“The Kinship of “Secrets,” by Eugenia Kim, is the story of two Korean sisters separated as toddlers. Miran moves to Washington D.C. in 1948 with their parents Najin and Calvin Cho. The younger daughter Inja is left behind in South Korea with their grandparents, aunt and uncle.
The Chos have every intention of returning to South Korea in two or three years, but in 1950 North Korea invades South Korea and war breaks out. Unable to get back to Korea Najin has Miran help send care packages to Inja, a sister she can’t even remember. The sisters are not only separated by distance but also by culture. Miran is growing up in a prosperous suburb of D.C., and Inja is scrapping by in war torn South Korea.
After the war is over the Chos are still unable to return to South Korea. America’s immigration laws prevent Koreans in the United States from returning to Korea. The Chos are now rooted in the States where Calvin works for the government. It is decided to bring 15-year-old Inja to America. She’s apprehensive about joining a family she doesn’t really know.
Once in America, Miran and Inja must learn how to be sisters. Miran is a Korean girl who doesn’t know what it means to be Korean. Inja is a Korean girl who must obey her parents but resents leaving everything she knows and loves behind in Korea. Separated for so many years, the girls must learn to live with, and love each other.
This book is based on the author’s own family experiences and is a good mix of fact and fiction. The girls’ story helps you to better understand what the Korean people had to endure due to invasion and war. You also learn about the Korean culture and how important family bonds are even if it means keeping secrets. Keeping secrets out of love plays an important role in this story.
This unforgettable novel is about war, immigration, family bonds, resentment, anger, and love. It is book full of inspirational characters, from the loving uncle to the girls’ mother, Najin, the best secret keeper of them all. It is a story about strong women, their hardships, sacrifices and ability to love even though it may mean keeping secrets.