It wasn’t really the cover that convinced me to buy this book, though it certainly is very cute and very different from a typical shoujo manga. It’s the fact that it is set in England that intrigued me. I have been reading a lot of Japanese high school romance manga lately, so something set somewhere else seemed like a nice change of pace. And this turned out to be super adorable! This book is just like a regency romance novel! I love regency romances, so I was super happy and feeling all warm and fluffy after finishing this. 🙂 The art style here is somewhat stylistic, meaning it is distinctive enough for me to be able to recognize the artist from other works she has done. It looks really familiar. And sure enough, it turns out I have several other things by Amane Yuko. However, I think this is the best of the bunch so far. Her earlier works tend to be more typical high school romances with some sort of fetish twist (cat girls, maids, etc) while her more recent works appear to all be set in England or some sort of western setting. I guess I like the way she draws western historical stuff more than the usual sailor uniforms. Anyway, there are 2 related stories, each taking up half of the volume. The couple on the cover is actually from the 2nd story. It’s not really smutty, but there sure are some passionate kisses, and I think the first hero would have really liked for his story to be smutty, lol ^^
The first story deals with the bored aristocrat, Alexander, Earl Beresford. The year is 1815, the place is London. All Alex wants to do is relax at his club, sip a drink, and not think about all the match-making mamas who are determined to throw their marriage-seeking daughters at him. He’s quite wealthy and is totally the catch of the season. However, there is a party that evening, and his close friend Winston convinces him he has to make an appearance. Meanwhile, there is someone else who would also rather not attend the party. Elizabeth is the daughter of an aristocrat. She has unfashionable red hair, and is so nearsighted, she can’t see anything without her spectacles. Unfortunately, her mother and strict father won’t let her go out with them on, so Elizabeth has always been a bit of a disaster at balls and parties. It’s hard to dance and be charming when you can’t see anything. Lizzie is forced to attend the big party tonight because it’s the best chance for her beautiful younger sister, Patricia, to catch a husband. Patricia is the belle of the London season, with her shiny blond hair and blue eyes. All the young men are after her, but she has her eyes on only one prospect, Alexander, Earl Beresford.
At the party, things go as expected for Lizzie. She is forced to sit off to the side because she can’t see a darn thing. It’s very frustrating. Meanwhile, Patricia is surrounded by a flock of suitors. However, when Alex arrives at the party, it’s not Patricia who catches his eye, but the obviously unhappy Elizabeth. He is instantly intrigued, and when he approaches her, hilarity ensues. She can’t really see him, so she has no idea who he is, but he seems to be nice and polite. He tries to give her a drink, but she can’t see his hand, and fails to grab the glass. Oops. Then she mistakes his lap for a chair. Ack. Obviously, he doesn’t mind having her sitting in his lap 🙂 Elizabeth is cute and friendly, and unlike anyone Alex has ever met before. Most girls are after him for his money, but Lizzie is refreshingly honest and innocent, and her bad eyesight allows for some ridiculous situations. Alex ends up blushing a lot.
However, Lizzie’s parents want Alex for their younger daughter, so when he asks to dance with their daughter, they assume he means Patricia. He has to forcefully request Lizzie. Her parents can’t believe it. They have taken Lizzie for granted for so long, and have given up hope for her. In fact, they have written her off, and focus all their attention on the dazzling Patricia. The idea that Beresford might be interested in Elizabeth is inconceivable. Even though it seems like Lizzie’s parents would be thrilled that Beresford is interested in one of their daughters, they really want it to be the golden Patricia, not Lizzie. In fact, they will do all they can to prevent Alex from having Lizzie, even if it means forcing her to marry someone else! Will Alex and Lizzie ever manage to be together?
The second story focuses on Alex’s friend Winston. Unlike Alex, who pretty much avoided women because they were all after his money, Winston is a player. He has been with many lovers, and has a mistress. However, when he attends a wedding, he feels vaguely envious of the couple’s happiness. Unfortunately, he is not allowed to ponder his love life long, because he soon gets word that his father has passed away, and he has now inherited the title of Earl. Oh, and he is reminded by his family lawyer that he is already married. Doh! Winston totally forgot. How can you forget you are married?? Well, it happened many years ago- he was forced by his father to become engaged to a daughter of a family friend. That girl had lost her parents, and he was asked to take care of her. But she was nothing but a child, and has lived in care homes (looks like a convent, really) since then. He forgot all about her. But now she is older, and he has inherited the title. It’s time for him to meet his bride.
Her name is Harriet Emerson, and she is still a rather young girl (I’m guessing 17 or 18) with large eyes and a head full of dark curls. Harriet grew up rather carefree in the home, playing with the other children. She climbs trees and plays outdoors. In fact, when Winston first sees her, she is asleep in a tree, one long leg dangling from the branch. Just like Alex with Lizzie, Winston is instantly smitten with Harriet. The sight of her sleeping peacefully in the tree branches makes his heart pound. But Harriet is somewhat rebellious. She has no choice to accompany her husband back to his estate, but she is grumpy about it, even if he is really handsome. Their journey is a fun one, as the wedded couple bicker and get to know each other. Harriet has some challenges ahead- she is suddenly the head of an unfamiliar household and married to a guy she doesn’t know well. Winston doesn’t know how to deal with Harriet either. She is much more innocent than the type of women with whom he usually associates. Winston’s philandering past is not left entirely in the past, either. Will this awkward new couple be able to make things work?
Again, this is a fun and cute book that reads just like a typical regency romance novel. I like how both stories are told mainly from the guy’s point of view. We get their thoughts and feelings when dealing with their unconventional love interests. There is some silly romantic dialog, especially from Alex, that made me laugh as well. I hope the next book from this author is similar to this one.