cover image The Red Palace

The Red Palace

June Hur. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-80055-8

In Hur’s (The Forest of Stolen Girls) historical mystery, set in 1758 Korean kingdom Joseon and loosely based on the life of Crown Prince Jangheon, hardworking 18-year-old palace nurse Baek-hyeon, known as Hyeon, is determined to find the person who murdered four women at the public medical office. Her motivations to catch the killer and exact a confession are twofold: to earn her estranged father’s acceptance through hard work, and to protect her mentor, Nurse Jeongsu, from brutal police interrogations. Hur deftly renders stifling patriarchal restrictions and the tension of court life where “everyone is listening in the palace,” while thoughtfully integrating Korean throughout. When Hyeon meets the newest police inspector, 18-year-old Seo Eojin, she must decide whether she can trust him. With the list of suspects growing longer—and including the Crown Prince—Hyeon and Eojin must navigate their collaboration, and their deepening feelings, before their illicit investigation is revealed. Steeped in rich historical details, Hur’s palace thriller offers a sharp critique of the monarchy’s abuse of power while maintaining a quick pace and crafting a captivating murder mystery. An author’s note contextualizes the history behind the novel. Ages 13–up. Agent: Amy Elizabeth Bishop, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Jan.)