the red palace – june hur | arc review

The Red Palace by June Hur

Expected publication: January 25th 2022 by Feiwel & Friends
Age Range: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance
Rep: Korean


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval.

But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.

In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.


Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to June Hur and the publisher!

Nurse Jeongsu, Hyeon’s mentor, is accused of murdering the four women at the Hyeminseo. To clear her teacher’s name, Hyeon steps into the dangerous path of court politics, personal grudges, and bloodshed. Malicious rumor spreads that the Crown Prince is the actual killer instead. Without any power, Hyeon finds herself a pawn to the royals.

To enter the palace means to walk a path stained in blood. There will be bloodshed. I only hope it will not be yours. 

Born of a lowly concubine, the desire to surpass all her father’s expectations fuelled her drive to study and achieve the highest possible position for her status. As a newly-appointed nae-uinyeo, female physician, in the palace, one wrong move and Hyeon might just mysteriously end up six feet under (or anchored down in a pond). Her bravery and need to clear her mentor’s name helped her throughout the book. Hyeon’s medical knowledge and practice proved that she’s an incredible nurse. Her attention to detail assisted in finding clues that an average person might miss out on.

While chasing evidence, Hyeon meets Eojin, a police inspector, who was on the search for the truth. Although Eojin is Hyeon’s better, in terms of social status, he freely asked her to voice her opinions about the crimes. They communicate about the situation openly without any hesitation.

“I dislike being around people for too long. But when I am with you… I never feel the need to be someone I am not.”

When June Hur mentioned that The Red Palace had romance, imagine the glee on my face. I couldn’t believe it since she has mentioned in passing before that she doesn’t really do romance in books. After reading The Red Palace, I can tell you that June Hur knows how to keep me on tenterhooks with the blossoming romance between Hyeon and Eojin aka the one table scene. And all the touching which wasn’t allowed due to Confucian morality. The little touch of their hands or holding the waist. MAKES ME HAPPY. Also, got to mention Jieun. What an awesome wingwoman.

“Revenge begets revenge; the anger is unquenchable. We become the monsters we are trying to punish. Justice, however, brings closure, and that is what I want. It can only be achieved by remaining sober-minded and rational.”

Once again, June Hur captured my attention right from the beginning. The sleeping hours that I lost were definitely worth it. You know when a book leaves you a lasting impression when you still think about it the moment you wake up. The Joseon era is one of the periods that I’m fascinated in Korean history. It’s a popular era that many dramas are based on. One word in and I’m teleported into the world.

“The first time I met you, I don’t think I quite knew,” he said softly, looking back at me, “what a surprise you would become to me.”

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