Stone Angels


By Helena Rho

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$38.00 CAD

In this "riveting [and] unforgettable" novel, a forty-year-old woman journeys to her cultural homeland—and uncovers a harrowing secret that makes her rethink everything she thought she knew about her mother (Jimin Han, author of The Apology). 

Angelina Lee feels like she doesn’t belong. Newly divorced, and completely unmoored by the sudden and tragic death of her mother, she hopes studying Korean will reconnect her to her roots, but nothing about Seoul feels familiar. Further complicating matters is the resurgence of an alluring man from Angelina’s past, and fellow classmate Keisuke Ono, an irritatingly good looking Japanese American journalist who refuses to leave her alone. What she’ll barely admit, however, is the true reason behind her trip. She’s convinced the key to understanding her mother’s suicide lies in Korea.

A shocking conversation with an estranged relative proves her right. Her mother had an older sister, Sunyuh, who disappeared under the Japanese occupation of Korea during WWII—a secret the family buried for over sixty years. Horrified, Angelina can’t fathom why her mother never mentioned her, but knows, deep down, her mother’s fateful decision must be linked to Sunyuh. To find answers, Angelina embarks on a journey that takes her across oceans and continents, and challenges everything she believed about her heritage and herself.

Told through the bold, determined voices of three women, this poignant family drama explores love and loss, grief and healing, and the sometimes-difficult love that exists between mothers and daughters. It’s about the questions we wish we had asked lost relatives, the lives we could have lived had we made different choices, and, above all, second chances—to reinvent ourselves, to confront the sins of the past, and to find lasting love.

  • "Sharp, witty and intrepid in spite of herself, Rho’s Angelina Lee is a daring character I would follow anywhere. From Seoul to Gwangju and Jejudo, Lee’s search for the truth of her mother’s life, and that of her mother’s sister, kept me cheering her on and turning the pages. This is not a story with easy answers. In riveting prose, Rho doesn’t shy away from the devastating truths about the consequences of war and subjugation, the ways we protect ourselves from what we can’t be protected from in order to survive. An unforgettable story about mothers, daughters, and sisters reaching inward for solace and strength when society has failed them, ultimately triumphant in love."
    Jimin Han, Author of The Apology
  • "At turns lyrical and raw, Stone Angels is a haunting novel that will stay with the reader long past the final page, perfect for fans of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Jing-Jing Lee’s How We Disappeared."
    A.H. Kim, Author of A Good Family and Relative Strangers
  • "Written with great compassion and insight, Stone Angels by Helena Rho is many things: love story, family drama, and even an illumination of a dark stain from World War II . . . At its heart are two women, separated by time, distance, history, and war, yet brought together by strength of spirit and the enduring connections of family and culture. Stone Angels is a hopeful and healing reminder that to be alive is to go searching for love."
    Caroline Kim, Author of The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories
  • "Irresistible . . . Helena Rho gives me what I want from fiction: compassion, provocation, and characters I care about as much a she does. She understands that every story is many stories, and she handles the complex tales of violence, grief, and dire family secrets with intelligence, grace, and courage. You’re not going to read many novels as powerful, honest, and authentic as this one."
    John Dufresne, Author of I Don’t Like Where This Is Going

On Sale
Mar 4, 2025
Page Count
304 pages

Helena Rho

About the Author

Helena Rho is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominated writer and the author of American Seoul. A former assistant professor of pediatrics, she has practiced and taught at top ten children's hospitals: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. She earned her MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Pittsburgh. For more information, visit

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