Book reviews Thriller

The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

The Forest of Stolen Girls- Cover

About the Book – The Forest of Stolen Girls

Suspenseful and richly atmospheric, June Hur’s The Forest of Stolen Girls is a haunting historical mystery sure to keep readers guessing until the last page.

1426, Joseon (Korea). Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest near a gruesome crime scene.

Years later, Detective Min―Hwani’s father―learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared from the same forest that nearly stole his daughters. He travels to their hometown on the island of Jeju to investigate… only to vanish as well.

Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village―and collides with her now estranged sister, Maewol―Hwani comes to realize that the answer could lie within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.

Goodreads Page

“But there are two types of people,” Inspector Yu added, his voice quiet. “Those that retreat and huddle together like frightened birds, overwhelmed by the darkness of this kingdom, and those that grasp their freedom to struggle on the behalf of others, their eyes fixed on a great light that will always shine for those who seek it.” 

Quote fromn The Forest of Stolen Girls

Our Review of The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

I have become an ardent fan of the author. All of her books have so far been able to blow my mind. I love the seamless amalgamation of a historical context and a powerful story and each managing to not overshadow the other. I loved the historical set-up of Jeju islands and how the story was rooted in its history. The beauty of the book is that even if you have zero knowledge of the historical facts or of the Joseon Era ( which is the primary setting of the book) the book will still help you grab a clear picture of this period without treating it as a history lesson.

The book doesn’t move its focus from the core plot. It doesn’t hover over what’s and hows of the Joseon period. It sticks to stating things that would help you understand the context and settings and takes priority in taking the story forward. I think this is the best feature of this book because mostly with historical fiction, sometimes the period and its accurate portrayal take so much importance that the plot sometimes becomes a side character.

One of the qualities of June Hur’s novels, that grabbed me was how each of her characters has a clear purpose and strong character space to work with. Each character is vivid and memorable and strongly brings a major contribution to the plot. The central character is neither too damsel nor too alpha. They come with their own set of weaknesses and strengths but do not disturb the plot flow. 


In conclusion, I would say that if you genuinely want to read a good thriller in a different setting with completely baffling plot developments then pick any of June Hur’s books. Just as in her other books, The forest of Stolen Girls is an exciting read filled with historical glimpses, cultural facets and a powerfully narrated story.

Squirrel Rating

Squirrel Rating- 5 Star

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