The Island of Sea WomenLisa See

The Island of Sea Women

4.5 star

Total 1,196 Ratings

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See Book Summary


“A mesmerizing new historical novel” (O, The Oprah Magazine) from Lisa See, the bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about female friendship and devastating family secrets on a small Korean island.

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends who come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility—but also danger.

Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook find it impossible to ignore their differences. The Island of Sea Women takes place over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.

“This vivid…thoughtful and empathetic” novel (The New York Times Book Review) illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge and the men take care of the children. “A wonderful ode to a truly singular group of women” (Publishers Weekly), The Island of Sea Women is a “beautiful story…about the endurance of friendship when it’s pushed to its limits, and you…will love it” (Cosmopolitan).

The Island of Sea Women (Lisa See) Book Reviews

Amazing!Lisa See is one of my favorite authors and I have loved all of her books, but this is definitely my favorite! So beautifully written and an amazing journey through time and history..Score: 5/5

KudosLisa See never disappoints her readers. Another great story of women who survive and thrive. Well done.Score: 5/5

Amazing historical novelA must read. Engrossing! Powerful! Very well researched and written..Score: 5/5

So sad.Very good, but the saddest book I’ve ever read..Score: 4/5

Very interestingThis is an interesting and thought provoking story. Set in a place I new little about in the world.Score: 5/5

The Island of Sea WomenI thoroughly enjoyed this booked filled with complex characters and a storyline that came together at the end. The insights provided about the secret struggles these people lived through brought on by Japanese colonialism, the Sino-Japanese War, World War II, the Korean War, the 4.3 Incident, and the Vietnam War show how the struggles of others can go unnoticed. This is my first read by this author and I look forward to the next..Score: 4/5

Not my favorite Lisa See bookI am a fan of Lisa See. However this story, for me, was too long and drawn out. The plot and message repeated itself over and over until I lost interest and empathy for the tough life the main characters were living through..Score: 1/5

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