Cover Image: Relative Strangers

Relative Strangers

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Member Reviews

Amelia is struggling with her job, boyfriend, and family when she returns to her mother and sister Eleanor in California. They are temporarily living at the cancer treatment center where Eleanor volunteers, since they are awaiting the result of a previously unknown half brother who contested their dad's will. The book's momentum is centered on Amelia reconnecting with her family as she tries to reestablish herself. Overall, a decent read about a family who has drifted apart and are trying to work together. The plot's momentum is moved forward by miscommunication, so for those who do not like that plot device, they may want to skip this one.

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I loved A Good Family, Ms. Kim’s first novel, and especially her take on family dynamics. In her new novel, Relative Strangers, she tackles family relationships from a different perspective, along the lines of Sense and Sensibility with a Northern California Korean-American twist. Amelia, her sister, Eleanor, and their mother, Tabitha, are the main characters. Amelia’s in her 30’s and really can’t seem to get her life together, while Eleanor is the responsible sister, raising her daughter as a single mother. Amelia’s story didn’t always make sense to me and I especially didn’t understand why she didn’t work for most of the book.
The setting of the book for most of the novel is an interesting one - a cancer retreat in Northern California. As you might expect, there’s a lot of loss in Relative Strangers, but the focus is more about recovering and moving on from loss. And there are lots of excellent food descriptions!
If you haven’t read Ms. Kim’s first book, definitely add to your TBR list. It came out in early Covid days and definitely didn’t get enough attention, Both novels are family dramas but very different and shows her diversity as a writer. I look forward to book #3!
Thanks to Netgalley and Graydon House for the opportunity to read Relative Strangers in exchange for an honest review.

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3.5 stars. This book was a very unique tale of found family, grief, love and finding yourself. I enjoyed this because of the wonderful characters who all were growing and dealing with their own challenges.I think the thing that was a little bit of a miss for me was that the main character had a really big realization about how she often used men as a way to guide her life, and yet in the end she still ends up with a man. I understand that she doesn’t let him dictate her life choices in the same way, but I personally would’ve liked to see her figuring out her own path before she coupled up.

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I love a good sister story, and at the heart, that’s what Relative Strangers is. The movie-reference language that Amelia and Eleanor share reminds me of the secret way you can communicate with only those closest to you.

Introducing warm and approachable, yet flawed, characters made it an easier read, though there is an excessive amount of miscommunication. As a modern spin on Sense and Sensibility, the drama of the events takes center stage and can be tracked into different “acts” and inconvenient love interests.

But the story has a little bit of everything: family secrets, class and race relations, humor, and tenderness, all set among the oceanic landscape of Big Sur.

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While some story lines seemed rushed to come to a neat resolution at the end, it was a very heart warming novel overall. Plus it had a happy ending to which I’m always a fan of.

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I really wanted to love this book, but it does start off slowly. It gets better as you understand the characters more. I loved the themes of family problems, and the setting (having previously lived in Korea). If any of that appeals to you then give it a try!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of the book. #sponsored

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Family drama, romance, and different seasons? This book has it all! It starts out slow, but it does get better. Give the book a fair chance and I’m sure you’ll love it if this is your genre. This was outside my usual reads, but I still enjoyed it.

Thank you netgalley for allowing me to read this book!

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I’m not sure if it lived up to my expectation of its Sense & Sensibility, but was sweet. Wished it took its chance to go deeper and take more risks.

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of "Relative Strangers" by A.H. Kim.

"Relative Strangers" by AH Kim dives into the ups and downs of the Cho family, living in New York's Korean community. It's a deep look at how family and culture clash, touching on secrets and the search for where we belong. Kim paints vivid characters and scenes, making you feel like you're right there with them, struggling and celebrating.

But for some, the book might drag a bit, especially when it gets into the characters' heads. Despite that, "Relative Strangers" sticks with you, making you think about your own family and roots long after you've finished it.

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Fun, light hearted, retellling of Jane Austen’s sense and sensibility with a modern twist. Sisterhood, romance and family secrets abound in this book. There are definitely a lot of characters to remember and keep track of, helps to have read and be familiar with Austens Sense and Sensability.

