collings
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young lady on the brink of adulthood finds a note in her grandmother's guitar that sends her on a quest to discover the past of her family and heritage. What she discovers tells a story of love, friendship and sacrifice during the Korean War in a small village outside of Seoul, Yeojo. Young-Im Lee does a great job of describing the issues that face modern Koreans while blending in the history of where they have come from and why the society has been built the way it is today. The characters ar ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

Iseul’s and Jung-Soo’s story is a heart-wrenching one but, one worth reading. In Forgotten Reflections, we travel to the rice capital in South Korea during the time of the Forgotten War.

I love the history content in this story as well as the characters who bring it to life. Forgotten Reflections is written in my favorite style of historical fiction, in which the main story unfolds a
This is a very long literary novel about events that took place in South Korea during the Korean War. It was very well-written, but every once in a while a wrong word or the wrong tense of a verb would be used. The Korean names were difficult for me as I was unfamiliar with them, but the characters were interesting and well-developed. The plot was complex and at some points confusing to me. The story jumped back and forth between the present day and the past. The present was in the point of view ...more
Danielle Urban
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Forgotten Reflections: A War Story by Young-Im Lee is an interesting novel. One that swept me deep into the war story. A foreign country, South Korea is at war. Both the communists and democrats want to take it over....but their war brings the one village to starvation. Hunger, loss, and desperation can be seen and felt with every page.

A young woman is determined despite the war and its effects on her people. Soon, she brings them hope. Hope soon blossoms into her village. Letters to the soldie
Dekota Lancaster
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite quote from this book was on page 482, "We are but waves that wash up on shore for a brief moment until we are called back to make way for new waves."

The storyline was very intriguing and I loved how vivid the imagery was throughout the different characters that had been introduced.

My biggest problem was with the various minuscule typos that were scattered throughout the story. It would have been beneficial to have had several people proofread the book.

Nonetheless, I was very impress
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
A war story, a love story, a people story that has a deeper & broader context than Korea

Weaving a clever and engaging narrative past and present connected via well-drawn characters. The sort of characters, who become real as the story unfolds, creating an attachment and suspense waiting for but not really looking forward to the outcome knowing that will mean the end of the book, sadly.
Susan Lee
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have received this e-arc in return for my honest review.

I especially liked the author's note at the end. A true friendship in a war torn era. Love lost, love found and family bonds. Definitely more noteworthy than those Korean cringe-worthy soaps.

You can read my full review here:
Becca McCulloch
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautiful and well-told story of Korea during the "forgotten war." Rich in history and cultural detail with lyrical prose that'll leave you breathless and hurting. A must-read for lovers of literary form. ...more
J.D. DeHart
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The writing has a mythical quality at times, and the author focuses on family as the center of the book. A beautifully written text with themes that are larger than one culture.

I would recommend this book for anyone searching for a thoughtful and literary reading experience.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
DNF @ 9%. I was so excited to read this because of the subject matter and positive reviews. However, I felt that the writing was rather juvenile and didn't create a clear sense of what was occurring. The story has potential, but more editing is needed. ...more
Angela Lockwood
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is quite an epic and complex book, told from several perspectives and timelines. It is also a beautifully written book about the Korean civil war and the Korea of today. Its prose is quite poetic at times, that and the to me unfamiliar Korean names and words, took a bit of time to get used to. But by part two I started to get really into the story and was hooked to the very end. The main character is Iseul, we learn about her past and the men that play a role in her life. Her granddaughter ...more
Jenny Meyer
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting story.
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Making Connections: 4766. - FORGOTTEN REFLECTIONS by Young-Im Lee 3 13 Jul 23, 2017 07:37PM  

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Young-Im was born in Mokpo, South Korea and relocated to Manila, Philippines where she grew up in an international setting. She graduated from Seoul National University with a BA in English Literature and from the University of York (UK) with an MA in English Literary Studies.

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