No Space for Love

A North Korean Defector Story of Love and Survival

Fiction - Cultural
280 Pages
Reviewed on 07/01/2024
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Born and raised in Iowa, Ellen Mason grew up in a family/town where things were not always perfect. She was always interested in why and how people who came from difficult backgrounds survived and often thrived in the world.

After obtaining her education, getting married, & entering the medical world, Ellen remained fascinated with the struggles many Americans, immigrants overcome in their quest for success.

Later as a personal life and business coach, she met Adam who told her, "In North Korea, they leave you NO space for love. I don't know love—is it a bowl of rice?" Rocked by the raw emotion of the gut-wrenching story of how these two teenagers, suffering from starvation & oppression, who had never known or understood what freedom was, came to realize that was exactly what they wanted & needed.

It was then she knew she had to tell the story of Ha-na & Seng-il's internal struggles, betrayals, & heart-breaking choices as well as the deep friendships & kindnesses enjoyed as each navigated the harsh realities of life in the most oppressive societies of North Korea and China to life in the U. S. She felt other Americans should hear & experience the desperation that many immigrants to the U.S. have gone through to have what we so chauvinistically take for granted.

Learn more about Ellen at her website: Follow her on Facebook, Goodreads, & join her mailing list. She loves to talk about her past careers, traveling, reading, writing, & her love of fresh & saltwater fishing!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite

Ellen Mason's No Space for Love is a spellbinding, moving tale about abuse, survival, societal issues, and history. Ha-na and Seng-il are forced to go through monumental challenges while striving to survive chaotic political conditions in North Korea and China. Ha-na is betrayed by her own father, sold like a slave, and abused by ruthless men as she fights to endure her unfortunate reality. With her cherished baby and an empathetic friend, Ha-na lives every day close to the brink of completely giving up. Seng-il faces a similar reality as he gradually finds out the truth about North Korea's government and other countries. He hopes to lose his accent and blend in among the Chinese while risking imprisonment and succumbing to violence. Will Ha-na and Seng-il escape the dangers that surround them and find love in their hearts? 

The protagonists are very likable and inspiring. Ha-na is strong, caring, and emotional. I was astounded by her desire to give her daughter a good life despite facing multiple abusive situations. I loved the orderly storytelling style. The tale focuses on Ha-na's story and Seng-il's journey separately before depicting both of them together. No Space for Love maintains an unpredictable plot throughout, with near-death experiences and welcome interventions. The narrative smoothly merges a wide range of themes, including motherhood, friendship, family separation, faith in Christ, imprisonment, migration, prostitution, discrimination, and more. Ellen Mason's expertly crafted book will compel you to feel strongly for its endearing characters and enlighten you about distinctive historical moments and cultures. A touching novel you can't afford to miss!