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This story centers around the Bae-Wood women and how loss and family secrets can bring the right people into your life in unexpected ways.

This is a modern spin on Sense and Sensibility and I feel it was done beautifully. There are a lot of spins in the story that I was not expecting.

The friendships that formed throughout the story were so heartwarming and ones that I will always remember.

One of the best books I’ve read this year, so far!

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I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, full of love, loss and hope. Amelia has been away from her family for years, enjoying success before a fall in circumstances. The relationship between Amelia and her sister is complicated, filled with love but also secrets they are keeping from each other. Eleanor is a young widow with a daughter, Maggie. As Amelia, Eleanor, their mother and Maggie spend time at a cancer retreat center as guests of the director, they begin a journey of truly learning about each other. The characters are likable and relatable, and the book well written. There are some surprises. I highly recommend this family story. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

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This had too much going on. The overly flowery language made me feel like I was reading a Jane Austen book, but the equal amount of pop culture and movie quotes kept my head spinning. I couldn’t get immersed in Amelia’s world. The number of extraneous love interests and then special circumstances with each one felt too complicated. I really would have liked the story more if it focused on the 4 women

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I really enjoyed this book. It was different than anything else I've read recently. I couldn't put it down! I will keep an eye out for this author's future work!

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While Sense and sensibility isn't my fave Austen story, this was still a fresh retelling featuring a two Korean American half-sisters and their hippie mother. Full of drama, secrets, multiple love stories and a diverse cast of characters. This was good on audio and a solid story sure to delight true Austenites! Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early digital copy in exchange for my honest review!

Steam level: kissing only

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I enjoyed this story of Amelia and her family - sister Eleanor and mother. Amelia was quite the interesting character - shaved head, hitchhiking, unreliable, free spirit. You have Eleanor, the more responsible sibling and their mother who was evicted from their family home and being challenged by the late husband's illegitimate son. Major family drama for you. A story filled with love, loss, sibling relationships, secrets, healing, and mother / daughter relationships, I loved all the pastries - I must say I kept getting hungry!

Thank you to Net Galley and Harlequin Trade Publishing for this EARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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As someone who hasn't read 'Sense and Sensibility' by Jane Austen, I really enjoyed this! I like the writing style and the pacing. The characters were enjoyable. This is a lighthearted,entertaining story that is well written. I would recommend this! Special Thank You to A.H. Kim, Harlequin Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to read a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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This is a great Sense and Sensibility retelling in coastal northern California, with complex sister and family relationships and just as complex romantic ones. It felt on the longer side at times, but it covers a lot of ground on both the past and present of the characters and developing their relationships.

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This is the best Sense and Sensibility retelling I saw!! Amelia has her life fall apart, broke, unemployed, she hitchhikes to her family estate to find that her recently widowed mother has been evicted. Eleanor is the responsible sister taking care of everyone and everything. She is a nurse who works 13 hour shifts, has a daughter applying for college, takes care of grieving mother, messed up sister. They all land up in a retreat for cancer patients.

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Financial misfortune following the head of household’s passing leads three generations of Bae-Wood women to
make their home at a cancer retreat center in the middle of nowhere California. While there, they must determine exactly how deep their familial loyalty lies and navigate the ensemble of eligible bachelors who can save their family from financial ruin.

I really loved this book! It was heartfelt, complex and humorous and overall I just felt really good while reading this! Amelia was a fantastic narrator and I enjoyed following along her POV. Tackling an Austen story is difficult water to tread but this story did so beautifully by honoring some similar parallels but holding tightly onto its own unique story as well. I don’t think it’s entirely necessary to read Sense & Sensibility as a pre-requisite to Relative Strangers but if you have read it, you’ll definitely appreciate the references. I would have wished for more exploration into the relationship with the half brother but think the epilogue tied everything up really nicely if a little brief.

What to expect:
Biracial representation (Korean dad; white mom)
Sense & sensibility retelling
Sisterhood
Family secrets
Love triangle (square?)
Movie buff references
Pastry enthusiast rep ;)

thanks so much to Harlequin Trade, Graydon House and Netgalley for the free advanced copy of Relative Strangers!

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