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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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05/28/2008 Archived Entry: "Novel review: A Promise of Romance"

A Promise of Romance
By Kyoko Akitsu
Illustrations by Tooko Miyagi
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc

Review by Ryes

I'll admit happily that my preconceptions for this novel were proven wrong. Because this novel included cross-dressing, I expected the main character to be weepy or girly, but he was neither of those two. The characters and the plot were engaging and this was a great afternoon read!

Satsuki is rejected by his choice of acting school in Japan so he decides to study abroad in England. He doesn't want to trouble anyone so he works to pay for his own tuition and living expenses.

Count Edward is very rich but he's being pressured to marry in order to keep his position. But he doesn't want to marry just anyone. To avoid having to make a decision right away, he cooks up a plan to "hire" a temporary bride. But where's he going to find a woman who's willing to stand in as his wife and give up that position after the job is done?

After a mix-up with a ring, Edward ends up asking Satsuki to use his extremely good looks and his acting skills to pose as Edward's wife. Satsuki sees this as an opportunity to make more money, so after a brief hesitation, he agrees to Edward's proposal.

I'll start off by saying the translation for this book (done by Translations by Design) was wonderful. I could hardly tell that I was reading translated text. There were still a few typos but no glaring errors so they didn't detract from my enjoyment.

Satsuki is a great protagonist. It's easy to empathize with him. He's been rejected by his dream school in Japan, and every day he regrets fighting with his best friend more and more. But he doesn't let that stop him and goes out to find new opportunities for himself rather than waiting for them to drop in his lap.

Edward's a fun character too. He may look uncaring or irresponsible becuase he throws money left and right, but he's actually pretty intelligent. He cares for Satsuki and grows a mean jealous streak every time he thinks Satsuki might be falling for someone else.

A Promise of Romance is very sweet and fits perfectly into the romance genre because it actually is a romance. Satsuki and Edward don't fall in love at first sight. They grow used to each other and develop affections for each other which grow into love. This novel's also complete with a scheming cousins bent on winning Edward for herself, drink spilling action, and a sarcastic butler.

The set-up for the book is very clever. Each section is named after a Shakespeare play that fits the tone of the chapter. I thought that was fun.

Spoiler for this next paragraph.

With this novel, it was very entertaining and almost everything worked for me. The thing that didn't, and I can't believe I'm saying this, is the sex. Up until the point they have sex (the first time's actually rape), Satsuki and Edward don't even think about doing it. They think about how they love the other person, they think about how soft the other person's lips are. It's all very innocent and sweet. A middle schooler or high schooler could have read it. Then Akitsu busts out the sexy action and I just thought, wow, that doesn't fit the story at all. I think A Promise of Romance would've been just fine without the sex, but then again, a lot of readers love explicit scenes so it's just my opinion.

End spoiler.

Overall, A Promise of Romance is great and well put together. I think the Shakespeare titles worked nicely and Tooko Miyagi's art complemented the sweet tone of the book very well. Perfect for a light read!

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