Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as twenty authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!
About June Hur
June Hur was born in South Korea, raised in Canada, and studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto. She began writing her debut novel, The Silence of Bones, after obsessing over books about Joseon Korea. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.
I was always the wallflower growing up: too serious, too quiet, too awkward. Too introverted.
In middle school and high school, I always felt lesser than the girls who were at the center of attention. Popular and extroverted, they always seemed to have the best friendships, while I always felt like the “back up” friend. The friend to turn to after a fight with The Best Friend, because I’ve always been a great listener. But I never really felt like “best friend” material, the friend to turn to just have fun with, and I blamed my quietness and introversion for this.
My romantic life didn’t fair any better. In high school, I had three big crushes, and in all three cases, I “lost” the guy to a charming and bold social butterfly.
I always felt so frustrated and ashamed of my quiet and introverted self. Why couldn’t I be like the other girls? Sometimes I’d try, but my disguise would quickly unravel, and I’d end up more miserable than before.
Then I discovered Anne Elliot, the heroine of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
Anne Elliot was a wallflower, a girl who existed in the background.
Anne Elliot was too quiet and too nice.
Anne Elliot was the heroine whom the author herself claimed was “a heroine who is almost too good for me.”
She was everything I felt I was: dull and pathetic. And yet she was cast as the heroine of a love story, and I related to her so much as a teen. The further I got in the book, the more I found myself rooting for Anne, and this taught me something I’ll never forget.
I learned that it’s ok not to be like the other girls. I realized that introversion doesn’t mean dull, pathetic, or lesser than, because despite the fact that Anne was always the wallflower, she still had a strong sense of her own mind, of her own thoughts. Her introversion allowed her to become introspective and highly perceptive. I believe that the positive traits that come with introversion allowed Anne to possesses the strength of will to remain true to herself and her values, despite changes in circumstance.
In middle school and high school, I was ashamed of being an introvert. But now, my introversion is one of my greatest strengths. In fact, I wouldn’t have been able to write my debut novel without all the years that I’d spent quietly observing and analyzing the world within and outside of me.
I learned from Anne that there’s nothing wrong with being a wallflower.
Title The Silence of Bones
Author June Hur
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publication Date April 21st 2020 by Feiwel & Friends
Find It On Goodreads ● Amazon ● Chapters ● The Book Depository ● Barnes & Noble ● IndieBound
June Hur’s elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody YA historical mystery tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.
I have a mouth, but I mustn’t speak;
Ears, but I mustn’t hear;
Eyes, but I mustn’t see.
1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.
As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.
But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.