Original novel by Emma Goldrick (1996)
Character Chemistry: What even is consent?
Plot: Anything I say will make it sound significantly less bananas than it actually was
Overall: There is basically nothing okay about any of this and I enjoyed myself hugely
Oh. My. Gawd. I mean, for a story from 1996, I can’t say I was expecting much, but holy schlamoly. I think the only thing that kept it readable was that it was in manga format, so it was a really fast read, and I could shocked-laugh at the content instead of slogging through 200 pages of the original.
Like, apparently he needs to get a wife so he and his daughter don’t starve?
His ex-wife used to beat their daughter?
She’s widowed but had a bad marriage but her ex-husband was a decorated soldier who she married out of sympathy because he was disabled?
She’s also secretly wealthy so she thinks men only want her for her money?
His daughter is disabled in a wheelchair but she’ll have surgery to fix her legs?
Oh. My. Gawd.
And that last, er, quote-snip, isn’t even toward the end of the story! It’s in the middle! Before she was served with a lawsuit for defamation by the man who stole her inheritance who is being represented by…the man who is husband material! He doesn’t know her whole name!
On the other hand, he’s carrying around a basket of kittens, so he can’t be bad…
I’m going to be honest with you all—I couldn’t be bothered to read more than a few pages of the novel, but I gleefully read each of these manga books one after the next, and I think I might find more of the same thing, because for some reason I enjoyed being delightedly horrified by the gender essentialism and this dude’s complete lack of boundaries. What a ride.
PS: Here’s a quick primer on the history of Harlequin manga.
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