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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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07/13/2008 Archived Entry: "Yaoi Novel Review: A Promise of Romance"

A Promise of Romance
Story by: Kyoko Akitsu
Illustrations by: Tooko Miyagi
Published by the Juné Imprint of Digital Manga, Inc.
ISBN-10: 1-56970-710-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-56970-710-4

Review by Kris

I'm going to say this first. Initially I had no desire, I repeat no desire, to read this book. I read the synopsis on Juné's website and it didn't do anything for me. It wasn't until I read Ryes review of it that I changed my mind (click here to read her review).

Edward, aka as Lord Argyle, is one of England's most eligible bachelors. When his parents died in an automobile accident the will stipulates that he must marry by the time he turns 26. If he doesn't, he loses everything, the money, the estate, everything. With a meddling butler, a caring uncle, and a nasty uncle are all trying to marry him off to someone. Edward enjoys being a playboy and schemes with his schoolmate, Neville, to hire himself a fiancé. There is a family heirloom, a ring, that the woman who wears that ring is the one that the man will marry, according to family lore. Edward gave the ring away to someone who was in need and figured that he could hire her.

Satsuki Imamura is a young college college student. When he wasn't accepted in the acting college of his choice he made the decision to move to London and study acting and theatre there. To make ends meet he works in a pub washing dishes, doing odd jobs, serving customers, etc. He befriends a lady in whom she entrusts an important object to Satsuki. It is a beautiful ring with a blue stone. Satsuki wants to return the ring to the Brenda, his friend, but can't because she passed away. The only information that Brenda gave Satsuki about the man who gave her the ring is that he is a beautiful, blonde god. One day at the pub an extremely attractive blonde man and a normal looking brunette come in looking for Brenda. Satsuki lets them know that she is no longer around. He then realizes that this is the beautiful blonde who gave Brenda the ring. Satsuki tries to return it, but to no avail. Edward has other things going on in his mind. He asks Satsuki a few questions and it is discovered that Satsuki is an actor.

Edward invites Satsuki to his apartment. It is decided that Edward wants to hire Satsuki as his fiancé because with a man there won't be any attraction or attachment and as soon as the time frame that Satsuki acts as Edward's soon-to-be bride is over the ties can be severed cleanly. After hearing the plan, Satsuki reluctantly agrees. He could really use the cold, hard cash. Satsuki starts acting as a woman almost immediately, and lives in a spare room in Edwards apartment. Will things work out like Edward wants?

I was totally wrong from the get go. I loved this novel. Not only is it an interesting story (It's like a yaoi version of My Fair Lady, which is referenced in the book) but Miyagi-sensei's art really makes this story stand out. Miyagi-sensei is known for her manga Il Gatto Sul G. Each chapter of the book had a different Shakesperean play for its title, how appropriate, you're in England and we're dealing with an actor. The story is a sugary, sweet romance. With Satsuki being the uke, you would expect him to be whiny but you are wrong. There are only two sex scenes, one of which is a rape. I normally don't say this but the way the rape situation was handled well. Edward felt extreme remorse for what he had done. You usually don't see that in yaoi (the remorse, not the rape). It is a pretty quick read so it's great for summer reading. It's definitely worth your time regardless of what you may think initially and I gladly keep it in my yaoi novel collection. I can tell you right now that I will read it over and over again. I enjoyed it that much! Way to go, Juné. You picked a great title to publish!

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