by Neaa, July 26, 2020

We all have had our share of C-drama recipes - A cold (mostly rich and super-intelligent) tsundere male lead and a nice-to-a-fault female lead. But personally, I feel that it's high time for us to drop the naive and innocent female lead cliche. You don't let people walk all over you in the name of love and just lie there smiling. You don't let people bully you and make a fool out of you, while you try to be all nice and forgiving to the end. As my good friend Sherlock once said, "Caring is not an advantage".

cr: Soompi

You don't fall for a man because he's rich and handsome. You become rich and successful and find a love where you're respected and cherished. You don't sit and watch people mock you or play tricks on you. You strike back. Tenfold, with grace and elegance. 

cr: Soompi

This novel is all that: Full Marks Hidden Marriage: Pick Up a Son, Get a Free Husband.

Author: Jiong Jiong You Yao

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Status: Completed

Chapters: 2164

Don't let the number of chapters scare you. If you get through the first few (hundred) chapters, you'll get hooked for sure.

Five years ago, young and naive Ning Xi was betrayed by the sister she trusted, who not only stole Ning Xi's fiance but also turned her parents against her. She was also the reason of her worst nightmare. 

Now, Ning Xi is no longer the person who'd fall for anyone's evil tricks, or let people take advantage of her. 

Ning Xi is now an aspiring actress. One day, she saves a kid and unintentionally draws the attention of his (Rich CEO) father, Lu Ting Xiao. 

Yes, it has a Webtoon too! Pic credit to the owner.

While this may seem like the typical CEO-Actress romance, it's more about knowing what you want, and getting it. And of course, there are cliches — a lot of them. But with twists. Because Ning Xi is her own knight in the shining armour, and Lu Tingxiao respects that and fights her battles with her, and not for her. 

There are no misunderstandings or forced breakups ("I'm breaking up with you for your own good" - type). It is an entertaining Strong Female Lead novel.

But this article is not a novel recommendation. 

I'm basically going to do the casting if this novel was made into a K-drama. Well, I could have done a C-drama, or a Lakorn casting too, but the second time that I read this novel, I had a few actors in mind, and I'm going to go ahead with them, without giving any spoilers.

IU as Ning Xi

 A strong female lead who does not back down at the face of adversities. Though she's abandoned by her parents and cheated by the people she cared about, she fights for what she wants and becomes a woman anyone would envy. She's nice if you're nice to her, but she won't sit back if you try to mess with her.
Since Hotel Del Luna, whenever someone says female CEO, IU always comes to my mind. She can totally pull off both, the kind Ning Xi and the confident Ning Xi. 

Kim Soo Hyun as Lu Tingxiao

First, let this sink in - Kim Soo Hyun in a Suit.
I think Kim Soo Hyun and IU will have amazing chemistry as a power couple. A man who protects his woman while letting her do her own thing - Ideal Male Lead. He's a rich CEO who is feared by everyone. He has a cute son but does not believe in love until he meets the female lead, who melts his icy exterior. But of course, he's only a softie with her. (Sounds cliche, but a little bit is allowed).

Now, I'll quickly introduce the remaining cast with their key characteristics. I can't think of a 4-year-old child actor, so picture any cute kid as Little Bun. 

V as Lu Jing Li

The fun-loving and totally adorable, Lu Jing Li, is the younger brother of Lu Ting Xiao and the captain of the 'Ning Xi - Ting Xiao Shipper Club'. He's my absolute favourite along with the leads and Little Bun. He runs one of the best entertainment agencies, loves to grow vegetables and is the life of the party.

Kim Ji Won as Ning Xue Lou

Every story needs a good old fashioned villain. She's your jealous and conniving second lead that stops at nothing to get what she wants. 

Kim Woo Bin  as Yu Shen

Our Second Male Lead - the King of the Underworld - who's trying to win over the only woman he's ever fallen in love with. 

Nickname: Satan

P.S.: The character is supposed to have silver hair, but I'm pretty sure they mean metallic grey. Now, imagine Kim Woo Bin.

L as Jiang Mu Ye

Superstar ex-boyfriend who is now her soon-to-be nephew. 

Nickname: Blondie

Lee Yoo Bi as Zuang Ke Er

A kind-hearted teenager who looks up to Ning Xi and treasures her. 

(Jing Li-Ke Er was my ghost ship that never sailed.)

Shin Sung Rok as Su Yan

The shameless ex-boyfriend who cheats on Ning Xi with her sister (Not a spoiler; It's chapter 1, page 1).

Shin Ye Eun as Ning Tian Xin

She is Ning Xi's cousin, who is in a one-sided love with Lu Ting Xiao's friend. She is lovely and soft-hearted. 

Park Hyung Shik as Gong Shang Ze

He is a shy but talented designer whose work gets stolen by his work partner, David. 

There are many more interesting characters, but I think I should be paid as a casting director for that. Also, read the novel to find out more about them. 

But, Dear Producer-san, if you're bored in quarantine and surfing randomly, and come across this, please make this novel into a drama. I was kidding. I won't charge a penny. Just make a drama of this novel. You'll thank me later. 

P.S.: Picture/Gif credit to owners. I'm guilty of googling. 

Edited by: Yuanwei (1st editor), Nymphadora (2nd editor)