Title: A Promise of Romance
Written by: Kyoko Akitsu
Illustrated by: Tooko Miyagi
May Contain Spoilers
When Satsuki, a struggling theater student, meets Edward, a member of the British aristocracy, the two at first seem light-years apart. Edward, fast approaching his 26th birthday, needs to find himself a bride – fast. If he isn’t married by his birthday, he will lose his entire fortune. At first mistaking Satsuki for a girl, he cooks up a mad scheme to keep his inheritance. The two enter into a contract, with Satsuki cross-dressing and pretending to be his girlfriend. With outside forces trying to sabotage their relationship, will their love conquer all?
Despite having a cheese factor that would have made Chester Cheetah green with envy, this was a fun read. The plot is utterly ridiculous, but that only added to its charm. I mean, how could Edward, one of the most eligible bachelors in England, with gossip columnists hounding his every footstep, think he could get away with parading Satsuki all over London, and not have anyone realize that his new fiancee isn’t a chick? Especially with all of those clothing fittings that he forced poor Satsuki to endure. I’d give my eye teeth for a all expenses paid shopping trip, and heck, I’d even settle for Kohl’s instead of London’s finest boutiques.
That’s probably what I liked most about this book. Satsuki, a poor theater student, was given the dream of a lifetime, and it was fun reading as this fantasy unfolded. Suddenly he has everything that he could ever want – fancy new digs, all the food he can digest, and a stunning new wardrobe. So what if the high heels take a bit to get used to? Oh, yeah, and don’t forget about that gorgeous lord, Edward, who he now gets to spend lots of time with. Even though he was a bit of a prick at first, Edward soon mellowed under Satsuki’s alluring spell, and he turned into a prince of a guy. Well, until the obligatory fit of jealous rage, when he turned back into a toad, overpowering and forcing himself on the other man. I guess there is a price to be paid for everything. Blisters from the new shoes weren’t dramatic enough.
This bit of unpleasantness aside, the relationship between the men was easy going, and seemed to develop naturally. Satsuki is pretty level-headed, and he doesn’t let himself get swept away as he enters Edward’s exclusive and not so friendly world. Isolated by his wealth, Edward longs for a close bond with anyone after his lonely childhood. Ignored by his parents, what he really wants is to connect with someone, to have someone to share things with, and someone who makes him feel like he’s important. Satsuki’s childhood was also unhappy, so he is drawn to Edward because of their similar upbringing.
Throw in estates in the countryside, posh suites at expensive hotels, and dinners at swanky restaurants, and you have a fast-pasted, brainlessly pleasant romance. The writing was zippy and fairly smooth, with only a few unsteady patches to slow the pacing. I wasn’t overly fond of Tooko Miyagi’s drawings, as it looked like Edward had a horn growing out of his forehead, but the full-color illustration in the front of the book was pretty with its soft colors and subtle line work.
Rated for NR
Review copy provided by June