by Emma Darcy, Keiko Okamoto
Publication Date: November 9, 2017
Genres: Graphic Novel, Romance
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Beth’s childhood love had to come to an end, but young Jamie vowed he’d grow up and then he’d come get her. Over ten years later, only half of his promises had been fulfilled. Jamie was a man, a success in Australia, where he grew up to be very powerful. But when a likewise grown-up Beth tries to meet with Jamie, he beds her thinking all the time that she is a just another anonymous gold digger. Traumatized, Beth tries to say goodbye for good, but then Jamie tracks her down and buys her financially troubled family’s farm… Just what is Jamie’s end game?
This is a manga adaptation of a Harlequin Presents novel from 1997, so I went in expecting some vintage category craziness and was not disappointed. With that being said, it’s a pretty decent second chance romance, and the illustrated style certainly made it much more enjoyable.
Jamie and Beth were friends as children at her family’s ranch outside Sydney. When they parted as teens, he promised that once he was rich, he’d come back for her. Fifteen years after that promise, Jamie is now one of the most eligible bachelors, at least according to the tabloids. At an art gallery preview, a woman dressed in yellow stands out from all the other little-black-dress-clad women. Beth is disappointed when he doesn’t recognize her, and quickly realizes that this suave pickup artist is no longer the Jamie she knew and loved. After an (interestingly illustrated) night, Jamie’s shocked to realize he wants more with this mystery woman, while she, broken hearted, insists on it being a one-night-stand, and that she has to leave because she has somewhere else she needs to be. Finally, she admits who she is, and, angry that she didn’t tell him who she was before they had sex, he tracks her down at the auction of Beth’s family home, which they lost 15 years ago as a result of debts. Jamie outbids Beth and a stranger to win the house. After another round of picnic sex, Jamie offers her the house. He thinks that she seduced him in order to get something from him – the money to buy the farm. Beth is furious at him for mischaracterizing her feelings so badly, and throws his offer back in his face. With so many misunderstandings between them, can they finally find their second chance at love?
While I’m generally a pretty big fan of second chance romances, the boatload of the drama in this book came from misunderstandings, from Jamie not recognizing Beth (seriously?!?!) to Beth believing he’d chosen to not come back for her. In reality, neither has the full story, but all of it could be resolved with a five minute conversation (and was). I thought, though, that the depth of their affection when they were younger was shown very well, and I found it quite believable that Jamie would harden himself to relationships as a result of the betrayal he thought he suffered. There was more purple prose than I’d like – the reconciliation scene was especially cheesy – but, for the most part, I think this made the translation to manga quite well. While I’ve read quite a few graphic novels and manga, I usually tend towards the more fantasy or scifi inspired ones, not the contemporary shoujo type, so I’m probably missing some of the conventions of the genre. I thought the art was lovely and expressed the characters’ feelings very well, and I especially loved how the illustrator chose to show the differences between young Jamie and Beth and the grown-up versions. I will say that I’m not a fan of the cover, though. I wish it would’ve been a full-color illustration of one of the panels actually in the book rather than having half of it covered in red.
Overall, while I don’t think the story itself is anything special, I really enjoyed the adaptation of it into a manga. I will definitely be picking up more of this series!