Title: The Amalfi Bride
Original Story by Ann Major
Manga by Marito Ai
Available at eManga
My stress levels are up at work, so I find myself wanting to read brainless fluff. I turned to my trusty Harlequin manga for a shot of happiness, reading this title during my lunch break. I needed the fix. The story actually delivered, despite the somewhat convoluted plot.
Regina is suffering from unhappiness. She is lonely, having failed at love, and she feels that her family doesn’t really love her. To make up for her feelings of inadequacy, she has thrown herself into her studies, and how she is a successful lawyer. Her best friend, Lucy, has decided to become a single mother, mainly because men are unpredictable and unreliable. Regina ponders a visit to the sperm bank herself, in an attempt to find the fulfillment that she’s lacking in life. But first, she takes a vacation to decide if she’s really ready for this huge step – motherhood is forever, after all!
Once in Italy, something very extraordinary happens. Regina falls in lust. With a gigolo! Will she be able to afford three days of pleasure with him? Will she be able to go back to her boring life afterwards? Throwing caution to the winds, Regina gives herself up to one last fling before single motherhood snatches this irresponsible behavior from her forever.
All right, so right off the bat you know that there this more to Nico than sponging off of rich old women. There has to be! This is a Harlequin! And sure enough, Nico is running away from his responsibilities. He is a wealthy prince, and he is under a great deal of pressure to marry a suitable woman. Only problem – he doesn’t want a loveless marriage with a woman his mother picked out for him. Only problem: he is too much of a wimp to stand up to her and say a big, resounding “No!” So instead, he, too, will have one last fling before he’s shackled to a woman he has no interest in.
Yes, the plot is extremely predictable, and Regina’s behavior doesn’t exactly put her in a good light, but darn it, here are two people who deserve happiness! They have both felt unloved for so long! While their courtship was too rushed to be convincing or believable, we do have a page constraint to fit this rather complex plot into. Only 128 pages! I wasn’t impressed with Regina’s reconciliation with her family; that was just way too easy, for everyone involved, but I did suspend belief enough to enjoy the resolution of Regina and Nico’s relationship.
The art was quite pretty, with sleek, attractive character designs. Both Nico and Regina looked comfortable in their exotic setting, and it was easy to believe that they would be quickly attracted to each other. They both have a commanding presence, and they both demanded second glances in their direction.
Though not exactly trend setting, The Amalfi Bride is a pleasant diversion from reality. If you have about 20 minutes to fill, there are certainly worse ways to spend the time.