K-Drama Review: “Romance Is A Bonus Book” Revives Downbeat Mood With Reassuring Life Lessons

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If you like romance and reading, Romance Is A Bonus Book will be a perfect gift for you.

Brimming with life, love and career encouraging messages, Romance Is A Bonus Book ran an impressive healing-romance drama this season.

Romance is a Bonus Book

Title: Romance is a Bonus Book
Network: tvN
Theme: Romance, Drama, Workplace
Length: 16 Episodes
Broadcast Date: 26 Jan 2019 to 17 Mar 2019
Main Leads: Lee Na Young & Lee Jong Suk
Highlights: Soothing storyline, endearing noona romance
Drawback: Out of place fillers
Overall Rating:
Re-watch Value:
Related Dramas: I Need Romance 2, Something in the Rain, Because This is My First Life


For people who genuinely like to read, Romance Is A Bonus Book is a perfect treat. In its 16-chapter run, it abundantly goes through the challenges of adult living, whether someone may be single or raising a family. Mostly woman empowering on the majority of its airing, it has managed to leave contemplative lessons about human interaction, friendship, and the concept of family and belonging for people who are not blood-related.

Topping up the engaging plot is the romantic story between two friends, who have transitioned from the love-that-was-there-all-along, to the-love-meant-to-be-there-always.

Romance is a Bonus Book

Quick Plot Roundup

Kang Dan Yi (Lee Na Young) claims the last ray of hope in securing a job in a company where her male best friend, Cha Eun Ho (Lee Jong Suk) works. She has reached rock bottom after a divorce and eventually loses her house. Secretly living at Eun Ho’s house, she was later found by her younger male friend, who has long been harboring a one-sided love to her.

Coming from a career break, it is especially hard for her, who was once a promising copywriter. Refusing to dwell on her situation, she hides her true credentials to apply at a publishing company as a task assistant supporting the business.

As she slowly picks up from what she have missed in her life, she gets another chance in love with someone, who has been loving her all along.

Romance is a Bonus Book Recaps: Premiere, Ep03, Ep04, Ep05, Ep06, Ep07, Ep08, Ep09, Ep10, Ep11, Ep12, Ep13, Ep14Full Review

Finale Week Quick Recap

Receiving a manuscript bearing the title of writer Kang’s supposed unfinished novel, Hae Rin and Eun Ho immediately act to investigate. Later on, they trace it to Seo Joon, and the latter belatedly known from Eun Ho that the years of angst he felt towards his father, was unreasonable. It was not that his father abandoned him, but he just can’t remember with Alzheimer’s disease. Eventually, writer Kang dies and his two sons read through his last will with grieving hearts.

Meanwhile, Dan Yi wins the idea concept at Gyeoroo, paving a way for her to get back to the company through a special recruitment. Working hard for a book project with Ji Yul, they eventually have their first book published as the people at work finally learn about her relationship with Eun Ho.

Romance is a Bonus Book


Soothing screenplay

There are plain rom-com dramas, and there are rom-com dramas that inspire. Romance Is A Bonus Book joins the cluster of rom-com series which does not rely on overflowing liplock frames and cheesy lines to boost the story. On that note, Lee Jong Suk and Lee Na Young’s starrer draws strength on how the series as a whole can be watched at different years of our lives, with us getting different insights from how we perceived it before. Just like how our favorite book keeps surprising us with newfound ideas after reading it again.

Bringing out the idyllic beauty of lyrical memorable lines remarked by the characters has been one of the many good things about the series. I like that the workplace setting makes it easy for me to settle in understanding the stories of the lead couple, along with the moments when the supporting characters were highlighted.

It has also touched a brooding moment for women audience seeing the focal character’s journey to muster her strength. From there, she rediscovered the brave woman inside her, which she lost along the way while raising a family of her own.

A few love and dating pep talks were also sprinkled, specifically targeting people in early 30s to mid-40s. An age group, which has relatively experienced being in a relationship, whether it may be good or bad. Hence, loving at the spur of moment is not a viable option, but being sure that long-time commitment is a top most priority.

Romance is a Bonus Book

Noona romance that delights

Eun Ho and Dan Yi’s noona romance will go down as one of my most favorites owing to their genuine on-screen chemistry. If only Eun Ho is sold as a happy pill or a man straight from genie lamp whom ladies can summon in times of despair and vulnerability, the world will be a happy place.

Lee Na Young, portraying the central character, embodied a broken yet brave woman, who refused to dwell on her problems. Meanwhile, Lee Jong Suk complemented the obvious age disparity in real and imaginary life, with a natural take that did not force him to act beyond his age to make the pairing believable.

That’s actually why I like it more because he did not play the “oppa card”. His character sketch was more of a supporting-my-girl-all-the-way kind of feel, which should be the case for the role he played.

Romance is a Bonus Book


Disconnected character fillers

Because the plot movement relatively highlighted three major bends, fillers were inevitable. While I liked the Gyeoroo employees, I had a hard time processing why most of the fillers took in Ji Yul. It could have taken more of CEO Kim, Seo Joon, Hae Rin or Miss Go’s life, but it always featured Ji Yul.


Specific to late 20s to middle-aged career people, Romance Is A Bonus Book boasts introspective aftereffects. It might not appeal to younger generation, who prefers oppa-romance themed stories, but it is saccharine nonetheless.

From lessons about women’s strength, individualism and friendship, its ultimate message is finding one’s purpose. Romance Is A Bonus Book has presented a beautiful tale of life and romance, which is honest and reassuring.


abbyinhallyuland reads and sleeps a lot when she is not traveling. Her calendar reminders are mostly K-Drama broadcast schedules and birthdays of her favorite Korean actors. Promoting K-Drama watching as stress therapy is her life advocacy. She is fond of Spencer Reid, Gregory House, Kenshin Himura, Starwars saga, Haruki Murakami and Hunter x Hunter.

Recommended Korean Dramas: Reply 1988, Nine, Misaeng, Gaksital, Discovery of Love, Because This is My First Life, Descendants of the Sun, My Love from the Star, Healer, Punch, You’re Beautiful, Coffee Prince, Princess Hours, The Greatest Love, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, City Hunter, and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes.

E: abby@hellokpop.com