Thursday, March 29, 2012

Emma by Kaoru Mori

Book Jacket

An upstairs gentleman and a downstairs servant share a secret love.

The saga begins.  In Victorian England, a young girl named Emma is rescued from a life of destitution and raised to become a proper British maid.  When she meets William, the eldest son of a wealthy family, their love seems destined.  But in this world, even matters of the heart are ruled by class distinctions.


I'm a big fan of star-crossed lovers.  Especially when they are star-crossed across class lines (which is why I shipped Cybil/Branson so hard in Downton Abbey, though sadly, they didn't get the development or screen time that I thought they deserved). 

I should have loved Emma.  But it was simply too unbelievable for me to appreciate. 

Let's start with the good:  the artwork!  I adore Mori's artistry.  I could have ignored the words and simply looked at the pictures and been quite happy.  I also liked Emma's boss, William's old governess.  She was sparky and great, with hints at a very sad backstory.

However, this was not enough to make me fall in love.  I just can't get over the fact that tons of guys--high born and low born--are falling all over themselves in order to win the hand of Emma.  I'm sorry, but isn't this 19th-century England?  Wouldn't most men ignore a maid?  And if they thought she was beautiful, wouldn't they either be disgusted with themselves or just take advantage of her in a thouroughly non-romantic way? 

Why was it so easy for them to fall in love?  And also, was that love?  I mean, they had a conversation, and kept running into each other around town.  But I saw no sparkage.  Maybe this is developed further in later volumes, but I don't think I'll stick around to find out.

Three out of five elephants.

Release Date:  September 2006
Reading Level: Grade 5+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: Not currently part of Dunlap's collection.

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