The story takes place at the beginning of the 19th century. Goo Hae Ryung is an intern to become a palace historian. However, it was not acceptable for women to write historical records at that time. She takes one step at a time to create her own destiny in Joseon, where Confucian ideas are deeply rooted. She wants to fulfill her duties as a historian and prove to the world that everyone is equal. Along with the fight of the female palace historians, the drama will tell her romance with Prince Yi Rim who has a secret of his own
This review may contain spoilers Rookie Historian really has it all: gorgeous costumes, sweeping romance, laugh-out-loud moments as well as cry-your-eyes-out ones, and - most importantly to me - complex female characters who actively engage with the plot and confront social issues that are just as relevant today as they were in the Late Joseon Era. You may have your issues with Shin Sekyung, or you may have heard Cha Eunwoo is a bad actor, but neither of those things matter here. The former crafts the best performance of her career with a career so vibrant that it seems to have been designed for her, and the latter rises to the occasion and improves HIS craft as the story delves deeper into his character and explores his personal growth. I personally loved their chemistry and the pacing of their romance, and I find their resolution to be entirely fitting.
As for the rest of the cast? Top-notch acting and well-fleshed out characters all around. There are various arcs, both on the political and personal front, which bring a great deal of satisfaction without resorting to a bunch of extra beta ships that go nowhere. Park Kiwoong as the Crown Prince, Lee Jihoon as Officer Min, and the three other female historians played by Park Jihyun, Lee Yerim, and Jang Yubin are all noteworthy. The last group are especially great because we get to see a strong female friendship play out throughout the show, but Rim (Eunwoo) also gets his own set of friends who are equally adorable to watch.
There are times when the introduction of Catholicism can seem a bit heavy-handed, but overall the theme of a changing world and the impact of globalization is really well-executed and very unique compared to any saeguk (or even modern drama) I've seen. It's obvious the writer and her team did their research, and the story is engaging even if there are one or two over-indulgent episodes.