Today we have an exclusive excerpt for you from our captivating historical novel "Franziska Donner - First 'First Lady' of Korea". Immerse yourself in the moving story and let yourself be enchanted by the past.
In this reading sample, you will experience the historic moment when Japan surrendered unconditionally and Korea's freedom was within reach. Join Fanny and Syngman Rhee as they journey through these turbulent times:
15 August 1945 was to remain in Fanny's memory forever. Even before dawn broke, she woke up to the sound of the radio. Apparently a message was being read out. Her husband sat wide awake in front of the radio and listened attentively. Fanny straightened up in bed and flicked on the bedside lamp. Something special must have happened. She could make out individual words like "Tokyo" and "surrender", the rest was incomprehensible to her. "Darling, what language is that?" Syngman looked at her with an absent expression, "Darling, did I just hear right?" It was not the answer to her question. "What did he say?" "Japan has surrendered unconditionally!" "What, Japan surrendered?" "Please tell me if I'm dreaming. I can't believe it. I hope it's not a dream!" Fanny pinched his forearm. "All right, I'm awake! This is not a dream ... Emperor Hirohito is reading the surrender declaration on the radio. In Japanese, for his people!" "That's incredible! That means Korea is free!" But Syngman did not look happy. His voice was depressed. "This is too early, they are surrendering too early." Syngman wiped a few tears from his face with his sleeve. "Our army has been prepared for this day for a long time. It is waiting for the day when we can fight Japan. But the Japanese have surrendered too soon." "Oh, darling. The main thing is that they have surrendered. It's the day you've been eagerly waiting for decades!" Syngman's eyes were bloodshot. "Yes, this is the day I have been waiting for!" He stood on the ground with his bare feet and shouted passionately, "Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!" Now Fanny also joined in his cheers, "Three cheers for our Republic of Korea!" They shouted and hugged each other and cried like children. Syngman imagined the scenes that were now unfolding in Seoul. In his mind's eye, he saw the low, thatch-covered houses and the narrow streets. These were filled with cheering people, dressed in their traditional hanboks, waving the national flag in their hands. He thought he could hear their cheers and loud "hurrahs". Suddenly Fanny interrupted him in his thoughts, "Darling, I hear shouting, it's coming from up the road." "Really?" Now Syngman heard it too. Without hesitation, he ran out in his pyjamas.
On the street, two men stood in the darkness, cheering. They were Dr Jung and Colonel Rim, both members of the Korean Commission. "Dr Rhee, did you hear the news too?" The three hugged each other, then Dr Jung explained: "After I heard the radio message, I quickly ran to the office and met Colonel Rim there. He said that we should tell them the news. But you already know about it." "Yes, that's right. But anyway, thank you very much!" A neighbour opened the window and looked down at them curiously. It was still completely dark. "So let's go inside, we're going to put the whole neighbourhood in an uproar." "Yes, Dr Rhee." In the living room, Fanny dished up tea for them. "The surrender of Japan is great. But it is totally incomprehensible to me," Syngman wondered. "It is not like the Japanese to give up because of two atomic bombs. Till now they used to have the motto 'fight to the death'." Colonel Rim explained, "The Tenn made such a decision because the Red Army declared war on Japan." "What are we to do about it? Our army is ready in China for the landing operation on the Korean peninsula. It is only waiting for the marching orders."....