Emma vol. 5 by Kaoru Mori
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.
Volume 5 is split into three parts. We begin with a flashback. William's mother doesn't live with his family. Now we learn why. Years ago, Richard (William's father) was a young upstart, with plenty of money but looked down upon by the aristocracy. The landed aristocracy didn't take to the rise of the merchant class during the Industrial Revolution well. Aurelia (William's mother) is from old money, but has never fit into society. She doesn't have the traditional talents of women of her time and is mocked by the others. She and Richard fall deeply in love and marry. But their troubles only begin from there. The demands of London society are many. Aurelia tries to do everything right, but it never gets any easier. Eventually, she leaves the family and goes to a country house to regain her health and nerves and just stays there.
Emma comes back from London a different woman. She is laughing and talking with all the servants. She's still capable and liked by her employers and the other servants, but now she is no longer shy and stand-offish. Why the change? She and William have rekindled their relationship. They express their love through a series of letters flowing between Haworth and London.
The volume ends as William comes to visit Emma in Haworth. This is a thrilling occasion for both of them, but also causes some problems back in London. William has really gotten himself into a fix. He is engaged to Eleanor, but is pursuing a maid instead. We see a contrast between the virtuous William and Eleanor's lecherous father, who is having an affair with a opera diva. It's funny how both men are similarly having dual relationships, but their personalities and intentions cause me to view one as good and the other as bad.
One complaint I have about the series is that it doesn't have character bios at the start of each volume. Volume 2 included a spread of bios, but none of the volumes since have included them. This gets really confusing. New characters keep being added, and I am completely lost. It was particularly difficult to understand the beginning of this volume, when the story focused on Richard and Aurelia. There was no explanation that it was a flashback, and it took me several pages to understand what was happening.