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.