Title: Word of a Gentleman
Original Story by: Lyn Stone
Manga by: Tsukiko Kurebayashi
Available at eManga
Word of a Gentleman is a Regency romance, and stories set in this time period are typically some of my favorites. I’m not quite sure what I find so appealing about them, other than the fact that the heroes are usually filthy rich and the heroines spend more than a few pages stressing about what gown they are going to wear to next social gathering.
Unfortunately, this particular title did not meet my stands for entertaining reading. The premise showed some early promise, but the execution was disappointing. Clarissa is an orphan who has been raised by her cold and distant uncle. She was shipped off to boarding school, and has recently realized that she had best marry on her own terms, quickly, or be stuck in a odious union with her cousin. Deciding that eloping with her childhood acquaintance would provide far better opportunity for her to live life on her own terms, she proposes, rather clumsily, to Hugh, the penniless 2nd son of an earl. Her terms are very clear – Hugh must not interfere with her activities, and in exchange, he will gain control of her inheritance. Can love bloom under these harsh conditions?
I bemoan the wasted opportunities and chances for tension to flair between our young couple. They board a coach for the journey to Gretna Greene, and allow the close confines to go to waste. There is barely a flicker of attraction to spark between them, even given the danger of the roadside. When they are set upon by brigands and Clarissa dives in front Hugh to save him from being shot, the event isn’t even fraught with danger and suspense. No, darn it! The scene comes across as silly, as does a later feat of daring do, instead of being a display of bravery. One of the biggest problems with this title is the pacing and randomness of the events. Even a surprise confession of affection late in the story fails to make an emotional connection with the reader.
The art effectively telegraphs the characters emotions, but the character designs are bland and uninspiring. Clarissa’s attire was especially disappointing; most of her gowns were shapeless sacks, and once she comes into her fortune, I think she needs to quickly secure herself another dressmaker. Body proportions were another sticky point which had Clarissa look like a leprechaun when she is standing in the same panel with one of the male characters. Or maybe they are all future NBA stars, because they all towered over her.
Word of a Gentleman showed some promise, but ended up failing to deliver. There is too much going on for the number of pages allotted to the story, so it comes across as rushed and unconvincing.