Monday, September 13, 2010
Warning: My manga "reviews" often contain spoilers. I find it hard to adequately discuss a volume of manga without talking about it in more detail than some might like.
Emma volume 3 is a further exploration of upstairs and downstairs England, as well as new money versus old. After Mrs. Stownar's death, Emma finds a new job as a maid in a large mansion. The owners of the mansion are German industrialists - a new class of wealth rising to power in England. We see the large staff that goes into caring for a huge house. The volume also features a party for the servant. The contrast between the staid, proper upper class and the loud, fun servant class is quite stark. Emma is rather shocked by it - in many ways, her quiet, proper personality makes her fit in better in a formal society.
In the meantime, William is trying to move past Emma. He is determined to be the perfect aristocrat - always charming, a philanthropist, the ideal gentleman. He attends a picnic with his family and friends. He's trying to pretend that he's having as good a time as everyone else. Unfortunately, he convinces the girls that he's having a fabulous time - I think many fancy William, his sister, and his brother. We also read about an amateur performance of Romeo and Juliet that Williams helps arrange to benefit charity. It's sad to see him trying to hard to move beyond Emma and failing miserably.
This feels like another place holder book. Emma and William don't interact at all. But I loved the historical details. There are little asides about the Industrial Revolution and its effect on Victorian England. Mori really does her research. In the afterward, she even describes how the laundry is pressed and folded and tells us how to make lavender sachets. I really respect the author for her determination to be authentic.