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Emma, Vol. 4 Paperback – June 20, 2007
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About the Author
Kaoru Mori's previous series, Emma, about a maid and a gentleman in Victorian England, has been lauded by Library Journal and was named to the YALSA Great Graphic Novels list. A Bride's Story has only broadened her fan base in Japan and the U.S. with its elegant style and delicate story. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the volume in which Emma grows from a pretty story about pretty, shy people who seem to like each other for some reason into a real story about characters that are feeling human beings.
As the Molders head to town with Emma in their retinue, our young heroine finds herself once again in the place she wished so desperately to be away from. A quick stop to an old friend's final repose and she finds that her mistress has met her eccentric friend from the country, Mrs.Trollope, who finds herself in need of an escort to her son's engagement party.
And then there's William... as the pressures of living under his assumed face of societal duty begins to wear, Eleanor finally gathers the courage to confess her love... at the opera, no less. This, of course, comes as a surprise to a new character added to the dramatic mix... Eleanor's sister, Monica, who is none too happy with her dear little angel's good news.
Mori once again does plenty to flesh out the people of her story, be they large or small, and aptly use them to educate the reader on the means, manners, and subtleties of Victorian/Edwardian living. Equal time is given both to the decadent (yet, proper... they ARE British, you know... well, most of them) Upstairs folk and to the down to earth Downstairs servants and clerks, all of whom are wonderfully real, even if they only have a few frames to appear in.
The art is crisp and clean, as we've come to expect from Ms.Mori, and her attention to detail is exquisite. Speaking of the art, remember my warning from Vol.1? Well, parents, this is where it starts, but I consider it to be perfectly tasteful and in fitting with the character... but, I thought you should know.
Enjoy this volume as things are about to become much more dramatic for our two star-crossed lovers. Will their feelings be able to overcome the obstacles forming ahead...? Only time, and three more volumes (by my tally), will tell.
In the previous book, Emma worked as a maid in the country and adapted to that life, while William pined for her, had no idea where she was, and got along well with other girl, Eleanor. In this book, Eleanor continues to get along with William and with William's family. When the family Emma has been working for in the country makes plans to visit London, circumstances are right for Emma and William to meet again.
Overall, this series was a good quick read. It's a mindless romantic comedy. There isn't much that's serious, including the ominous class differences which are not at all developed and just sort of there. Characters reemerge through the series and are fleshed out over the course of 7 books. Even minor characters are likely to reemerge and become more developed at some point in the future. The series does a good job of building personalities, and a self-contained world.
Big revelations in the last volume + Emma's new employer selecting her as a handmaid for her trip to London tell you exactly where this volume is headed, no? And while there's not a single surprise to be found here, I didn't care one bit. Mori has manipulated both story and reader skillfully enough that even the oldest conventions of the whole upstairs-downstairs genre seem, if not new, at least fully retreaded for the new journey. As enchanting as ever, this series. ****
The first half of the book feels slightly disjointed mostly due to the fact that it exclusively follows the travails of William and his melancholic heartbreak and how he attempts to 'numb the pain.' The 2nd half closes out this volume very nicely as Emma becomes the story focus.
As always, the writing is briskly paced and the intricate art provides plenty of material to pore over.