Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung is about 19th century women who faced prejudice for being writers of historical records. One historian (Shin Se Kyung) works to establish her place and meets a lonely prince (Cha Eun Woo) who lives a double life as a romance novelist.
Shin Se Kyung plays our female historian Goo Hae Ryung. She is a free-spirited and intelligent woman who longs to make something of her life. She doesn’t want to be forced into the traditional role of a woman, so when the opportunity arises for her to become a historian, she jumps at the chance. This was another fantastic role for Shin Se Kyung, and I really loved her performance.
Cha Eun Woo is Prince Do Won. He lives a sheltered life that has left him quite lonely. He greatly enjoys books and writes romance novels under the pseudonym Maehwa. Little does he expect to fall head over heels for Hae Ryung. Cha Eun Woo had a great outing here with a role that I thought really suited him. He had a lovable charm with a smile that just lights up the room.
Park Ki Woong plays the Crown Prince Yi Jin. He is a strong, kind, and wise man. He is Do Won’s older brother and really adores him.
Finally, Lee Ji Hoon is Officer Min Woo Won who is one of the historians. He is excellent at his job with a strong sense of justice, and he is one of the few who is open to having female historians.
Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung is a somewhat lighter historical that was super easy to watch. It definitely still has big life and death stakes involved at times, but much of the plot centers around female historians trying to overcome obstacles in their journey to be historians.
Then there is a romantic plot line involving Hae Ryung and Prince Do Won. So the drama is kind of like a historical romantic comedy workplace drama with a side of intrigue. An interesting combination for sure!
We watch as Hae Ryung and the other women face difficulties and prejudice at their jobs. They are intelligent women who want to learn and work hard, but many still see them as inadequate. It’s sad to see them looked down upon time and again, but it’s also joyful to see them rise to the challenge and prove their worth. They deserve to be historians just like the men do.
It was very interesting to get to go more in depth with the job of historians. We see people in this job in the background of many historicals, but we don’t usually get to see in detail what they do. I loved getting to see all that went into it and just how important of a job it was.
Then there’s our lonely Prince Do Won. He’s been hidden away most of his life which leads him to having a double life as a writer of romance novels. It gives him an outlet and is one of the few things he truly enjoys. That is until he meets Hae Ryung.
I thoroughly enjoyed Cha Eun Woo and Shin Se Kyung as a couple. They are both absolutely beautiful and just look amazing together. Then they have such an adorable relationship. It starts out with them engaging in some cute bickering and then progresses into such a lovely romance.
There was also a nice brother relationship between Prince Do Won and his older brother the Crown Prince. This was one of those rare occurrences where the brothers actually adore one another rather than wanting to kill each other in a battle for throne. It was great to see how much they loved each other and to watch all of their thoughtful conversations.
The drama wasn’t particularly focused on one story but rather several of them. At times, this caused it to feel a bit all over the place. And though a lot of the story lines were very enjoyable to watch, they did lack some punch.
The last third of the drama does bring more angst though as Do Won and Hae Ryung’s relationship is put to the test. My heart broke watching Do Won’s tears. The pain on his face was tangible as was his love for Hae Ryung. Cha Eun Woo really delivered the emotions here with a great performance.
Hae Ryung’s reactions were a bit more subdued, but her conflict over her feelings for Do Won were just as evident. Shin Se Kyung was perfect at delivering her more complex reactions to the couple’s difficult situation.
We also get a nice chunk of palace intrigue during this time. We had a mystery that was slowly touched upon throughout the series that really comes to a head with secrets being revealed, power plays, and dealing with the aftermath. So everything was pulled together quite well in the end.
Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung was a pleasant and easy watch overall. It wasn’t exactly riveting, but I quite enjoyed it. It felt fairly unique with its workplace focus on the lives of female historians and all of the challenges they faced that was mixed in with a lovely romance as well as some palace intrigue. The humor was balanced well with the heavier themes, and it was a nice drama to just relax to and enjoy the story it had to tell.
My Rating: 7.5/10
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