Synopsis. Romance is a Bonus Book is a 16-episode kdrama about a divorced woman who struggles to reenter the working world after a break to be a wife and mother. Her long time male friend is a successful author and editor at the publishing company where she gets a job by lying about her education and experience on her resume. He helps her navigate her new world. Will their friendship evolve to romance?
What I liked.
Gentle vibe. Writer Jung Hyun Jung wrote an easy going drama. I wasn’t on the edge of my seat but I was never bored. The characters (for the most part) were likable. Respect among the characters was the norm. Writer Jung wove in many book references and clearly loved the transportation powers of reading. This is the first drama I’ve watched from Writer Jung. I’d be agreeable to watch another.
Leading man Cha Eun Ho (Lee Jong Suk). Lee Jong Suk has a certain charm that he embodies his characters with. Eun Ho was smart, kind, moral, good looking and in love with the leading lady but stuck in the friend zone. I wondered how he would manage to maneuver out of the friend zone. While that was important, how he did his job, how he interacted with others, showed his caring and kindness. I liked Eun Ho. I’d want to hang out with him.
Leading lady Kang Dan Yi (Lee Na Young). Dan Yi couldn’t overcome taking a break from employment to be a wife and mother. Her past success didn’t matter, no one would hire her with that employment gap. Lying on her resume to become a contract employee was the only option. When she joined the publishing company, not only did she accomplish all the tasking but also used her expertise for marketing campaigns. With professional growth came personal growth. With Eun Ho as an unofficial fairy godmother, she spruced up her look, grew in confidence, and dated. She was gently honest to all. I may have wanted her to see Eun Ho for more than a friend sooner, but she got there.
Publishing Company Co-workers. Comradery was the underlying thread that held all these characters together. I’ll highlight two characters that added to the fabric of this drama.
* Song Hae Rin (Jung Eugene) liked Eun Ho but when that didn’t work out, she couldn’t hate Dan Yi because she liked and respected her. I liked Hae Rin’s work ethic and ability to set expectations with the new employees.
* Executive Kim Jae Min (Kim Tae Woo) was a supportive friend to Eun Ho and kept the secret about Writer Kang. He had a good heart. While he wanted his company to succeed, he also wanted his team happy and fulfilled.
OST. This drama’s OST had easy vibe. Check out the ten vocal songs here.
1. The Story I Couldn’t See sung by Jannabi
2. Rainbow sung by Rothy
3. All I Do sung by Roy Kim
4. I pray sung by Motte
5. A Certain Day sung by The Black Skirts
6. A Book is You sung by Son Ho Young
7. Close I’ll Be sung by Kim Na Young
8. Happy End sung by SAya and Kim Ki Won
9. You’re Beautiful sung by Will Bug
10. Walking on Sunshine sung by SAya
What I didn’t like.
Inconsistent and Annoying Characters.
* Director Ko Yoo Sun (Kim Yu Mi) had issues with Dan Yi. It appeared she was jealous, gave Dan Yi piles of tasks and wouldn’t allow to grow beyond her position. But then she showed a softer side. But then she returned to the hard shell. But then she helped Dan Yi find another job. This character was inconsistent.
* Oh Ji Yool (Park Gyu Young) had an annoying attitude. She wasn’t prepared to work and when she did dane to work, the results were shoddy. She wasn’t all bad, she evolved. Sheltered and rich, Ji Yool broke ranks and worked. In the end, this character did little for me.
Would I recommend Romance is a Bonus Book? Yes, this series was an easy enjoyable watch. Our leads delivered a couple you wanted to work and individual characters you’d want to be friends with. This drama was quiet but said important things about the power of the written word, perseverance, honoring your promises, etc.