Mina is a first generation immigrant to the United States from Korea. She owns and works in her own store in a Koreatown swap meet in Los Angeles. This is The Last Story of Mina Lee.
Mina’s only child, Margot, has moved to Seattle. Margot only visits on holidays. She is embarrassed at her mother’s (and her own) foreign-ness. Margot has tried to blend in and perceives her mother as weak for not learning better English and her lack of upward ambition.
When Margot finds her mother dead on the floor of her apartment, the death is ruled accidental after a fall. However, as Margot starts to go through Mina’s things, and talks to Mina’s friends and neighbors, a different vision begins to emerge of both Mina’s recent and past life.
Even though The Last Story of Mina Lee is clearly women’s fiction, it also has a couple of compelling mysteries at its heart. In addition, it is a meditation on what it is like being an illegal immigrant in a foreign land. And how war is hell even on innocents involved solely by living in the center of it. It is most of all a heartfelt and heartwarming tale of family—both those you are born to and those you find along the way. 4 stars!
Thanks to Park Row Books, Harlequin Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.