Title: Sale or Return Bride
Manga by: Kazuko Fujita
Original Story by: Sarah Morgan
Publisher: DMP & Harlequin
Available at eManga
Since it is the season for shopping, let’s take a look at Sale or Return Bride. While most people are more worried about finding the latest trendy toy or video game, Sebastien Fiorukis is on the market for a bride. Lucky for him Alesia Philipos needs money, and that her nasty old grandfather yearns for revenge. Blaming the Fiorukis family for the death of her father, Alesia doesn’t want to have anything to do with them, but if she doesn’t go along with her grandfather’s scheme, her mother is going to die. Mom needs an expensive surgery, and even though gramps is a tycoon, he has the heart of a marble and won’t help foot the medical bills. In fact, the evil old guy hasn’t even been a part of their lives since the death of her father. Instead, Alesia has been working three jobs to try to take care of her mom. When the opportunity arises that will ensure her mother is taken care of for the rest of her life, she has no choice but to comply with her grandfather’s wishes.
Ok, that’s the story in a nutshell. I thought this one was very entertaining. You have the poor (both literally and figuratively) Alesia who is desperate enough to go along with her grandfather’s plan to ruin the Fiorukis family. You have a repulsive villain who keeps meddling with Alesia to get what he wants. And you have a gorgeous, sexy gabillionaire to save our put-upon heroine. Mix in a few exotic, beautiful locations, and you have all of the ingredients for a conflict laden story.
The mood and tone of the story is effectively set, and even though the book is only 126 pages, there is some very nice plot development. I do have to say, though, that the ending was a massive fail, both in terms of a emotional payoff and the lack of an effective explanation for the sudden reversal of Alesia’s own Personal Affliction, something that tormented her through the entire length of the story. For 125 pages she has a Very Big Problem, and on the last, she doesn’t. Ugh.
Once again, the presentation of the book is on the disappointing side. There is a lot of text that spills out of the word balloons, and some very awkwardly worded phrases. The page clean-up leaves a lot to be desired, too, with smudges on several pages. The art itself is expressive and attractive, and the page layouts create tension and suspense. Plus, Sebastien is hawt.
Sale or Return Bride has some obvious flaws, but the story is fast-paced and provides a brief break from reality.