Not written according to a strictly traditional novel formula, Cara’s story unfolds in a series of story arcs reflecting the ups and downs of her life and loves.
“Isn’t that how life is?” Lee asked with a smile.
The organization of the book and its descriptive details reflect how Lee conceptualized the story. “I’m a very visual person. When I’m writing, I see the story in scenes, more or less in movie format,” she said.
She envisions the book “one day becoming a television series about the main character and Korean culture vis a vis American sensibilities,” Lee said. Although she is not sure whether an American/Korean production collaboration is possible, she said she will explore the possibility. “Korean drama TV is very well produced and popular in the culture. The stars are attractive and many of the shows are good, solid stories,” she said.
After a childhood lived in the Dunsmuir home her father built in 1939 and with a College of the Siskiyous associates degree in hand, Lee left Siskiyou County to “see the world.” Study in a Palo Alto business school led to administrative office work in education at Stanford University, then in law and financial services.
Lee was self-employed as a financial planner when the recession hit seven years ago. “I always knew I’d come back home eventually, and I decided to get out of financial planing when the market imploded in 2008,” she explained. Her father, who lived in the family home throughout his life, had died in 2001 and she had inherited the house. Lee moved back to Dunsmuir in 2010 and now works for the City of Mount Shasta.
She also is working on what she termed a “prequel sequel” to All My Love... involving some of the Korean characters to whom readers are introduced in the first book.
All My Love, from The Land Of Morning Calm is available at Village Books in downtown Mount Shasta and online at Amazon.com.
Five Star BOOK REVIEW
by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite
I loved this book. For me, it was a walk down Memory Lane. Just looking at the table of contents, I knew it would be meaningful for me. Palo Alto and Stanford University. I've been there. Seoul, South Korea, 1988. I was there working for AP during the Olympics and back to my regular job at Army Headquarters in Yongsan, once the Olympics were over. Northern California, yes. Japan, yes. I had to read this book.
My only fear was, what if R.L. Lee can’t write? It would have been so disappointing. I say “would have been” because, to my delight, All My Love, from The Land of Morning Calm is fantastic! I loved it. It brought back such strong memories from an important time in my life. It was just what I needed.
What impressed me most about this book were the descriptions of places, in other words, the setting. It would appear that R.L. Lee and I have been to a lot of the same places. The descriptions are perfect.
Don’t get me wrong. The other elements of fiction were equally on point in this book. The characters are realistic. The tone is pitch perfect. The plot is good. But rarely have I read a book that featured so many places I have lived and those places were described so well. That was special for me, but it is a special story anyway. Sometimes you’re just glad you picked up a book. Pick up this one and see.
Surprise! I Really Enjoyed Reading This Book!
May 13, 2015
My friend and neighbor gave me this book to read. I thought, well, I don't really have the time to read, I don't have much interest in South Korea, I don't think I would enjoy reading this story. One day, I picked it up and thought, I'll read it because I know the author. What the heck, I'll give it a try.
I'm known to put books down without finishing them, but this story moved right along, holding my interest until, before I knew it, I had finished it. No one was more surprised than me! I loved this book! The writing was excellent and the story engaging.
I had to call the author to let her know how much I enjoyed her work. Well done. I will read the next novel, too.
Facing pain to get to victory.......
April 2, 2015
If you're a strong woman about to read this book, watch your ego. You may find yourself, as I did, pondering one of Cara Youngblood's professional or personal entanglements and thinking, "I would have handled that situation differently." But that's exactly why I ended up liking her story so much. Cara does it her way and then has the courage to own her choices.
I would describe Cara as a contemporary, nontraditional woman with several "interesting" love relationships. Yes, there's more than one. And most of the story takes place in South Korea, where the number of women in senior jobs ranks low, which makes her stand out even more. But it's obvious from the beginning of this story that R.L. Lee had "stereotype busting" in mind when she wrote this book and boy does she get the job done.
I loved taking this journey with Cara and wish I had known more about her relationship with her parents earlier in the book because by the time we meet her she is already living life at a full romp. What a woman! But perhaps I'll have my questions answered in Lee's next book—where I will also, no doubt, learn a great deal about her unique approach to parenting.
February 23, 2015
This book truly captured my attention from the beginning! R L Lee has a great way of drawing us into each characters life, getting to know each one and the culture they were from. All the twists and turns kept me flipping through the pages to see what happened next. Not only was I drawn into each character, but each city they traveled to and lived in... I felt like I was right there with them!
Each time I thought I had the plot figured out... The story took an even better turn and surprise me! I can't wait for the next book and will be ready to be on the edge of my seat once again.
An American in Seoul...
February 23, 2015
In Cara Youngblood, Northern California writer R.L. Lee has created a beautiful, feisty, independent American woman, and she gives us a sweeping novel that takes us from Cara’s student days at Stanford University and to a well deserved and accomplished career in Seoul, South Korea. We are introduced to Cara’s troubled Native American husband and we witness that young marriage collapse from immaturity and unhealed pain. Fierce about rebuilding her life in South Korea, Cara meets Moon Hyo, Michael Lee, Kang Dae Ho, the men who come to love her---one of them desperately, another in silence, and the third who must harm her in order to save her.
This ambitious 526-page novel moves with vitality and brings us a cross-cultural saga that takes place in a part of the world many of us are unfamiliar with. As a westerner, Ms. Lee’s knowledge of South Korea--the country, its people, and their culture—educate, entertain, and make us care about what happens to her characters. Rather than following the romance novel formula, Ms. Lee gives us a love story burdened by deep cultural divides and opposition added to human imperfection resulting in an uncertain outcome. It’s a terrific accomplishment. Congratulations, Ms. Lee! I am pleased to learn that a sequel to All My Love, from The Land of Morning Calm, is already in the works.
"The Woman in the Arena"
June 19, 2017
“Living with fear stops us from taking risks, and if you don't go out on the branch, you're never going to get the best fruit.”
Cara Youngblood Moon could have easily said these words but instead she lives them every day of her life. So, before you begin to read "Hello Again" pack your bags and get ready for a complicated journey.
This trip begins in Northern Ca. where Cara and her son live, having left her husband, Moon, in Korea. Cara and Regalo are surrounded by her loving family and seem to be living a traditional, supportive, and comfortable life. Things seem normal. And then they’re not—and Cara and Regalo are on their way back to Korea.
This is when author Lee begins to engage us, using a writing style I especially like. We are reintroduced to characters we’ve met and we meet new ones. Each one has their own complete and intriguing story to tell and Lee gives them the voice to do so. New Agent Trainee Mairet McCarron at Quantico, Virginia is a good example. I loved reading the details of her training and she also has a most interesting instructor. This is a great part of the story.
Reading more about Madame Chang’s background was fascinating. The author obviously did a lot of research to create such interesting and detailed portraits of these women. As a reader, I was able to have a sense of completion with each section—something I really like.
Yes, "Hello Again~From the Land of Morning Calm" has a happy ending—but I can guarantee it’s not one you’ll expect. Having worked with Korean executives, who happened to be male, I thought I had nailed it and could predict the outcome. Lee pulled the rug right out from under me and created an ending that indeed provides a “Fresh Start” for everyone.
Full disclosure: I am especially interested in the Korean culture and that’s why from the very beginning I’ve been engrossed in the story of a woman- from Ca. married to a Native American, who moved to Korea. Lee’s details provide cultural insights and are also timely, in my opinion. Most entertaining.